As expected, last night, the Beaumont Unified School Board approved the agreements with the two unions ; authorized the amendment of the administrator contracts; and reduced their own compensation by 10%. All this will result in everyone taking 14 furlough days over the next two years. It will also reduced the number of instructional days for each school year by 5 and increase class sizes. Most classes in the district will have between 31-36 students, class size reduction is now, officially, a thing of the past in Beaumont.
We still don't know where the knife is going to fall next. Who will be responsible for transportation next year, the school district or the city? What other programs and services will be eliminated? We don't know. This board decided some time ago to exclude parents and the community in the budget cutting process. Unlike 3 years ago, they are expecting us to accept any sacrifice they deem necessary with no input from us. I feel they are saying to us "Shut up and take your medicine."
Why are they doing this? Because they can. Either parents don't care about what's happening or have given up trying to get involved. The administration and the collective will of the board has done their best to discourage parents who try to get involved. I told the board last night they should be ashamed of their behavior. They were elected by us to represent us, not replace us. However, parents and other community members are also to blame. We elect our board and then we leave them alone and trust them to do what's in our kids best interest. This means the only stakeholders in our district the board members are listening to, are the loudest ones, the employee unions and the administration. In their effort to keep these groups satisfied, they forget who are their true constituents. It would be easy for me to take the attitude that parents that are not making the effort to get involved, get what they deserve. The problem is, our kids deserve better.
The school district is a microcosm of our State and Federal governments. We pay attention every two or four years when we elect our State and Federal representatives and then we leave them on their own. They too are listening to the loudest stakeholders, not their constituents. They too are destroying our kids' future. We are leaving our kids with a mountain of debt they will never be able to pay off. Now we are short changing them on their education. They won't be prepared for the few jobs that might be available. Many of us have given up on our state and federal governments because there are too many voters, especially in California, dependent on the government and they aren't willing to stand up and take back their kids' futures.
I believe it is still possible to make a difference in Beaumont. We have to, our kids are depending on us.