I am disgusted with our school district. Please, please help our kids

I am thoroughly disgusted with our school district.

Please don’t blame our kids.

I was at the school board meeting last night. I am angry. I am embarrassed. I am ashamed.

Please don’t punish our kids.

Stop playing the blame game.

Help our kids today by passing Measure V and help change the system tomorrow.

A month of assaults at Highlands Elementary

Last night, a group of parents from Highland school told the school board about a third grader who has repeatedly assaulted other kids in school since last year and it has continued into the first month of school this year (NOTE: I may have a lot of this wrong). Stabbing kids with pencils. Throwing staplers at kids’ faces. Attempted suffocation with a pillow.

!!!!!

At the same time, these parents, three of whom I talked with at some length, whose children had been physically assaulted, were as concerned about the child who was doing the assaulting. They were concerned that he was getting a “pseudo suspension” (instead of actually sending a child home under a formal suspension which would force action by the school district, he is being kept in an office and doodling all day).  They were concerned that he was not getting adequate support from the school and school district – a behavioral “sticker board” was apparently suggested…

I don’t know what is actually going on, but what I do know is that things are a serious mess.

Things did not get better.

Special education in collapse at Laurel

Five parents, each in turn, from a Laurel Elementary Special Day Class talked about gross overcrowding. Staff shortages. More violence and bullying. Kids regressing.

Again, I’m not sure exactly what is going on, but here is another serious mess.

Things did not get better.

Pre-school special education and potty problems

A teacher from George Hall told the school board and district staff about having to spend a major part of her day changing diapers because the contract staff that the district hired don’t “change diapers”… and these staff get paid much more than our district employees.

More money.

Less work.

More work for our permanent employees.

Less education.

Much less the special education classrooms with children who need help going to the potty, but have to cross their campus to go or get changed…. an ongoing problem because special education students are treated as tenants and a burden, not part of the school or school community.

Things did not get better when I looked at my kids’ education.

Tracing letters and no PTA support

My second grader is unhappy with school. She is bored. She doesn’t want to do “baby math” (8+4 was on a worksheet). She doesn’t like tracing letters (hopefully, we’ll get done with the alphabet soon).

… and I was told by a teacher from another school that my son’s special education doesn’t get money from their local PTA like all of the general education classes do.

Not huge problems like at Hlghlands or Laurel.

And the board meeting didn’t get better. Just longer.

Dodging the bullet on budget cuts

(I missed  most of this while talking to the parents from Highlands and Laurel) Then, there was an extended presentation on … auditing and finance bureaucracy. At some level, it was important. It probably could have been handled by a short report (I’m not sure why our school board only uses PowerPoint instead of Word or Excel) and some questions…

… if you go to public meetings, there are long dull stretches.

That wasn’t what made me mad.

… after much dancing around, the main questions our board seemed to focus on were

“what budget cuts will make you (the accountants) happy?”

It was a real cop out.

No leadership.

Begging for our auditors to tell them what to cut.

(I, of course, have my opinion on how to cut the budget).

If Measure V fails, the school board will have to make $5 million in budget cuts next year. Shortly after that, those cuts will have to shrink the budget by $7 million a year.

Blaming the adults. Punishing our kids.

I’ve written eight or nine articles so far supporting Measure V. I’ve shared them on Facebook and Nextdoor.

There is a lot of support.

There is also a lot of blame.

Blame the district. Blame the administrators. Blame the school board. Blame the teachers’ pensions. Blame the Democrats. Blame the Republicans. Blame our taxes. Blame poor performance. Blame city hall. Blame Sacramento.

There is one group that I am pretty sure no one is blaming.

Our 12,000 kids in our district.

Our kids. Our neighbors kids. Our community’s future.

“I support public schools, but….”

“I support public schools but…”

… you know what is coming next.

I’m sending my kid to private school (I certainly understand).

I need that ($290 for this parcel tax) per year to pay for it.

(Out of $20,000 to $40,000  tuition – really?).

Sorry, believing in Public Schools only when they are working well for your kids is like believing in marriage until that hot, rich stud comes along…

“I’m sending a message”

N      O      P     E

There are exactly two groups that are going to get “your message”.

Our 12,000 kids who are going to be getting a $7 million dollar, $580 per student, 5.7 percent per year cut to their already crappy level of funding in our fine state (Fifth largest economy in the world – yay!) that funds our schools at nearly the lowest level in the country.

And the 50 to 70 junior staff and teachers getting laid off who are the future leadership and lifeblood of our school district.

Do you know who won’t be suffering (really)?

The fat cats in Sacramento. City Hall. The Democrats. The Republicans. The school board. The administrators. The (senior) teachers. The tax system. The poor performance of our schools.

Well, you ARE sending a message.

  • You don’t care about public education.
  • You don’t care about your 12,000 kids and neighbors and fellow community members.

It is YOUR choice.

I choose to work to make things better.

I want a much better public education system for all of our kids.

I’m voting for Measure V not because I am happy with our schools or the way things are.

I’m fighting for Measure V because it is the best first step to making our education system better.

Join us.

 

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