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A Plea From the Superintendent

"I am tired of the eroding of public education funding in the State of California, the damage it is doing to the integrity of the opportunities we can provide for our students and the emotional damage it is causing the people within our organization," the

 

What has happened to public education funding in California over the past five years has left all of us shaking our heads and asking how we can continue to provide the current high levels of instruction, support and programs when the state continues to reduce their fiscal commitment to our students.

I am tired of the eroding of public education funding in the State of California, the damage it is doing to the integrity of the opportunities we can provide for our students and the emotional damage it is causing the people within our organization.  

The education budget for next year is in peril. Governor Brown has proposed two tax initiatives for the November ballot that, if not passed, will result in an additional cut to education funding in the amount of $2 billion -- a $10.1 million cut to .

The use of education as a political pawn to entice people to vote for tax increases is a tactic that puts student programs and instructional integrity at risk. In addition, it places our employees in a position of fearing for their jobs and or ability to meet their financial obligations as they are once again asked to consider voluntary deductions to their salaries.  

There is no denying that the quality of living within a community is influenced by the quality and level of education of those who make up the populous. Why does our state continue to short fund this vital service? Why is California at the bottom in our nation in per pupil funding? Why do we have the highest class sizes and the fewest administrators? Why is it that the ninth largest economy in the world cannot, or chooses not, to fund the education of its children?  

Recently, I was made aware of a high performing district in the state of Maryland. As I reviewed the statistics of the district, it became clear to me that this is a community that has made education a top priority. 

I was amazed to find out the district has 50,000 students, an annual operating budget of $689 million and class sizes that start at 19 in kindergarten and max at 23 in high school. Compare that to our district of 29,000 students, a projected budget of $189 million dollars and class sizes of 22 -- possibly headed to 30 -- in kindergarten and rising to over 40 in high school.  

Is it reasonable to conclude that the students in Maryland are receiving education services that ours are not?

I will defend what happens in our classrooms with my last breath, as I believe our teachers, administrators and support staff are doing amazing things in support of our students. However, compared to Maryland they simply do not have the resources.

Is this fair to our children? Why has one state made education the priority, yet ours has not? Don’t our children deserve more?  

If you are angry and fed up with what is happening to education in California, please join me and do something that has the potential to help.We need to collectively let our lawmakers know that our children deserve a guarantee of the highest quality educational opportunities.

I understand that California has budget problems, but solutions and strategies employed to resolve these problems can no longer come from education. We cannot afford to watch passively as education funding is methodically reduced to a point that we lose more teachers, reduce more programs, and eliminate more services.

We are not on the right path and our lawmakers are making decisions that are not in the best interest of our students or our future economic health. We can no longer take a passive stance and allow education to fall victim to more cuts.

Please join me in writing letters and making phone calls to let those in Sacramento know that we are at a critical point, a true tipping point and that without immediate response, our education system in this state is in peril.  

You can find a list of our local legislators by clicking here.

-- By Timothy Ritter, superintendent of the Temecula Valley Unified School District

Robert Tavano April 08, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I think the public feels that this country has thrown more money at this problem than it should already as it is continually wasted. The more money the govt throws the worse the system gets because of the Teacher's Union and their complete focus on their selfish motives and pensions. Most private schools and most states get FAR less money and do a MUCH better job. My brother was on the board for a Catholic school who educate their children for 40% of what it takes in California. Governor Brown is intent on ruining the educational system in California to protect his friends. My best advice....go teach in a state which appreciate fine teachers and administrators who work so hard as you do. California is already toast...
Paul April 08, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Robert, Well put.
Cik Bast April 08, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Follow the money. Politicians, community leaders & administrators lining their pockets with the cash, also enabling bloated pensions and making it impossible to measure teachers based on performance-based criteria, while subsidizing food police and over-regulation that doesn't allow a kid to take a twinkie or yodel to school as a snack. It is outrageous, the misrepresented regulatory and unchecked leniency that these officials have with our tax money and with Federal funding.
Mr. Logical April 09, 2012 at 02:18 AM
It's easy to blast off a comment without the full knowledge of the situation. I have taught in public and private schools. The biggest challenge in teaching in the public schools is the large class sizes. Every time there is a cut in funding, class sizes go up. When class sizes go up, individual attention for all students becomes a big challenge. I have been a teacher for 20 years. In my experience I have known a lot of dedicated teachers in public and private schools. We are not about making excuses, good teachers want the best environment possible for teaching their students. Concerning pensions, teachers have a substantial amount of their pay taken out every month that goes toward retirement. This is our own money being put aside for retirement. I'm not sure what the confusion is unless you are listening to people like John and Ken on KFI who do a lot of ranting and raving with wrong information.
Popeye April 09, 2012 at 02:27 AM
I am paying more taxes now than I was five years ago to public education. What is this guy talking about??? How do you have high cost in this economy....every thing is cheaper except gas...reduce the administration and get rid of your Union will allow you to reduce your overspending.
Cik Bast April 16, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Mr. Logical appears to be his own oxymoron. hehe
Carolyn April 19, 2012 at 02:18 PM
We are 47th out of 50th in per pupil funding. 46 states spend more than we do in California. Our administrative costs in this district are only 3% of the entire school budget. The majority of the money goes to the classroom. All we are asking for is to be "average". Can't we have the same funding as MOST of the other states in the nation? Why do we have to be in the bottom 3?

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