Today as I darkened the bubbles on my mail-in ballot, I again realized – there are four school funding measures on this ballot.
- State proposition 51 promises $9 billion ($17.6 billion with interest) for K-12 and California Community Colleges for “new construction and modernization” of facilities.
- State proposition 55 extends for 12 more years the “temporary” personal income tax increases enacted in 2012 with Prop 30
- local measure J asks $190 million for Butte-Glenn Community College District for “upgrading aging classrooms/technology, removing asbestos/unsafe gas lines…” They mention programs for veterans.
- local measure K asks $152 million for Chico Unified School District, citing leaky roofs, rotten plumbing and electrical, and the need to construct and modernize classrooms, with a mention of disabled students’ access
The first thing I notice is the repeated claims that our schools are crumbling to the ground, and now we see, Chico schools have not achieved compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, passed in 1990. They keep coming back every four years with the same claims – when, oh when, will they actually fix the schools?
Just recently I posted this story from cal watchdog:
While Chico Unified does not mention “overcrowding” in the ballot measure, claims of “preventing overcrowding” are made throughout their arguments in favor of measure K, including the flier that went out last week. But cal watchdog looked at the budget reports for the last four or five years and only one year did enrollment go up instead of down, for whatever unexplained reason. As of 2015, Kevin Bultema was back to telling the board that declining enrollment was causing a serious revenue drain for the district.
Four different tax measures making essentially the same claims, asking BILLIONS in new taxes. And here we have Butte-Glenn and Chico Unified asking for their own measures concurrent with state measures from which they will also benefit.
Pardon me, but your slops are showing folks.
Here, Legislative Chair of the Cal Retired Teachers Association Rick Light tells us how bad it will be for us here in Chico if we don’t pass Proposition 55, without one mention of Measure K. He also talks about a decrease in per-student funding without mentioning that Chico Unified is losing students every year.
From Chico Enterprise Record:
I respectfully disagree with your editorial endorsement to not fund Proposition 55.
I contacted Kevin Bultema, assistant superintendent of business services for Chico Unified School District, to see his estimate of the loss per student (average daily attendance, or ADA) if Proposition 55 did not pass. His calculations means there could be a loss of $1,330 per ADA. They have approximately 13, 817 students. If they have a 90 percent attendance rate that would be on the lean side of 12,000 ADA. That number times the estimated $1,330 loss would total a whopping $15,960,000 loss.
Since at least 90 percent of a school district’s budget is personnel costs ( being a service industry) there will be a tremendous cut in not only teachers but supporting staff as well. That is $15 million the community businesses will not see. That means classroom size will increase to an unhealthy (educationally speaking) number per certificated teacher.
As to the health funds, many less economically fortunate parents cannot purchase all the needed health care their families require. This produces lost school experiences for our children due to preventable illness.
Are we also losing our sense of humanitarian responsibility? I urge you to reconsider and vote yes on Proposition 55.
— Rick Light, Chico
Here’s who is really pushing these funding measures:
“Your partners in pension protection.”
Yes, they must protect the pensions. A year ago, Rick Light reported to his fellow CalRTA members,
“Governor Brown’s budget now includes in the proposal $1.6 billion in State General Fund money for the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS). This represents the full state contribution to both the Teachers Retirement Fund and the Supplemental Maintenance Benefit Account.”
He continues, “Please show our gratitude for his effort by writing a simple note to the governor…” He ends his column in the newsletter with a warning of “legislation introduced to radically change pensions in California.” I’m guessing he was talking about San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s pension reform proposal, which has since been struck down by Kamala Harris, pensioneer.
This is the machine we’re up against. These are the school yard bullies who demand your lunch money, your kids’ lunch money, your grandkids’ lunch money…