Dear Mr. Sanchez, Mr. Greenwood, Dr. Vaccarello, Mr. Orozco and Mrs. Lara,
Over the last couple months I have questioned the direction you are taking our schools. I have been critical of your plans to spend the Measure Z funds. I've questioned your decision to spend a large portion of the first installment of the bond proceeds on the high school's football stadium. Please understand I am not against the district investing in building a stadium, I think Beaumont High School desperately needs a new stadium and it should be constructed with a focus on the future. I want you to understand my concerns are based on the fact that I have a 4 year old son and a 7 year old daughter and what I've seen happening in the district over the last two years makes me wonder if you are taking our schools in the right direction.
In our schools...
I've seen state budget cuts result in busing for secondary schools eliminated and busing for elementary schools threatened. I've watched kindergarten and third grade classes grow by 50%; this will directly affect both my kids next year. I've heard the threat of kindergarten being eliminated all together. I've seen the stacks of computers in Brookside's computer lab that are out of commission. I've experienced the dangerous traffic situations at our elementary schools drop off areas. I've heard from our teachers how their classroom supplies have been drastically reduced and how our teachers and principals are spending more of their own money purchasing the supplies our kids need.
From the district I've heard...
How solid our financial standing is and how we are much better off than other districts.
I've seen millions of dollars spent on training that many of our teachers don't feel is necessary. One would think our college educated teachers, many who have graduate degrees, could go a year or two without this expensive training. I wonder if Action Learning Systems has had to make any budget cuts.
I watch the district continue to spend tens of thousands of dollars purchasing technology through inflated state contracts, $1,500 for a Dell system that sells for $750 on Dell's own site. The district tells us this premium price is paid for training and maintenance. Not sure why the premium maintenance contract still results in stacks of out of work computers.
I see my requests for the district to work with parents to develop a legally required Parent Involvement Policy fall on deaf ears. There have been some good parent academy classes but I don't understand why the administration is afraid to sit down with parents and plan ways to increase parent involvement.
I've watched you refuse to open the high school's pool up to the benefit of all the citizens of Beaumont, not just high school students. Public use was one of the selling points that brought in city funds to build the pool. During the summer when temperatures reach 105+ degrees we drive by an empty state-of-the-art swimming pool. Now I am watching 60% of the Measure Z funds going to build a state-of-the-art stadium that supporters are also promising will benefit the entire community.
I watched you refuse to install defibrillators in our schools because of your fear of a lawsuit. I wonder what makes you think by doing nothing the district would be protected from being sued by the family of a student or staff member that could have been saved. I hope you get the mandate from the state you think you need to install these life saving machines before something tragic happens.
I think you are making small steps in the right direction. In the last two board meetings you have started openly discussing the issues that are important to parents. They have been marathon sessions but being able to see and hear how you come to your decisions has been very valuable. I wish more parents could see what's going on.
You have listened to parents and teachers and, against the wishes of our superintendent of business, directed the administration to alter the scope and plans of the Measure Z technology investment. I hope you will be able to find the additional funds you need (3% of the proceeds of the first bond sale) to bring technology to all our classrooms this year.
While you are making plans to see your first football game in our new 5,000 seat stadium, please don't forget about all of our kids. I hope my two, Caitlin and Riley, are able to get the education they need to be able to make it to graduation on the synthetic turf of the $12,000,000 stadium.