What We Are Being Told
We've heard from our school board that they plan to move forward with the $12 million sports complex because that is what the voters wanted when we passed Measure Z. We have been told by the administration that Measure Z funds can't be spent on the district's new headquarters. They are determined to use all the proceeds from the sale of district surplus property to build a new office building. Even though legislation originally passed on behalf of our school district by our state assembly rep, Russ Bogh, allows the funds from the sale of district surplus property to be added to the general fund for one-time expenses, the board and the administration refuse to consider an option that would put our kids first by reducing class sizes back to pre-budget cut levels and bringing adequate technology to every classroom in Beaumont.
Russ Bogh Wants to Represent Beaumont in the State Senate
Russ Bogh, a Republican, is now running for the State Senate. I think before we elect Mr. Bogh, I'd like to know why he sponsored the change in the education code and I'd like to hear his position on the use of surplus funds. I'd also like to know if he agrees with our School Board President, David Sanchez, that technology in our schools is a convenience and only needs to be available to career technical classes. I invite Mr. Bogh to respond to my comments.
The Survey Says?
In the last board meeting the board of trustees spoke about a survey taken before the November 2008 election and suggested it might be worth taking another look at it to see what voters were really thinking when they passed Measure Z. Don't hold your breath in ever seeing the survey. However, it doesn't really matter what the survey says, what matters is what the voters actually passed.
What Does Measure Z Actually Say?
I took another look at the text of Measure Z and I think all Beaumont parents should look at it for themselves. Here is a link to a summary and the full text of the measure on a website sponsored by the League of Women Voters Education Fund.
I was unable to find any reference in the text of the measure to any sports complex and certainly no mention of a $12 million dollar complex.
I did read;
"The District must reduce class size by repairing existing classrooms and building new classrooms with the goal of keeping class size under 20 students per teacher K-3"
and I also read;
"Retaining and attracting the best teachers is one of the District's top priorities. To do so effectively, the District must provide teachers with adequate classrooms and access to modern learning technology"
Here are the only references to anything close to a new sports complex I could find in the text:
"Upgrade and improve physical education facilities."
"Inspect and improve play area fields for safety and drainage."
"Upgrade site playground equipment replacement to meet current safety standards."
Don't Worry, We Have An Oversight Committee
A very creative imagination could stretch the previous three quotes into new sports fields but I don't see how any legitimate oversight committee could interpret that the will of the voters was to increase their property taxes for a $12 million sports complex. I think it would be much easier to justify the use of Measure Z funds to build a new district office and use the proceeds from district's surplus property sales to free up funds that could go to reduce class sizes and provide the technology our teachers are asking for and our schools need.
I will probably be accused of taking the above quotes out of context which is why I think everyone needs to take a look at the text of Measure Z and judge for themselves. Below is a complete list of "...certain of the projects to be completed..."
School Health and Safety, and Energy Efficiency School Projects
Goal and Purpose: To ensure that students are safe and the learning process is not interrupted by gangs and drugs or juvenile crime, a variety of health and safety projects will be undertaken at the school sites, such as:
- Upgrade fire alarm system to automatic systems, repair fire safetyequipment, add sprinklers and fire safety doors.
- Inspect for and repair any gas pipe leaks.
- Install/replace/upgrade security fencing.
- Install energy effIcient systems to increase the cost effectiveness of local schools.
- Upgrade and improve physical education facilities.
- Install new security systems, such as security (surveillance) cameras, outdoor lighting, fencing, gates and classroom door locks for increased student safety and security.
- Upgrade emergency communication systems to meet current safety and instructional standards.
- Upgrade site playground equipment replacement to meet current safety standards.
- Relocate or improve student drop-off areas for safety, including a separate area for buses.
- Inspect and improve play area fields for safety and drainage.
- Provide shade structures, so students have protection during intense heat or frequent windstorms.
Classroom Improvements to Enhance Job Training
Goal and Purpose: To increase opportunities for career training and technical and job training, as well as to establish after school programs that keep students off the street and out of trouble:
- Upgrade technology and equipment used in job training programs.
- Expand space for job and vocational training for high school students that will increase vocational and job training in local high schools helping students get good paying jobs and keeping our local economy strong.
- Replace portable classrooms and add permanent classrooms, including Career technology (Voc Ed) classrooms.
District-Wide Wiring and Instructional Technology
For Effective Learning Environment Projects
Goal and Purpose: To help attract and retain excellent teachers, to improve current instruction methods and to expand job training programs by applying modern technology infrastructure:
- Provide and maintain upgraded technology, data and communication equipment.
- Upgrade and expand wireless systems, telecommunications, internet and network connections.
- Upgrade and replace computers, hardware and software systems.
- Upgrade and replace classroom equipment, computer technology and instructional aids.
School Renovation, Repair and Upgrade Projects
Goal and Purpose: To allow all students to have the resources they need to learn and excel, projects for the renovation, repair and upgrade of older school buildings, science labs, classrooms, computer learning centers and school libraries and equipment will be undertaken, such as:
- Repair, upgrade, and replace worn-out leaking roofs.
- Replace existing wiring systems to meet current electrical and accessibility codes and increased capacity.
- Additional electrical service capacity to relieve currently overloaded electrical systems.
- Upgrade aging and deteriorating school restrooms.
- Replace older heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lighting systems with building code and ADA compliant, energy efficient systems.
- Provide improved, upgraded computer labs.
- Renovate/upgrade classroom interiors with new paint, carpet/vinyl tile/asbestos abatement and instructional materials and equipment.
- Replace old, portable classrooms with up-to-date permanent classrooms.
- Repair aging schools to meet current safety and instructional standards.
New Construction Education Enhancement/Class Size Reduction Projects
Goal and Purpose: To reduce the severe and unsafe overcrowding at neighborhood schools and to reduce the risk of violence and injury in the event of emergency evacuation, additional school sites and facilities will be needed, such as:
- Purchase additional acres for Chavez Elementary to comply with California Department of Education requirements for site size for a permanent elementary school.
- Acquire, construct and equip one or more additional school sites.