Our stories on San Diego Unified School District’s financial problems and their attempts to find solutions continue to provoke discussions. Last month, a top school district official warned that midyear budget cuts “could be the starting point on the road to insolvency and state takeover.”
(What to read to catch up quick on what’s happened since: Trustee Scott Barnett’s proposed a plan including a pay cut and a parcel tax, the school board’s floated an idea for a new bond measure, and our Scott Lewis’ written two columns on what he calls “the dissolving school district.”)
Here are 10 of your comments from the discussions:
Americans are, by nature, crises oriented: We simply refuse to acknowledge a problem absent an absolute disaster.
This has been coming for decades — bad management, misplaced priorities, diminishing academic scores…but citizens continue to vote for people with no experience in managing a successful two-car parade, and who could not balance their own checkbook much less a multimillion dollar, multi-line budget.
All injuries are self-inflicted.
I would suggest that the district cut their losses and let Sacramento take over. The taxpayers are not going to allow another parcel tax. Yes, this is a desperate situation, but there’s no more money, period. If I still lived in the city limits, I would vote against it. As I do for all school bond issues.
I am in East county and the Grossmont district and their bond issues (which I voted against) have cost me a small fortune in taxes and there’s still no new high school that was part of that “promised” deal. My daughter’s private school tuition is less than my taxes and she’s receiving a better education in the private sector.
I am a teacher and I feel that at a minimum we should forgo the upcoming pay increases. Right there that saves one third of the projected deficit. I think teachers could handle another 3-5% cut. I know that’s not popular among teachers – who wants to take a pay cut – but these are difficult times.
• Jill Heller:
I do believe teachers are underpaid for the job they do….but they have jobs, along with costly benefits when many do not. As compensation is the largest part of the budget, that means pay cuts…although I believe that they should be structured to hit those making in excess of 90K the hardest. There are probably hundreds of unemployed folks in the private sector who’d happily take any jobs that are vacated.
So, if I am to understand correctly, the Board did not have the guts to make the difficult decision to close schools; a difficult but necessary decision in these difficult economic times. Yet, they think the public is going to support not 1 but 2 tax increases? They think the public trusts them to use the money wisely? I am floored by all of this. As a district employee, I am insulted.
• Mark Giffin:
There seems to be a sub debate developing just like in the city.
Just what should the general fund(budget) cover?
Appears to this reader the city and the schools are positioning their argument that general fund monies should be exclusively for wages and benefits and everything else should be “extra” like “free” trash and routine maintenance.
You know. Like things that have always been covered under the general fund but are now in trouble because they chose to give away the store for increased wages and benefits.
• Jim Dodd:
My wife and I came to the realization that San Diego politicians are not capable of operating outside the direction of their campaign contributors, so we moved out of the city last year. Watching San Diego Unified and the City is less costly to us directly, so we can take an interested stance vice a desperate one.
Is there any possibility that in an era of post-baby boom economic hardship that there is simply an unwillingness of older San Diegans without kids to pay for quality education in SDUSD? Public education isn’t about the kids, it’s about the society. SDUSD has a hard time making that argument, or at least they seem to.
If we don’t all buy into public education, we might as well abolish the entire idea.
Any new taxes would be quickly devoured by the Union in ever more luxurious retirement programs, salaries and benefits.
Like the heroin addict who providing more drugs only extends the problem. The schools drug of choice is money. More money won’t make them operate better. It won’t make them fire bad teachers. It won’t make them abandon the part time school day they enjoy. It won’t make them discard agrarian based school calendar. It won’t make them move to merit pay.
The situation is hopeless. I for one am cheering on insolvency. I don’t see how new management could make the situation any worse.
A healthy market allows private sector companies to fail. Our children, on the other hand, should not be treated like money-making (or money-losing) instruments. If banks can be too big to fail, the same should be said of the responsibility of educating kids.
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Dagny Salas is the web editor at voiceofsandiego.org. You can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.550.5669.
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