Last night the board approved the resolution supporting the week of call to action proposed by the California Teachers Association. The superintendent assured us that no political notices will be sent home by the district.
All the proposed systems were approved, $113,000, Cha-Ching! The administration made fairly compelling arguments why each sysytem was needed. The board asked fairly detailed questions about costs and how much the updated or new programs would increase the district's cost. What I'd like to see them ask is how can we reduce the district's cost and what would happen if we waited a year or two to update these systems.
The administration likes to use the argument that moneys are separated into separate categorical accounts which are designated for specific uses. Since these funds can't be used for general fund pruposes, we should spend them somewhere else. For example, the money to purchase the demographic analysis system comes from developer money and the money to purchase the $63,000 Child Nutrition Data Management System comes from the district's "Cafeteria Profits". Even though the Nutrional Data Management system is paid for out of Cafeteria profits, I don't believe it means the cafeteria profits can't be used to cover costs eleswhere. I could be mistaken.
They argue that since the general fund is not "touched" then this is really not a budget issue. This makes it easier for the board to approve the large expenditures. This categorical fund system is designed and managed by our state legislature and the department of education. The same folks who have helped to create the the budget problems we have today.
Last night Mr. Orozco argued that California is ranked 47th in per student expenditures and this justifies the increased taxes. He didn't point out that California is one of the few states that require by law that a percentage of the state's budget must be spent on education, I think it is currently 39%. This works for our public school administrators and public employee unions as long as revenues are increasing but when the state revenues decrease, this means 39% of the budget shortfall should come from public schools. Something not acceptable by the public school culture.
I'd like to hear Mr. Orozco explain why the per student spending in this state has dramatically increased over the last 20-30 years but the student performance has dropped significantly compared to other states. It has been proven to me that throwing more money at the public schools is not the solution.