By Kristi Rutz-Robbins, Temecula resident and Temecula Valley Unified School District governing board member
I am writing today to help you understand what your “Yes” vote on Measure Y means to children and what it means to our schools and region. Education is critical to the economic vitality of a region and good schools are essential to any successful city. Many, if not most of us moved here for the good schools. Good schools support our property values. Good schools support the economic future of the next generation. Temecula schools are good schools for a reason; we have focused on supporting high quality teaching and learning for all students.
As you know, the State of California has drastically reduced funding to public schools over the years. Temecula schools have shifted all available funds to support students in the classroom. This means that administration ratios and maintenance ratios are among the lowest in the state while the quality of our education is among the highest. As a result, many of you have noticed in driving by our schools or when you volunteer in your child or grandchild’s classroom that our school facilities are beginning to show the wear and tear of the economic crisis of the last decade. Weathered buildings, leaking roofs, old carpets, smelling portables and broken air conditioning units are becoming increasingly a problem. And here the old adage applies, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Our schools simply do not have enough resources or manpower to address all the needs of the school grounds and buildings; putting off repairs only makes them far more expensive than they needed to be.
Our information technology infrastructure has been underfunded as we have struggled to maintain low student-to-teacher ratios. Classrooms need to be updated with modern teaching technologies, such as WiFi and PowerPoint capabilities so that teachers can utilize the latest educational materials and best practices in teaching. Students need reliable, consistent and frequent access to computers to support high quality learning.
Without state level dedication to education funding, the burden of maintaining schools and advancing student education rests with us, here at the local level. While Measure Y funding cannot be used to directly rehire teachers--something our students desperately need-- Measure Y can support facility and technology improvements that may allow us to shift more general funds closer to the classroom. We are all advocates of local control. This is what it looks like – “Yes on Measure Y.” Measure Y will allow the school district to issue bonds to support the needs of our students. The expected increase of an average of $28 dollars per home per year on our local taxes is a small price to pay for the freedom of local control and the powerful positive impacts that money will have on our children’s education.
Support the economic success of the next generation. Support education. Support Measure Y.