A Parent's Review of March 10th Board Meeting

My thoughts:
There were two passionate speeches from the union presidents, Judy Peterson (CSEA) and Trina Brown (BTA), putting a human face on the results of the budget cuts. Instructional aide Debra Ropelle pleaded with the board to consider the hardships of those that will be unemployed as a result of the cuts and high school math teacher Adam May presented to the board his alternative budget cutting package, Package C, more on package C later.

Board members Dr. Vaccarello and Mrs. Lara displayed some of the emotion they are experiencing dealing with the difficult decisions they have to make as a result of the state budget cuts to education. Mrs. Lara expressed her disappointment with the finger-pointing she witnessed about which positions should be cut and which should be spared. Last month, I told the board at the public forum that we needed to see leadership. The remarks Dr Vaccarello and Mrs. Lara made tonight, were the type of comments, that if delivered in front of the community last month, would have demonstrated the leadership the community needs. I wish their colleague; Mr. Sanchez could have followed their lead, more on that later.

There were some uplifting moments as well. The board recognized the District Science Fair winners and in honor of Adult Education Week, several students were recognized for their success in different areas of adult education. The highlight was the standing ovation one student received for passing his citizenship exam.

The board authorized the administration to enter into an agreement to build the dugouts at Beaumont High School. The low bid was $78,960. It was interesting to see how concerned Mr. Greenwood and Mr. Orozco were about the costs. However, when they asked questions of the cabinet about lower cost alternatives, the response indicated the administration wasn't too concerned about costs since the money comes from developer fees which are abundant and won't lower the budget for staff. I was encouraged to see the concerns about keeping costs down regardless of how much surplus there is in a particular fund. If our elected officials at the state and district levels had been managing all their accounts this closely during the good times, these hard times might be a little easier to manage. I hope the administration will follow the lead.

Now about Package C and Mr. Sanchez.... I spoke to Mr. May before the meeting and he showed me his alternative plan, I didn't have time to really look at it but I have made arrangements to get it posted to OurFocusOurKids.com later this week, look for it by the weekend. It was refreshing to see the passion in one of our young teachers and the determination to not accept the district/board plan and look outside the box for other solutions. I can't comment about the validity of the plan since I haven't looked at it in detail but the effort and intent behind it should be, at the very least, applauded; in fact it was. However, in Mr. Sanchez's closing comments it appears he didn't seem to take it very seriously. It was an opportunity for him to show off his witty humor. I'm sure Mr. Sanchez knows more about school district fund accounting than most parents and teachers and he did have several days to review Mr. May's proposal. In his "expert" opinion it may not be a viable alternative but to suggest that the teacher's union send Mr. May to a CTA summer training course, he wasn't displaying the kind of leadership for which our community is searching and the leadership his fellow board members displayed tonight. And to deliver this line after Mr. May had left to get a few laughs, makes it that much more disappointing.