School districts licking their chops over four revenue measures – it’s a lose-lose-lose-lose situation for the taxpayers and win-win-win-win for the unions

18 Oct

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…

Claims of overcrowding in Chico schools blown out of the water by calwatchdog report

16 Oct

One of the claims Chico Unified School District is making in seeking approval of $152 million Measure K is that they want to prevent overcrowding. It shocks me they’d make this claim when finance director Kevin Bultema has warned the board again and again the district is losing students.  That’s a bummer for them because each kid represents a little over $11,000/year in funding.  Bultema has been crying about declining enrollment for years now, reporting almost 2,000 students lost over the last 10 years, and predicting another 135 to 185 lost over the next two years. 

But here’s this “Yes on Measure K” mailer staring me in the face, telling me the district needs to prevent overcrowding.  You know, they think they can say anything, and we’ll buy it. They know better than anybody how poorly educated we are, they don’t think we can read a budget report. I wonder how surprised they were when a group of investigative journalists from Sacramento came up with this:

Isn’t that a nice distinction to bring to our little town?

It’s obvious Kevin Bultema, anxious to keep funding rolling in to pay his $130,000-plus salary and $25,000-plus benefits package, will say anything to get the voters to swallow this lump of horse puckey. 

Please, Vote NO on Measure K.

Why are we allowing Chico Unified employees to feather their own nests while facilities “are sub par”?

12 Oct

A reader responded to an old post about Measure K – read her thoughts and my response here:

Why has the district allowed these facilities to deteriorate while district employees pay 10 percent or less of their pension and benefits costs? According to district finance director Kevin Bultema, 

“The employee contribution rates are as follows:

State Teachers Retirement System (STRS)            10.25% – 2% @ 60 years / 9.2% – 2% @ 62 years

Public Employees Retirement System (PERS)      7% for employees hired before 2013 / 6% for employees hired after 2013.”

Furthermore, “Administrators with a teaching credential usually participates in STRS and administrators without a teaching credential usually participates in PERS at the same rates.”

So, CUSD superintendent Kelly Staley pays 10 percent or less out of her $175,000 salary toward 70 percent of her highest year’s salary at age 60 – 62. Her package costs the district $25,000 beyond that $175,000 salary. Her total compensation amounts to five times the average family income for our city, but she stands up there and whines about rotten roofs and peeling paint. 

 I think the administration should be taken to court for embezzling funds to feather their own nests while allowing our kids to sit in this disgusting state of disgrace. 

Butte County League of Women Voters candidates forum worth a listen

11 Oct

Two years ago I tried to host a speaking series for candidates in the 2014 election and wow, what a pain in the ass that was! So I can really appreciate the amount of work the League of Women Voters has done to host their candidates forum series. 

Here’s the link to their website –

and here’s their forum schedule – they will host candidates for Chico City Council on October 20

If you haven’t been able to make these, you can find videos on youtube.  Here’s the video from the October 6 forum with candidates for assembly District 3, Chico Area Recreation District, and US representative District 1.


The race here that interests me the most is for two seats on the CARD board.  Tom Lando and Michael Worley were appointed four years ago because nobody else ran for their seats. Now they face ex-CARD director and former board member Jerry Hughes and local perpetual candidate Dave Donnan. I will give it a good listen, this race is more important  than most people realize.

Not that I don’t care about Assembly District 3 or US District 1, but I’m guessing those races are pretty moot. I will listen to what these people have to say, it’s just good to know where your elected leaders stand on various issues, at least for the moment. 

Thanks for asking me about this Kurt, it’s a great resource the LWV is providing and I’m glad to help them spread the word.

Follow the money on Measure K – 86 percent of the budget goes to salaries and benefits – no wonder roofs are rotten and paint is peeling

10 Oct

Yes, there is opposition to the school bond

7 Oct

I made a new blog!

I’m trying to learn how to oppose tax measures, and more about blogging in general.  We’ll see how this goes.

Yeah, I feel like Roy Scheider with a bucket of chum, but we’ll see what we get.

Malls are turning into crime zones

6 Oct
Mangrove Plaza

My husband  and I spotted this big ugly tag from the parking lot in front of Bubbles laundromat at Mangrove Plaza.

I think the biggest problem facing Chico right now is increasing criminal activity all over town. I won’t use the word “homeless” – that is not  the right word for the transient street people that are ruining our town.

One reason this problem has festered into such a mess is the agencies that get funding for feeding, housing, and otherwise facilitating these people. They blame mental illness, bad luck, tough breaks – things that every human being has to deal with in life, regardless of station. One difference being, how we all cope. Do you cope by shitting all over the rest of our parade?

Another difference being, how we are treated. It seems the more responsibility a person shows in life, the less slack they are given when they have a little mental breakdown, bad luck, tough breaks. The suits come after your money, your car, your home, your kids.  But today I read about a consultant who will be speaking before “homeless advocates” next week who says we should spend $30 – 50,000 per person on no-strings-attached housing for transients.  You have to be a total loser to get compassion from the homeless advocates.

According to Butte County administrative officer Paul Hahn, we already spend half the county budget on mentally ill and homeless individuals. I’ve sat in meetings listening to members of county Behavioral Health staff talk about adding “bed” (a space in a shelter facility) after bed to the county’s various facilities, 10’s of thousands of dollars per individual. That’s not to mention the salaries and benefits at Butte County Behavioral Health.

Wow, I was shocked this time, looking at the new information recently posted by the State Controller’s office. Can that be true? An administrative salary of $298,000? $54,000 in benefits? That’s – excuse me, I’m not a professional – fucking nuts!

So, get my point? A person who is yanking in that kind of dough to sit in meetings discussing the homeless problem

would want to keep the conversation going as long as possible. By their own admission they enjoy a budget of over $57 million.

Chico Police Department and Chico Chamber of Commerce also masturbate away a considerable amount of time and paid energy toward the homeless. Regular public meetings held in different parts of town have been worthless. The last time I had a complaint about an incident I witnessed at Bubbles Laundromat there on Mangrove, Katie Simmons simply told me she’s meeting with those business owners on a regular basis. But the problem not only persists at Mangrove Plaza, it’s getting worse – should I send Simmons, who is paid with money received from the city of Chico “Community Block Grants”, a copy of the photo posted above? 

Tuesday I realized there are certain businesses that continue to be part of the problem. Mangrove Plaza merchants could do a lot more to help themselves. Like, how about cleaning up the sidewalks in front of your store Folks? Tuesday afternoon, my husband and I strolled by one pile of dog shit after another, stuck to the sidewalk in front of businesses like Sports LTD and Heel and Sole Shoes. You really have to watch your step on that sidewalk, all the way around toward Safeway, or you will get shit on your shoes.  And the general appearance of the sidewalk looks like Downtown San Francisco – looks like it’s never had  a broom to it. It gets worse as you wind your way toward the sandwich shop, Bubbles Laundromat, and then Rite Aid. The filth continues right into Rite Aid, where the smell of human excrement will take you a step back.  Not even the perfume and cigarettes stench of the dry cleaners covers up the scent of human filth that is starting to pervade that section of Mangrove Plaza.

The public sector is not going to do anything about this problem.  It’s time for property owners and citizens to step up.  I think we need an ordinance that says malls like Mangrove Plaza need to hire their own, on-site security patrol. I don’t believe the police department should have to patrol private property.  When you have a piece of real estate where no one is going to be at night, you are inviting creeps to do whatever they want. It is a crime zone, and it will get worse.

I know the management at Safeway cares. I feel for the employees at Safeway – they have to park in that parking lot at all hours. We don’t go to Safeway after dark if we can help it and neither do our adult children. Remember when Mangrove Safeway was considered “The Nice Safeway”?   One afternoon  we ran into a friend of ours at the check out, and we were discussing some ne’er do wells at the south entrance. They’d tried to start something with our friend when he didn’t respond to their request for a hand-out – he’s a big man, he’s used to people making remarks. He’s always telling us what a trial it is to live in his Chapmantown neighborhood with them walking right past his gate, sometimes tossing cigarettes into his grandson’s play yard.   He says he’d like to rip their arms off, but he knows he’d get the shit end of that stick from the cops, so he holds his temper.  The manager happened to overhear our conversation, and asked our friend about his encounter,  then went immediately out the front door and confronted the creeps, telling them they had to leave. 

Safeway Corporation doesn’t care, they don’t have to work there. Same with the owners of the malls at the south end of town, where the cardboard signs and shopping carts are stored in the bushes along the road. 

Chico PD should be patrolling Bidwell Park, but that’s another post.