Coastsider endorses Measure S

Editorial

Posted by on Mon, May 8, 2006

Coastside schools need more money. And Measure S, the parcel tax, is the best means we have to get a little more money to our schools.

I’ve been critical of our school board in the past. If you don’t like the way they’ve been running the district, you’ll get an opportunity to deal with them (or at least three of them) in November. The issue on June 6 is how much money we’re going to give the schools. It is not a referendum on the school board.

There’s a hard core of Coastsiders who will vote against any tax for anything at any time. And the requirement that two thirds of voters approve the tax is designed to give them a veto.  To pass this parcel tax, the district needs the support of everyone who wishes our schools could be even a little bit better.  This tax has failed four times already since 1999, but it has never had a better chance of passing or broader support than it does now.  However, if the parcel tax going to pass, it needs more than your tacit support.  You need to go out and vote YES of Measure S.


What part of defeated four times already have we missed here?

We should also be troubled by the emergence of Coastside Community First, and its linkage to Charles Gardner of the CUSD Board.  Frankly, with all of the political shenanigans this year so far, it really is very difficult to take any proposals seriously, whether they are for good causes or not. 

A few years ago, we attended a community forum where Dr. Bayless presented the detailed CUSD financials to a handful of curious residents.  The story was not a happy one.  Because of unfunded mandates by the federal and state governments, CUSD has to spend a great deal of money addressing those programs imposed on it and therefore has very little latitude to provide services that may be more important to the local community (such as school bus service).  Although the parcel tax did not pass that year, we sent Dr. Bayless’ office a check for what would have been our share of it.

So the question becomes a very simple one: will the money be used to provide services tuned for the local community - or will it be used for “No Children Left Behind” and dozens of other unfunded or underfunded mandates from Sacramento and DC?  Unfortunately, the answer is probably a mix of those two.  And that does not bode well for Proposition S.

Unfortunately times are really tough all over, not just for the schools. As a retiree living mainly on Social Security and an small IRA that is being eaten away by inflation, I can testify to that. Once passed these taxes never seem to go away… forget the five year stated term. Look how permanent originally temporary local sales tax increases have become, and they will no doubt go higher. I believe that State funding will eventually improve and until then I think the schools should face the same tough choices we all have to make and continue to tighten their belts more.

Please read the text of the measure before you vote.  I did and here is what I found out…

AS reads the text of the measure…

An exemption shall be granted on any parcel owned by one or more persons aged 65 years or older as of July 1 of any applicable tax year who occupies said parcel as a principal residence, upon annual application for exemption.

So, if you apply and get an exemption the first year you will have to do it each year of the lenght of the assementment otherwise YOU WILL PAY IT.. Do you really want to remember to apply for the exemption each year and is it too late when you (surprise) receive the $175. statement on your taxes? You bet it will be.

AS reads the text of the measure…

the County Tax Assessor shall make all final determinations of tax exemption or relief for any reason, and that decision shall be final and binding.

So, even if you do apply for exemption, it is up to the Tax Assessor to say if you get exempted or not. If you qualify and are denied can you argue or make your case about it?  Nope the decisions are final and binding…

AS reads the text of the measure…

the appropriations limit for the District will be adjusted periodically by the aggregate sum collected by levy of this special tax.

So, you think your bill will remain only $175 a year? Nope because ‘adjusted periodically’ means it can be adjusted any time they want it to be increased, more than once a year?  You bet! 


As reads the text of the measure….

the special tax shall be deposited into a fund, which shall be kept separate and apart from other funds of the District. No later than January 1 of each year while the tax is in effect, the District shall prepare and file with the Board of Education a report/audit detailing the amount of funds collected and expended, and the status of any project authorized to be funded by this measure.

So, the Money collected will be in a separate fund earing separate interest, of course.  The school district only has to tell the BOE once a year what they collected and how they spent it. Come on worse case seniero for checks and balances. Who is really watching the pot?  Again it is the tax payer blindly paying into a fund that really promises everything and guarantees nothing. 

As reads the text of the measure….

Upon approval of this measure by the voters, should any part of the measure or taxing formula be found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid for any reason, all remaining parts of the measure or taxing formula hereof shall remain in full force and effect to the fullest extent allowed by law.

This is just legal language but what is says is that if it is found by the legal means, that any part of this measure, approved by the voters, is found to be invalid, that it will not stop the monies from being collected from you. In other words once you vote for it you are stuck with it no matter if it found not to be right, just or legal…

I DON’T WANT TO BE STUCK WITH IT…YOU DIDN’T EITHER!! REMEMBER IT FAILED 4 PREVIOUS TIMES. VOTE NO ON $. 

P.A. CHIMIENTI

A letter to the Editor for several local publications:

“Yes on S” say local organizations and dignitaries, and the signs are plastered everywhere.  Why not just check the “yes” box and be done with it? It would certainly make *my* life easier!

Happy as I’d be to oblige, that wouldn’t help our children; rather, they’ll be better off when the district sheds certain delusions. Chief among these is that lack of money explains its educational failures. Pro-S arguments dwell long on funding “cuts” responsible for assorted evils; but the ballot arguments this year contain actual budget numbers which explode the myth of “cuts”. In fact, while lots of things have been “cut” - busing, arts, sports, or whatever - funding has not; it’s up, way up, and is headed through the roof. The real problem is the District’s failure to responsibly manage public monies.

This is no different today than in 2003: the district ignores studies and benchmarks which show what is educationally important, and funds instead programs which owe their popularity to misinformation and self-interest. This letter to the Editor cannot begin to cover all this, and there are no deep pockets to fund any campaign; but Review letters from 2003 are as apt today as then (http://www.pettengill.org). Read them, and the Measure S ballot arguments. You also might conclude that throwing more money at this district not only will not help, but might actually make things worse, as painful but necessary reforms are yet again deferred.

For our children, vote NO on measure S.

Don Pettengill, Montara

Don,
This chart demonstrates that money nor ‘demographics’ explain CUSD poor performance: in San Mateo County, with less money, equal or greater student population challenge and they clean CUSD’s clock on performance – up to double!

http://cusd.info/page6.html

Many parents are not concerned, saying that ‘my kids don’t fit into these categories’ – what they don’t get is that these numbers represent the ‘canary in the cage’ analysis! CUSD under performs at the ‘low’ end; under performs at the top end for the gifted and on AP – then is it reasonable to conclude that the middle is OK?

When I asked the school board to ‘turn on’ an option for the STAR testing (that occurred in May), they refused. Parents would be able to track not just their children’s performance but it would be possible track performance for larger groups, without identifying students individually. I wanted to identify teachers who were doing a super job measured by improved student performance and to financially reward those teachers. The reaction by both CUSD School Board Member and past president Mr. Dwight Wilson and the Teacher Union Representative was fascinating. Blasphemy! Heresy! Sacrilege! ‘Measure teacher effective performance’?

Average CUSD teacher pay has increased by 25% between 2000 and 2005. Now they want more than the 5% per year increase for: “A highly qualified and well-trained teaching staff” in Measure S! They just won’t allow us to identify those teachers?

If the teacher claims they are teaching; and the child is not learning; then the teacher is not teaching!

Accountability! Accountability! We don’t need no stinking Accountability!

Ken Johnson

Unfortunately the chart that Ken has posted above does not document the average class sizes between the 2 districts. Do not be fooled by conjectures made about where the money will go. The money will go straight to lowering class sizes so that more attention can be given to each child.

Also, how hard would it be to mark the check box that says you would like to be exempt for that tax year? Come on, your Tax form will have your age on it, and there is no way the county assessor can argue your age, and the exemption clause of the measure! Let’s have a reality check please.

Measure S can only make things better, not worse. So, if you vote NO on S you are saying that you would like to make things worse.

Please vote Yes on S and make a difference!
Ray

Ray Olson,
The chart is evidence that neither money nor ‘demographics’ explains CUSD poor academic performance. The question of relevant class size and its funding was already normalized between the two districts. As to where the money WILL go – that is conjecture. There is no effective accountability in Measure S!

What “check box” are you referring to? Are you referring to Measure S? With all due respect, you appear to be confused concerning the issue. The “county assessor” has no relevance to the question!

If you are referring to an exemption for seniors; please read the relevant section of Measure S and you will find a convoluted process that requires seniors, each and every year, to send documents to the school superintendent’s office that could subject them to ‘identity theft’. A process that will leave many seniors and widows paying the tax without regard to their “senior exemption”! For the documents that are required by CUSD, the only place that I have found it is on the Measure S web site – strange – do you need a URL to locate it?

If you are referring to: “When I asked the school board to ‘turn on’ an option for the STAR testing (that occurred in May), they refused.” You apparently are not familiar with the topic. Please see the California Department of Education site: http://star.cde.ca.gov/

The referenced form, submitted by CUSD to the State, would result in reporting to the district the results by teacher, facilitating accountability of teacher performance – my goal was to identify those teachers that had exhibited exemplary teaching performance measured by the learning expressed on the tests by their students and to recognize them and provide financial recognition. We do have some excellent teachers and I wanted to let those teachers know that their performance and effort is appreciated!

I can appreciate a desire to “do something” to improve our schools – CUSD is in great need of academic improvement. Please read “An Alternative Parcel Tax Measure” on CUSD.Info. http://cusd.info/

Unfortunately, Measure S is not a solution! Please, after reading the above ‘Alternative Parcel Tax Measure’, let us work together on a real solution. Vote No on Measure S!

Ken Johnson

 

Ken, First thing. The check box I was referring to is based on P. A. Chimienti comment about being exempt from paying the tax. I cannot imagine that it would be so difficult for a person to copy from their previous year’s taxes when filling out the form for the new year. Come on, we all do this anyways!

Second. No, your table comparing percentages At or Above proficient of CUSD schools vs South SF United schools is not nomalized by class size but is based on API ratings. API ratings are based on how well each kid scores on the test which is correlated to how much time was given to each kid to prepare for the test, which of course is correlated to how many student one teacher has to work with.

And of course the money will go where it is supposed to, that is why there will be an annual report showing where every penny is spent on. What more do you want?

The fact is that for most teachers they can probably make more money working at Burger King than as a teacher. So many of our teachers put in their own extra time, and we need to show the teachers that the community is behind them 100% I really hope that you are.
Ray

Ray,

“most teachers [they] can probably make more money working at Burger King than as a teacher”.

Of course, this is complete nonsense. The average teacher salary (2004-5, CUSD) is about $57,000, and this for 9 months’ work. That’s around $37 per hour, for a 170-hour month. Try getting anywhere close to that in Burger King - especially with the teacher benefit package!

“API ratings are based on how well each kid scores on the test which is correlated to how much time was given to each kid to prepare for the test, which of course is correlated to how many student one teacher has to work with”

Again, wrong. Studies show that teacher quality - NOT class size - is the predominant factor in student performance. To extent that reduced class sizes require more teachers, incoming teacher quality has to be reduced to meet that need. Already, teachers as a group, constitue the bottom 20% of college students (a very well-known statistic). Increasing teacher head count without first addressing the numerous reasons why the teaching profession is not attracting our best and brightest, will put less able teachers in classes, and *worsen* - NOT “improve” - student achievement. Most states implementing class size reductions ahve already expereinced all this; nevertheless it remains popular for the reasons I stated above - misinformation, as in your case, and self-interest, as in the educational establishment and in particular the teacher unions.

“So, if you vote NO on S you are saying that you would like to make things worse”

Perhaps we are saying that, having intelligently researched the topic, we find Measure S on balance doing more harm than good.

Best regards,

Don

To Seniors and those who advise them, posts here may have mislead seniors and deny them the Senior Exemption if Measure S passes.

Measure S:
Section 3. Senior Exemption from Special Tax. An exemption from payment of the
special tax shall be granted on any parcel owned by one or more persons 65 years of age or over as of July 1 of any applicable tax year who occupies said parcel as a principal residence, upon annual application for exemption (“Senior Citizen Exemption”). The District shall annually provide to the San Mateo County Treasurer-Tax Collector or other appropriate County tax official (“County Tax Collector”) a list of parcels that the District has approved for a Senior Citizen Exemption.

Please note above: “annual application for exemption” …  “The District shall annually
provide to the San Mateo County Treasurer-Tax Collector” … “District has approved for a Senior Citizen Exemption.”

It doesn’t tell you that the deadline this year is 15 June 2006 for submission. It doesn’t tell you that you must provide COPIES of a collection of personal documents and send them to the School District each and every year!

Please see the Measure S web site.
http://www.pro-school.org/senior%20exemption%20form.pdf

I cannot personally attest to the documents authenticity; but knowing Cindy Epps, I don’t think she would knowingly allow a misrepresentation of a CUSD document.

This will be a new process required of seniors for the tax bills to be received in the fall. It will be to late at that time to request an exemption for that bill.

Again, the deadline is 15 June 2006.

Barry, you may want to post this information on a main page – probably rewritten under your name. Seniors, or those who work with Seniors, need to act within the next two weeks from today to exercise their rights if Measure S passes.

At a personal level, I abhor those who act for short-term political gain, providing verifiably false information, that may disadvantage seniors who are living on limited fixed budgets. They are simply not worthy of a reply.

Ken Johnson

I beg to differ on studies showing that class size having a direct correlation to student performance. And your reference to the bottom 20% of college students becoming teachers is only due to the fact that teacher salaries are much lower then what any average college student can earn. That logic exists as well in a corporate environment.

I had read on careerbuilder.com that a shift manager at Burger King can make 50K (more than many teachers), though I can’t seem to find it at the moment.

I’m sorry you feel this way about Measure S and I only wish that you could be more supportive of our community and our teachers.
Ray

Ray,

The data on the overwhelming influence of teacher quality over class size, is absolutely unambiguous, and solidly backed up by international comparisons, as well as by longitudinal analyses of US data. Did you know, for example, that while class sizes have been decreasing across the US and in California also the last 40 years, that there has been no improvement at all in student achievement - and, by some measures, these have worsened?

There are plenty of our best and brightest available for work in K-12 schools. Some teach in community colleges, where a “teaching certificate” is not required; when I was a Physics post-doc, there was very heavy competition for these rare community college spots. It’s no different today. High schools though are out, because of the certification requirement - despite the fact, again ascertained in studies, that certification per se makes litle to no difference in teacher quality. And there is planty of anecdotal evidence that the schools of education teach little of actual use to a new teacher. One is led to the inevitable conclusion that “certification” is just a barrier to entering the profession - and it’s a very effective barrier. Here in Silicon Valley, what successful engineer can afford a year or two in ed school? I know one who did, but he paid a fearful price for it.

But perhaps the single most effective barrier to the entry of smart people into teaching, is the sure knowledge that how good they are won’t matter when layoffs come, or when raises are given. If you pay teachers like fork-lift operators - by seat time and paper qalifications, rather than by performance - you should not be surprised if fork-lift-operator quality is what you get. The district could change this: but it won’t.

The Measure S blurb talks of “excellent teachers in every classroom”. HELLO - where are we? - Lake Wobegone? Obviously the district has plans to define execellence down, until all teachers are “excellent”, rather than to identify the minority of truly rxcellent teachers and to reward them appropriately. See Ken Johnson’s posts for more on this. Naturally, our most talented college students won’t stand for this nonsense: they’ll go into industry.

Re: teacher pay versus Burger King pay: surely you’re joking? Please point us to these numerous $37/hour jobs, plus extensive benefits.

Re: “I’m sorry you feel this way about Measure S and I only wish that you could be more supportive of our community and our teachers.”

This isn’t about feelings: it’s about facts. Measure S supporters, yourself included, cannot marshal the available facts and information to support Measure S. That’s not surprising: what we know about education, and about this district, show clearly that Measure S is a bad idea and will, long term, harm students rather than help them. I too am sorry: sorry that so many cannot sharpen their pencils to deal with school finances . The plain fact is that education spending federally, state-wide and locally is going through the roof - yet we, the US, are still classed as “mediocre” in international comparisons, and even within our borders we see no benefit from this increased funding.

“Business as usual” - Measure S - is a profound disservice to our children and our community.

Support Real Education: Vote NO on Measure S !

Ray,

One last comment:; you say :“And your reference to the bottom 20% of college students becoming teachers is only due to the fact that teacher salaries are much lower then what any average college student can earn”.

An objective (and nonjudgemental) analysis of teacher pay, is here:

http://www.edsource.org/pdf/TeachersCompFinal.pdf

You will see there that teacher pay is very competitive - normalised to the 9-month work year.

One asks why schools should be closed in lock-step for 3 months, given that our children no longer have to bring in the harvest, but that is another issue.

I can see you feel strongly about this, but please try to bring some facts and rationality to the table. Emotions and opinion have their place, but in general, finance is not it.

Best regards,

Don

Mr. Olson,

I also take issue with your statement:

“I’m sorry you feel this way about Measure S and I only wish that you could be more supportive of our community and our teachers.”

I have a child in Farallone and in the fall I will have two. I very much support our community and our teachers. However, I have found these arguments of fiscal mismanagement and the dismal API scores very persuasive.

I am also very offput that it appears none of the Measure S money is earmarked for buses.

And I’m surprised no one else has mentioned this - but I find the exemption for seniors unfair. I could tolerate a tiered tax based on income level regardless of any other factors, but beyond that everyone in the community should support the education of our children. It is in the best interest of everyone for our children to be educated and become productive members of our society.

While I remain disgusted that our society continues to treat one of the most important roles (a teacher) as less than important, I find this measure once again lacking for all of the same old reasons. So sadly, I feel I am once again forced to vote against it.

Brian Dantes
El Granada

Regarding Ken Johnson,s warning about the measure S exemption. Talking to a couple of my neighbors one whom is over 80 & her daughter [who works with a lot of seniors] neither one has recieved [they say they didnt ] the exemption form in the mail as i did.
I promptly made copies of my form & gave it to them. And warned them that they have only 9 days after the election if measure S passes to mail it. Are they trying to make us forgetful{whats my name!]senior citizens forget to send in on time. Please people, warn all the senior people you know about the exemption & time limit to mail it in. You may have to go to CUSD office 498 Kelly Ave to get a form. We have to watch out for our senior citizens they are endangered as much as the sacred froggie & snake & now our mosquito breeding sacred wetlands.

Brian Dantes writes,

And I’m surprised no one else has mentioned this - but I find the exemption for seniors unfair. I could tolerate a tiered tax based on income level regardless of any other factors, but beyond that everyone in the community should support the education of our children. It is in the best interest of everyone for our children to be educated and become productive members of our society.

This gets at the reasons that I’m not an enthusiastic supporter of Measure S. Most of CUSD’s funding comes from income, sales and property taxes, which generally have some relationship, even a progressive one, with ability to pay.

Parcel taxes do not. And of course they fall on renters as well as property owners, since they get passed through by landlords. So the owner of the biggest McMansion on the coastside will pay $175 per year, as will the renter of the humblest cottage.

I think it’s a terrible idea for California schools to become dependent on such a regressive tax. And it’s not just unjust to individual tax payers; it’s unfair to school districts who are too poor to pass substantial parcel taxes.

The district isn’t entirely to blame; Prop 13 left parcel taxes as the only method that they can use to raise operating revenue locally. But it’s nonetheless bad public policy.

I supported earlier parcel tax proposals because there was a genuine fiscal emergency, and passage would have prevented some painful cutbacks. But district revenue is rising again (the governor’s May budget revision proposes an extra $6 billion for education).

I may yet vote for Measure S, but it won’t be with any enthusiasm.

Don Pettengill,

Thanks, the EdSource document provides the general public a quick easy read on the topic. The public often hears the Teacher Union position without proper context.

In the EdSource document, hopefully people will note:

“National Education Association (NEA) wrote:  “The Association opposes providing additional compensation to attract and/or retain education employees in hard-to-recruit positions.”

“The single salary schedule, according to the AFT [American Federation of Teachers], has persisted in large part “because it is viewed by teachers as equitable and by management as easy to administer.”

Maybe someone might question whether an AP Physics instructor and a Home Ec teacher receiving the same pay might just be part of the problem!

Some might notice that the Teacher Union often refer to the State of Connecticut pay experiment but often fail to note: “Along with salary increases came a variety of policies and incentives aimed at raising teacher quality.”

I found of interest:
“New teachers who had scored in the top quartile on college Entrance exams were nearly twice as likely to leave the profession (26%) as those who scored lower (14%).”

Also of interest:
“More than 25% of teachers in the bottom achievement-quartile schools left each year, compared with less than 20% in schools in the top quartile.”

An ominous projection for CUSD!


In 2004-05, CUSD average actual salaries paid was $58,208 for 187 Work Days (180 Teaching Days) with a benefits package paid by the district (the public) that private sector employees would kill for.

CUSD School Superintendent John Bayless often likes to whine in public comparing CUSD to “over the hill school districts” (Hillsborough) finances. I know some of the private fundraisers for that district on a social level – we will NEVER compete successfully with them for fundraising!

He never compares CUSD with the only other Unified School District in the county!

2004-05, South San Francisco Unified average actual salaries paid was $53,523 for 186 Work Days (180 Teaching Days).

That works out to: $4,685 for that extra workday here – a non-teaching day!?
Can we cut that extra day out?

Take another look at: http://cusd.info/page6.html
They pay less and THEY CLEAN CUSD’S CLOCK!

I must compliment you on your patience in dealing with people who obviously don’t read and their ‘citations’ are dubious at best and ludicrous at the worse: i.e.
The guy looking for his new job on “careerbuilder.com that a shift manager at Burger King can make 50K” but “can’t seem to find it at the moment.” 
Please, tell me that he isn’t a teacher!

For such people, just remind them that K-3 (the only area where class size has any real significance to student academic performance) will be slightly less than 20 – see state funding.  Both districts have similar class sizes with the slight ‘advantage’ to CUSD.
You will find that:
“Descriptive Statistics and Correlations Tables for California’s 2005 School Characteristics Index and Similar Schools Ranks”
http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ap/documents/tdgreport0506.pdf
is most useful in describing that class size, in the range being discussed, is insignificant to academic performance!
You will also find the work done by David Rogosa at Stanford University for the California Department of Education helpful.

What is significant is the positive relationship to parent education level (the reason why I publicized the trend line analysis for Cunha a couple of years ago- see graphs http://cusd.info/page8.html
) that the School Board’s behaviour and results has been driving them out of the CUSD schools!

As to explaining it to those other people who refuse to read and use mythology as a ‘citation’, I will leave them to you. I am not that patient! To lift a line from Woody Allen: ‘It is like explaining alternate side of the street parking to a turnip!’

Good luck.
Ken Johnson

How much bloat do Measure S critics think there is in CUSD budgets? After years of cuts and belt-tightening, the school district doesn’t have a spending problem. It has a revenue problem.

San Carlos, Burlingame, San Mateo, Palo Alto and Woodside schools all get more state revenue per student AND ALL PASSED parcel taxes. (San Carlos 70% YES, Burlingame 72% YES, San Mateo 69% YES, Palo Alto 74% YES, Woodside 78% YES.) Woodside schools get TWICE as much in CA state funds per student. CUSD ranks 15th out of 20 San Mateo County districts. (To correct people who mistakenly think funding is “headed through the roof.”)

It’d be great to learn why Johnson and other opponents of Measure S favor enriching FOR-PROFIT insurance companies over our children. When people claim they WOULD have supported Measure S if it included busing, they may not realize that the cost of busing was 1/3 of the budget. And a significant part of busing costs is insurance. How many ANY insurance companies plow their profits back into the community? I think investing the money in teachers, art programs, librarians, etc, will repay our community many times over (better schools, more educated kids, and lower crime rates raise property values).

When it comes to making informed decisions on school matters, ones that impact our community and our kids’ future, I trust our professional educators and not the fear-mongers. You see the same tactics (incomplete info, race card, fear) on this string as you see from the Bush crowd on immigration, gay marriage, etc. Don’t fall for it.

Do the right thing: Invest in our children. (And WHAT an investment, all of 50 cents a day.)

Joel,

You say, “Years of cuts” ? Look at the actual district financial reports, or - horror of horrors! - make the effort to read the ballot arguments. District revenue is far higher now than in the early and mid nineties - when we *had* busing.

You say, “When people claim they WOULD have supported Measure S if it included busing, they may not realize that the cost of busing was 1/3 of the budget.”

Nonsense. In 2002-3 - the last year, I believe, we had busing - out of $24 million in general fund expenditures, only $2.3 million went to everything else (“Services, Other Operating Expenses”) including busing. “Transportation salaries” were just $203 thousand. While the transportation numebr isn’t broken out, as you can see it cannot be more than 10%, and considering that that the above $2.3 million covers everything else including plant maintenance etc, it’s clear that student transportation costs are nowhere near “1/3 of the budget”.

You say, “When it comes to making informed decisions on school matters, ones that impact our community and our kids’ future, I trust our professional educators ..”

At the expense, apparntly, of even a minimal effort to independently examine the absolute balderdash you are being fed. Much of this information is freely available on the web:

http://www.ed-data.k12.ca.us

Most people make up their minds with no effort at all to ascertain the facts. Your “professional educators” rely on these sheep at election time. Will you be one of them?

Joel, I agree with your sentiments on this one. I volunteered my time phone banking and spent hours walking neighborhoods with door-hangers reminding people to vote for S. I don’t doubt the earnestness of all posters on this issue, so don’t want to argue with anyone opposed, just say my say.

That is, I’d rather keep my $175 than give it to someone else, but I think it’s important to contribute to my community. Do I like the school board or think it makes good decisions. No. But it is elected so it represents us warts and all.

What differentiates the US educational system from the British system that it came from is that it is egalitarian in aspiration and open to all. It spawned our melting pot society, lumps and all. If you love America, you have to love the idea that we offer education to all comers. The British system is class-oriented all of the way. Kids are sorted into trade or elite schools at age 13 and that’s it, no climbing from that hole after that.

Here, education is available even at a relatively late age where kids can reorient and aspire to higher academic standards. The American experiment is still underway and most of us have benefited from what people long before us contributed. We need to seriously consider our part in the social fabric and recognize the sacrifices others made for us. Otherwise this place will be kind of a Lake Wobegone in reverse where all of the boys and girls are below average. And we would deserve what befell us when they take their place in the economy, but fail to meet our needs or satisfaction. In view of that, $175 looks like a bargain to me.

ken king

Ken,

Having been educated in the UK, I cannot agree with your opinion of it. My own bother was one of your “trade school” kids”; but contrary to what you say, he received an excellent and appropriate education. He has no degree, but has far better knowledge and skills in his area of expertise than most of the college graduates he deals with (as he often tells me with amazement). He got an education - not a piece of paper - and it has stood him in good stead.

As for your Lake Wobegone comment, we are already there. American K-12 education is internationally regarded as mediocre, and it is not the K-12 system which drives US success; rather, it is the University system, with its strong privately run institutions as well as public ones, which is the envy of the world. Like it or not, Stanford keeps Berkeley honest. Too bad there’s no K-12 analog.

There are lots of well-intentioned, nice people who worry about “the social fabric” and “the sacrifices others made for us”, etc etc, but in the end what counts is not how many kum-by-yas we yodel, nor how magnificent our intentions are, but whether results are obtained. I believe the real bargain you get for your $175 is the warm self-satisfaction of having given it; unfortunately that alone is unlikely to benefit any child. “Business as usual” isn’t the solution, or as the saying goes, you can’t fix a broken bucket by pouring more water into it.

“The May Revision to the budget delivers on Governor commitment to restore funding to schools.” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell on 12 May 2006
http://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr06/yr06rel53.asp

Joel Farbstein,
You are arguing ancient history and the above points to today’s reality of school funding! The State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell is not exactly what you can call an opponent of school funding! He also is not a supporter of the Governor! Please read the short document.

“Bayless estimated that re-instating busing would likely cost between $200,000 to $300,000.” 8Mar2006 Review
http://www.hmbreview.com/articles/2006/03/08/news/local_news/story02.txt
When bussing stopped, it cost $300,000 a year.
Enrolment at Cunha has dropped by 30% from its high; so the number range seems reasonable.
That works out to a parcel tax of $20 to $30 a year!

NOW! CUSD 2004-05 real budget numbers:
Total, Governmental Funds:  Total Revenues: $29,143,833
General Fund:  Total Revenues: $24,092,004
Bussing = between $200,000 to $300,000
So say $250,000 divided by $24,092,004

That is roughly One Percent!

Joel Farbstein: How did you arrive with: “the cost of busing was 1/3 of the budget”???
I don’t particularly care if you want to call me among the “fear-mongers”; I am curious thou, what do you want to be called in light of the above?

The above is an oversimplified example. I just wanted to put it into perspective relative to Mr. Farbstein dubious comments.

CUSD 2004-05 real budget numbers:
Certificated Personnel Salaries [teachers] Total Expenditures excluding Employee Benefits = $12,790,602

Put another way, 2% of teacher pay would have covered school bussing.

CUSD teachers: average paid: 1999-00 $46,672;  2004-05 $58,208   for 187 days worked.
That is a 25% increase, or roughly a 5% per year pay increase.

So the choice was school bussing and a 3% annual increase in average teacher pay OR eliminate School Bussing and 5% annual average pay increases for teachers which is what the School Board chose.

I’ll let the reader look up just how much the teacher pay increases were above the average annual inflation rate for the same time period. Put another way, did your pay increase 25% over the last 5 years?

It is just the mental picture, of a child walking along the highway, in a driving rainstorm. Cars are rushing toward them, with drivers unable to see clearly through their windshield. And then the ultimate horror for any parent and any driver occurs. It is that image, among many others, that makes me seriously question the values of the School Board’s hardened determination not to offer School Bussing!

We Can; We Must do better than the School Board’s Measure S!

Please Vote No on Measure S.
In November then support the alternative!

Ken Johnson

Kenneth King,

I believe we agree on goals for CUSD. For the moment, I’ll just agree to disagree on the means. I know just how much commitment it takes to get out there and walk a precinct in support of a ballot measure.

I can appreciate a desire to “do something” to improve our schools – CUSD is in great need of academic improvement. Please read “An Alternative Parcel Tax Measure” on CUSD.Info. http://cusd.info/

It is not intended as a final version. And it will evolve. It is intended as a starting point if and when Measure S looses. I saw little in Measure S that reflected the public comment in the oh too brief public review. A review period for the public measured in minutes. I hope to avoid that criticism.

Please send your criticism and suggestions regarding “An Alternative Parcel Tax Measure” to the email account on the measure. Your assistance in making it win in November would be most welcomed.

Regards,
Ken Johnson

Mr. Pettengill’s comments about having been educated in the British system are interesting and bear on what I said about the two-track, elitist nature of that system. I don’t doubt that it educates along with training the kids slated for the trades, but it still significantly directs their life path along predictable lines. I don’t doubt his brother does well enough and may be satisfied with his rung on the ladder, but his choice was restricted early in life. Those on the elite track, on the other hand, have access to the top white-collar professional and managerial jobs in society. Those were forever closed off to his brother once he was sorted into the trade’s pool.

Because he says his brother went through the trade school side, it’s an easy inference that Mr. Pettengill came from the elite track. That goes some distance toward explaining his lack of interest in supporting our egalitarian, and, yes, poorer, educational system. It is unsurprising that he derides the output from local schools. However, it is a fallacy of the worst sort to say that since something is not as good as it should be that one should not waste money trying to improve it (his broken bucket metaphor). Huh? If my roof leaks, I repair it. That is a more appropriate metaphor.

ken king

 

 

Been out of town this weekend and have now come back.

Don P: Wow is all I can say. Just because you use long words such as “unambiguous” and “longitudinal analyses” doesn’t make your statements any more credible. I’ve volunteered in both of my kids classes and I can tell you for certain that more one-on-on attention the teacher gives a child, the more the child retains what is being taught. Therefore, the ideal situation is one teacher for one student. Of course, we need qualified teachers and the best teachers, no doubt and nobody is arguing this. If you have some proposal for getting the highest quality possible of a teacher, then I would certainly back it, in addition to Measure S.

I can also tell you that I have several friends that have looked for grade-school teaching jobs straight out of college (here on the peninsula) and the pay pretty much sucks. It is ok once you have seniority, but the pay does not compare at all to a corporate job. Your part about “normalized to the 9 month work year” is very interesting.. How can you compare that to a normal 12 month job? What is a teacher supposed to do with the other 3 months? And, ask any teacher around here and see if they actually only work 9 months. I think you might be a little out of touch with reality.

Brian D: I am sorry you are voting against it. For me, this is a measure started by the community, pushed for by the community and so I honestly feel if you are not voting for S then you are not supporting our community. I truly think you are only hurting our kids by voting against S since the whole reason it started was to improve the quality of education for our kids. I think your child deserves better, and that would mean to vote Yes.

Please show our kids that you care about their education and vote Yes on S.

Ray

Comment 27
Mon, June 5, 2006 12:55am
Brian
All my comments

Mr. Olson,

Equating questioning of Measure S with lack of support of the community feels an awful lot like equating questioning the Patriot Act with lack of patriotism.

In all honesty, I do not know yet how I will vote on Tuesday. I am very torn. I strongly believe that good teachers are *grossly* undervalued in our society. But I feel much about public funding such as this as I do about charity—I don’t like to do it unless I am sure it is going to a worthwhile cause and being spent in appropriate way. And I just don’t feel that Measure S has passed muster in that regard. If I could direct Measure S funds directly into the pockets of a few educators with whom I have personal experience at Farallone, then I would do so in a New York minute. Perhaps to her embarrassment, I’ll single out Mrs. Mary Balciunas, my son’s kindergarten teacher. I’m sure they’re not paying her enough.

The information presented to me on these Coastsider threads and the cusd.info site as well as the state school web sites have caused me to seriously question this measure. I want to patch the roof too - but I want to do it with the right shingles, not with chewing gum. And I want to hire a professional roofer with references from the BBB who will give me a detailed invoice to do the work.

To demand accountability and measurable success from our public educators to get extra public funds to me only makes common sense. My children are part of this system - so I am directly impacted by this vote. Please do not dismiss my views as simple lack of support for the community.

Brian Dantes
El Granada

I echo Ray Olson and the others who have stated their unwavering support for our future decision makers, aka our community’s children, by supporting Measure S.

Our school board members and the parents of our community as well as hundreds of other volunteers are truly making a difference by coming forth with suggestions and plans to improve one of the most important aspects of our Coastside infrastructure…...our schools.

Contrary to what most people think…....this community has never done anything but support our local schools and the parcel taxes have alwlays garnered 60+% majority. 

But, there is always going to be a little band of negative thinkers who put forth the disingenous argument that in order to save our educational system, we must first destroy it by not supporting any attempt to adequately fund it.

We need a supermajority vote of 67% in order to pass this tax.

Listen to your heart, use your common sense and vote yes on S so that we can really support our future.

Mary

Comment 29
Mon, June 5, 2006 10:56am
Brian
All my comments

Ms. Ascher,

To put all those who question the efficacy of the specifics of Measure S into a category of disingenuous “negative thinkers” is a bit unfair. There are of those like myself who want to support our teachers and the schools to be improved but don’t want to throw money if the money is not being spent prudently or with accountability. I have a vested interest in our school system—my two children are in it. The school board and other proponents of other Measure S have not done a good enough job informing at least this one voter on how the money will be spent wisely or how accountability will be provided.

I may still yet vote for the measure, but I think it would have passed resoundingly (and long before now) if CUSD had ever adequately addressed the concerns which have come up over and over again.

Is Measure S even needed with the same urgency now that a lot of state funds have been restored? Why is there a senior exemption rather than one based on income level? Why aren’t some of the funds earmarked for busing? What oversight is there for the expenditure of these funds? These are all fair and relevant questions—so please don’t apply such offensive labels as “disingenuous” as those of us who dare to ask them.

Brian Dantes
El Granada

Taken from
http://www.ed-data.k12.ca.us
In a nut shell teachers salaries on the rise,
per student revenues on the rise,
expenses (mostly salaries) on the rise,
attendance declining…  consider this before voting.  NO on $  P.A. Chimienti
*****************************************


Annual Teacher Salary Trends
Cabrillo Unified (CDS Code 68890)
Annual Teacher Salary trend options: 


Note: Average is based on actual salaries paid; lowest and highest are as offered on salary schedule; BA plus 60 is offered on salary schedule for Bachelor of Arts degree with 60 continuing education units.

1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05
$44,913 $46,672
(+3.9%) $52,415
(+12.3%) $55,403
(+5.7%) $56,644
(+2.2%) $56,730
(+0.2%) $58,208
(+2.6%)

*************************************
Supplemental Salary Schedule Trends
Cabrillo Unified (CDS Code 68890)
Supplemental Salary Schedule trend options: 


1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05
3.9% 3.4% 11.0% 3.9% 1.6% 0.0% 1.3%

*****************************************
Per Student Revenue Trends
Cabrillo Unified (CDS Code 68890)
Per Student Revenue trend options: 


1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05
$4,277 $4,671
(+9.2%) $5,135
(+9.9%) $5,773
(+12.4%) $5,813
(+0.7%) $6,712
(+15.5%) $6,839
(+1.9%) $6,690
(-2.2%) $6,528
(-2.4%) $6,984
(+7.0%)
*******************************************
Enrollment Trends
Cabrillo Unified School District (CDS Code 68890)

1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05
3,668 3,830
(+4.4%) 3,889
(+1.5%) 3,825
(-1.6%) 3,827
(+0.1%) 3,766
(-1.6%) 3,753
(-0.3%) 3,649
(-2.8%) 3,633
(-0.4%) 3,534
(-2.7%)
********************************************
Per-Student Expense Trends
Cabrillo Unified (CDS Code 68890)
Per-Student Expense trend options: 


Note: Dollar amounts are actual, not adjusted for inflation; per-student calculations use annual average daily attendance (ADA). There are minor reporting differences between 2003-04 and subsequent years. Employee benefits, subtotal expenditures, and other outgo differ slightly, while other line items and total expenditures are unaffected.

1995-96 1996-97 1997-98 1998-99 1999-00 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05
$4,105 $4,427
(+7.8%) $4,832
(+9.1%) $5,345
(+10.6%) $5,671
(+6.1%) $6,365
(+12.2%) $6,398
(+0.5%) $6,478
(+1.3%) $6,446
(-0.5%) $7,017
(+8.9%)

 

Ugh! I am so tired of hearing about Measure S and seeing the signs. Be done with it. The school district constantly complains about it’s need for money and nothing is EVER done. Precisely the reason our children do not attend school here on the coast and never will. We love this community and are dismayed by the state of CUSD.

We know we have made the right choice electing to put our children in school over the hill. I just wish we had more options out here.
Lisa

And for those that need data on whether smaller class sizes will work, you can go here:

http://www.aera.net/uploadedFiles/Journals_and_Publications/Research_Points/RP_Fall03.pdf

or the following website is a good synopis of many studies:
http://www.ed.gov/pubs/ClassSize/academic.html


here is another web-site with a good summary (and an easy read):
http://www.heros-inc.org/classsizeresearch.htm


There are some caveats around this idea, and I’m sure some of you folks can start picking at these
studies, but nevertheless the conclusions they have come to state smaller class sizes do improve academic achievement. The studies also show that teachers actually perform better, which means that the quality of the current teaching staff improves.

The thing that gets me is that this idea is totally logical when you think about it. Parents take children out of school and homeschool with the advantage that the ratio is now much smaller. You go to private schools and they will tout how small their class sizes are (note that private schools are a business). And, if you ever spend time in classrooms (especially K-5) you will see the impact a teacher has when he/she is one-on-one with a student. To me, arguing this is analogous to the Bush Administration hiring some scientist to say that there is no global warming.

Please, do not be confused or misguided by those folks against measure S.

Please vote Yes on S and make a difference for our children.

Ray

This is an issue that goes to the heart of the community. Our public schools are the essence of our quality of life. People may have issues with the school district for one reason or another, but the bottom line is we need to support our public schools and the children for attend those schools. Measure S is the way to do that.
- Jack McCarthy

Re: Ken King’s comments my my family’s UK education,

Ken - my brother is doing very well, thank you - better than I am, actually! But none of this “class warfare” rhetoric is really very relevant to the real issue: will Measure S improve things, or not? We’ve made a very good case that Measure S is more of the same - spending more money, on the same things (mostly, district employee salaries) and in the same ways (by longevity, rather than by performance and specialty), which have failed to help in the past. The district has way more funds per student now than years ago, yet has cut services and essentials such as busing, books and supplies. “More of the same” is the wrong answer.

Support Real Reforms to help our children! Vote NO on Measure S!

Ms. Martin,

“Ugh! I am so tired of hearing about Measure S and seeing the signs. Be done with it.”

“We love this community and are dismayed by the state of CUSD.”

So, do you honestly think apathy is a cure?

YES on S
YES on S

(two votes from our household).

Mr. Olson,

“For me, this is a measure started by the community, pushed for by the community and so I honestly feel if you are not voting for S then you are not supporting our community.”

Equating questioning of Measure S with lack of support for the community feels an awful lot like equating questioning of the Patriot Act with lack of patriotism.

I have one child in Farallone (and will have two next year) - and thus I have a personal and vested interest in the success of our schools and our community. It saddens me deeply that these measures supporting our schools have been so flawed that I have been unable to vote for them. I fault CUSD for not providing adequate information and oversight to voters as they should.

Just as with my charitable contributions, as a voter I will not write a blank check to fix a problem, particularly to an organization that has displayed a propensity for lack of accountability and mismanagement of money. If I can be shown a clear focus for my tax dollars and a system of checks that will ensure it actually gets spent that way, and I agree with those expenditures - then I will vote for it. Measure S has laudable overall goals stated in an emotional way, but it offers only broad generalizations at best in terms of checks and balances.

If I could earmark Measure S funds specifically for the pockets of some of the teachers with whom I have personal experience at Farallone, I would do so in a NY minute. At the risk of embarrassing her, I’ll single out Mrs. Mary Balciunas, my son’s kindergarten teacher. If we had a merit-based system that rewarded teachers such as she, I would enthusiastically vote to fund it.

I think the authors of Measure S (and all the flawed attempts that have gone before) and CUSD are the ones not supporting our community. Please give us a measure with accountability, oversight and fair distribution of funds to help our schools.

Brian Dantes
El Granada

This is for Chimienti, Johnson, and Pettengil (sounds like a law firm) concerning statistics of our school district. What I am trying to show is that as a community we should be providing more funds to our schools than what other communities nearby are providing.

Let’s compare Burlingame with Half Moon Bay. 2000 Census states the following:
Median Family income in HMB: $92,204
Median Family income in Burlingame: $91,309
HMB median income is .9% greater than Burlingame

Now, let’s look at revenues:
Revenue per child at HMB: $6,984
Revenue per child at Burlingame: $7,404
Burlingame is generating 6% more than HMB

Here are some more communities:
Median Family Income in Redwood City: $73,798
HMB median income is 25% greater than Redwood City
and yet,
Revenue per child at Redwood City Elementary: $8,318
Redwood City is generating 19% MORE than HMB

and then the kicker is.. look at South San Francisco:
Median Family Income in SSF: $66,598
HMB median income is 38% greater than SSF
and yet
Revenue per child at SSF: 6,932
HMB revenue is only a meager .75% greater than SSF


I think as a community we have a long way to go in supporting our schools as compared to cities near us.

Vote Yes on S and show our school system we care.

Lisa, I am sorry you chose to send your kids to a private school over the hill. Maybe you would reconsider if you voted Yes on S?

Ray

One more statistic for those naysayers:

2004 Median Family Income in Ca = $58,327

2004 Median Family Income in HMB = $104,559 (using 1999 figure of $92,2204 adjusted to 2004 dollars using CPI of 1.134)

HMB has a median family income 79% higher than the state of Ca, on average. We make more money on average, but yet..

Avg Revenue per child in Ca is: $7,658
Revenue per child in CUSD is: $6,984

Ca is generating 9.6% more per child even though we make 79% more on average than the state.

We desperately need to fill this gap. Please vote Yes on S.

Ray

Barry:

Speaking as a parent who tried for years to just make the schools an acceptable place for my children, I’d like to suggest that you have this backwards.

FIRST, we need to get rid of the corrupt politicians who have been running this district into the ground for years.

THEN, we vote to give money the ones who will run the district in an acceptable manner money.

—Emily

Barry wrote:

...I’ve been critical of our school board in the past. If you don’t like the way they’ve been running the district, you’ll get an opportunity to deal with them (or at least three of them) in November. The issue on June 6 is how much money we’re going to give the schools. It is not a referendum on the school board.

Re: Ken King’s comments my my family’s UK education,

Ken - my brother is doing very well, thank you - better than I am, actually! But none of this “class warfare” rhetoric is really very relevant to the real issue: will Measure S improve things, or not? We’ve made a very good case that Measure S is more of the same - spending more money, on the same things (mostly, district employee salaries) and in
the same ways (by longevity, rather than by performance and specialty), which have failed to help in the past. The district has way more funds
per student now than years ago, yet has cut services and essentials such as busing, books and supplies. “More of the same” is the wrong answer.

Support Real Reforms to help our children! Vote NO on Measure S!

Thanks to all of you for these great posts. I am relieved that I didn’t send my son to school on the coastside. I went to public school in NY (Long Island) and it was fabulous. I don’t see anything like it here.

Besides the fact that the library is like a gang hangout every afternoon, I still haven’t had an intellectual conversation with a teenager in this town. I can’t imagine putting my child in this mix. We go over the hill for just about everything and I am fine with that.

Why am I here with my family? Oh, I like cool cloudy weather and ocean views. I also love the people.  :)  That includes you, even if our opinions differ.

My son spent his kindergarten year over the hill in a class with 20 kids, racially and ethnically mixed, taught by 2 teachers. Along with reading and math, his kindergarten consists of classes in French, Spanish, computers (on brand new Macs), PE, library, and science. Field trips are to the San Francisco Ballet and Symphony as well as museums. I can’t even talk with public school parents on the coastside because what their kids are getting doesn’t even compare and I feel bad telling them how great things are for my son.

The school system should be run like a business. Teachers, students, parents, and the administration should all be held accountable. Tenure should go right out the door. Period. That might motivate everyone involved a bit to make things work. Corporations don’t have guaranteed jobs - people have to work hard, manage budgets, meet goals etc. Why do we have lower expectations for all involved in the educational process? I don’t think throwing more money into the mix is the right answer.

You can fight about APIs, class size and ratios, senior exemptions but my reality is…how could anyone justify paying more money when it costs at least 800k just to get a house out here? Thank you Lisa Martin, enough is enough!

Mr. Ginna,

Apathy? Please. I posted because I AM concerned about the school situation here on the coast. I love this community and please do not mistake that for a moment. We are all entitled to our opinions. I do not feel that Measure S is the answer. Does not mean I am right nor wrong.

We have chosen to give our kids the best we can and for us that is providing them with a high quality education which is just not available here on the coast.

Do not fault me for wanting what is best for my children.

Measure S will is not the solution.

Lisa

This is to Ken Johnson,
I’ve read and re-read the posts you’ve made on June 4th and honestly I cannot understand how this backs your stance on voting no for S. It is very difficult to read between your own biases and objective information. In addition, you throw into the mix the busing issue which has absolutely nothing to do with the objectives of measure S. Again, just smoke and mirrors to confuse the fence sitting folks.

Unfortunately, Looking at www.ed-data.k12.ca.us, it is difficult to find out about how our teacher salaries compare to other districts or schools. The site provides High, Low, and average but what I would like to know is the distribution of the salaries. For example, how many teachers fit into the low category, as opposed to the high category. The other factor is the fact that the vast majority of the available teacher pool is over the hill and so if our salaries compare to salaries in districts over the hill, the likelihood is high that a teacher would choose the position with less commute time. So, all of the comments above concerning teacher salary is not so relevant in the decision making of voting Yes, or No.

The overwhelming factor is high much we as a community are providing as funds to our schools compared to other communities, and how much money we as a community are able to provide. 

I really wonder what your underlying agenda might be. If you are truly about trying to improve our local school, I wonder how involved you will be with the community, if for example, measure S does not pass. I honestly feel that you and Don P. have not intelligently researched the topic, but merely slanted any sort of figures towards your sentiment that our school district is corrupt and/or incompetent. You have not provided sufficient evidence to support this, and I’m thinking there might be some politcal agenda mixed in?

Please vote Yes on S and show you wish to make a difference.
Ray

“Abandon hope all ye who enter here” should appear above all main doors of CUSD and Rodin’s La Porte de l’Enfer (The Gates of Hell) for the entrance of a new intermediate school if it is ever built somewhere.

You can go to Stanford University to see it and if your child has taken an art class involving sculpture at CUSD and they did not drag you there; give CUSD an “F” in Art.

It has the best museum and examples of the casting process west of The Musée Rodin in Paris with the benefit of fewer French around. And does CUSD think important?

Why did I write, “if it is ever built somewhere”? It is the dirty little secret that the supporters of Measure S don’t want to discuss. I started at each School board meeting from the podium, starting back in December, to request the School Board include in their upcoming Parcel Tax a statement that they would not change the location of the new school from the Cunha Site’. They refused! I followed up in writing during the brief public hearing. They refused!

I also urged them at the same times to include another statement that they would not withdraw from Federal funding. There was a push expressed by a letter from the majority of staff at Cunha decrying their inability to comply with NCLB. They don’t think they should be held responsible for seeing that 1 in 4 students can pass the basic math and English test for the material that the State requires them to teach. The teachers seem to think it would be easier to use your Parcel Tax proceeds to replace Federal Funding rather than actually teaching kids.

The teachers’ letter: http://hmbreview.com/articles/2006/03/29/news/editorial/story3.txt
My Response: http://hmbreview.com/articles/2006/04/05/news/letter_to_the_editor/story6.txt

The only reason not to prohibit moving the new intermediate school location again or specifying that they wouldn’t withdraw from Federal Funding is that the School Board Majority wants to do both after you foolishly vote for Measure S! And use your money to again supplement their political agendas: remember Wavecrest?

And it is always embarrassing running for reelection for a School Board while CUSD is once again declared a Failed NCLB school district and probably AGAIN the only one in the County and of the few in the State!

O’CONNELL RELEASES LIST OF 2005-06 PI SCHOOLS AND DISTRICTS;
CDE UPDATES 2005 ACCOUNTABILITY PROGRESS REPORTS
http://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr05/yr05rel112.asp
Go to the bottom of the State of California document – 1 of only 10 in the State!

The teachers at Cunha want the district to withdraw from Federal Funding because they know the Parcel Tax dollars can replace the Federal Funding AND they won’t be subject to a mandated PI “Corrective Action” and they, at least, can read the first suggested option: “Replaces school staff”!
NCLB Program Improvement School Requirements:
http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ti/nclbpireq.asp

A Parcel Tax without Accountability, clearly defined and restricted use of funds and school bussing is not just a waste of your and your neighbours’ funds – but is the precise opposite of No Child Left Behind.

I have offered an alternative. I invite your assistance in passing it in November; we can vote on a Measure that satisfies the needs of the children.

For me, intentionally leaving children behind in the dustbin of education IS evil.

On 6-6-6 please Vote No on Measure S! Say No to the School Board!

Ken Johnson

Let’s see, people with kids in schools away from the coastside don’t support S (nor do homeschoolers so far as I know).

The gist of the No on S folk’s message is that local teachers make more money than they used to, but the implication is they make too much for the job they’re said to be doing. The Nos complain that bussing’s not included, but then the tax would be larger, so more difficult to pass. The Nos call for nothing very controversial, just a complete overhaul of the system. If that was on the ballot with a realistic price tag, do you think these folks would vote to fund that? I’d bet they’d argue it was too expensive.

Our kids and teachers deserve the nominal support S affords now. Vote for S.

ken king

Hello All,

Well, it’s almost The Day. Probably everyone already has made up theirs minds by now, but in case there are some undecided:

* Read carefully the Ballot Arguments. One correction to the California State Education budget:  the proposal is *up* now by another $6 BILLION for this coming year.

* Read this whole string of arguments and counter arguments, and decide for yourself who is hand-waving and who is making a rational case for or against Measure S.

Regardless of the outcome, let’s all support our students!

Don

Just for the naysayers, I have another statistic for us to consider.

California median family income in 2004 is $58,327
while HMB median family income in 2004 is $104,559

I am using census data where state numbers are reported for 2004. I am using HMB median family income of 1999 and adjusting using CPI index of 1.134 : $92,204 x 1.134 = $104,559

on average HMB is generating 79% more than the average family income of California.

However, as far as generating revenue per child

Revenue per child in CUSD = $6,984
Revenue per child in the state = $7,658

which means that the statewide average is generating 9.7% more than what CUSD is earning.

The statewide avg dollars per student is 9.7% more than in CUSD even though we generate 79% more in family income than the state. This is a huge difference!


Vote Yes on S to show your support for our local schools.
Ray

Ray,
You partially answered one of your own questions for me: “the busing issue which has absolutely nothing to do with the objectives of measure S”. Or to re-phrase it: Measure S excludes bussing and children’s safety.

As to another of your questions: I am sorry, but I don’t have the time to teach or tutor math or statistics any longer, you will have to enroll in a few University courses.

“I really wonder what your underlying agenda might be.”
Mine is straightforward: see CUSD START teaching and caring for ALL of the wonderful children in their trust.

I do recognize that the California Department of Education documents I recommended requires a particular educational background:
It is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea.

But, you have problems with your own references:
in the ed.gov study you referenced:

“The findings of Project STAR [Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio] are limited to grades kindergarten through 3—no reasonable extrapolation beyond those grades can be made from these data.”

Maybe the word “extrapolation” is one of those “long words” you objected to in an earlier post!
I will simplify it:
Use a dictionary! Don’t reference documents that don’t support your personal opinions and myths – some one may actually have read them!

Ken Johnson

Ken, I agree that CUSD’s test results are disappointing.  But I don’t see how witholding needed funding is going to improve education on the coast.

The “accountability moment” for the CUSD Board comes in the fall.  I agree with Barry on this one—Yes on S now, then vote for accountability this fall.

I’d also like to remind the anti-S folks that the kids in school now are the ones who will be paying your Social Security and the bulk of the taxes during your retirement.  So whom would you rather have supporting you?  Highly-motivated & educated, well-rounded professionals, or dim-witted burger-flippers and Wal-Mart “associates”?

Bottom line:  You get what you pay for.

—Dan

It is Election Day:

A personal message to those voting No On Measure S:

Vote Early and Vote Often!
It IS for the children!

Ken Johnson - out

Dan,

You say:

“Bottom line:  You get what you pay for.”.

Ah, if only thet were true! again, international - and national - comparisons show that, while we are paying for Cadillac education, we are getting model-T results.

CUSD has vastly increased funding compared to the 90s. And what do we get for this, having paid for it?

“Cuts”.

As long as the district resists changing course and implementing neccessary reforms, with strong financial incentives for excellence and strong financial disincentives for mediocrity, sending it more money will make things worse, not better. Already “popular opinion” is that the reason things are so bad is becuase of a “shortage of money”. As long as the district continues along its present course, things will get worse - not better - as they have, since the mid-nineties. And won’t that then make an even stronger case, that “of course the problem is money”? We see this all the time with government funding: successful programs are left alone or even cut (ie, not rewarded for success), while failed programs get “emergency resources”, extra money, etc etc (ie, are rewarded for failure).

In the case of CUSD, a “Yes on S” is just this: a reward for mismanagement. That will invite more of the same - a terrrible disservice to our children.

Children deserve better than this. Vote NO os S!

 

“We have chosen to give our kids the best we can and for us that is providing them with a high quality education which is just not available here on the coast.”

“Do not fault me for wanting what is best for my children.”

You seem oddly defensive about your choice to send your children to private school.  I am at a loss, since I didn’t mention that fact in my response.  If I did, I would be hypocritical due to the fact that I AM TOO!  I am keeping them local, however.

Nevertheless, support for public schools is simply not an option for responsible members of the community.  Withholding support because buses weren’t included or because you aren’t happy with the ‘corrupt politicians’ or apparent ‘lack of accountability’ are all very short-sighted views, in my opinion.  Funding is obviously still a problem, despite the jumble of statistics and graphs presented.

Big picture - $0.50/day is all they are asking for.  Demanding accountability is absolutely reasonable and necessary.  That is for another day.

Thanks to Barry for the support and forum.  Ken King - thank you for your time and support.  Kevin Lansing and John Lynch - thank you for your endorsements.  I think/hope you folks may have tipped the balance this time to get this passed.

Ken,
First off. No one ever discussed children’s safety, so I have no idea why you just now mentioned it. Also how does student performance relate to busing? Please tell me.

You have just affirmed my arguments with your quote above. With regards to just the Project Star experiment they concluded this:

“This research leaves no doubt that small classes have an advantage over larger classes in student performance in the early primary grades.”

It does not state that small classes hurt the performance of the other grades. Rather, it states that their experiment didn’t come to a conclusion with the other grades.

Thus, my reference supports the position that I am arguing. There are many studies documented in my references above, all pointing to smaller class sizes improve student and teacher performance.

I never objected to the use of long words, I am merely stating that it appears to me the arguments you have provided are not clear and succinct. By reading them I get the feeling that they might be written to confuse the reader.

Ray

Comment 54
Tue, June 6, 2006 10:40am
Brian
All my comments

All of the arguments back and forth do confuse the reader.

I do find Measure S laudable in its general goals but greatly flawed in that it is:

1) not specific enough in exactly how the money will be spent,

2) not *nearly* specific enough how CUSD will be held to account for the expenditure of the money,

3) lacking in justification in light of recently restored state funds,

4) no progressive provisions for linking performance with compensation and funding levels,

5) no provision for busing—which while not a direct benefit to the education of our children, would directly benefit our community with its infrastructure crises. Helping parents keep their jobs helps their children.

6) unfair in the provision of an exemption for seniors,

7) not nearly enough public review—which perhaps could have avoided many of the problems above.

Despite all this, I finally voted for the measure. If the measure fails today, I won’t be surprised and will lay that failure completely at the feet of CUSD in making it so difficult to support. If I, a parent with two children in the district, find it hard to support this measure - think how others with no children are going to feel.

And if the measure does pass, this voter will definitely be watching the CUSD board to see that they remain true to the spirit of the measure. My eye will particularly be on those up for reeelection in November. CUSD please don’t let us down - voting for this was definitely a leap of faith for this voter.

Brian Dantes
El Granada