Overview: State of the Schools Meeting
Post date: Oct 6, 2012 6:03:06 PM
Here is an outline of the “State of the Schools” meeting held by the PTO Thursday, October 4. The goal of the meeting was to make sure parents are informed about the past, current, and future state of education in California, Ventura, and here at Mound.
Mr. Tyner spoke about Mound’s past and present:
- In the late 70s, Prop 13 limited increase of property taxes to a small percentage each year. Education funding comes primarily from property taxes, so when property values are high, education funding is good. When property values drop, so does the funding.
- In the late 90s, when property values were high, VUSD was able to hire new teachers, decrease class sizes, and fund programs like art and music. Class-size reduction incentives were also in place in California, and K-2 classes were kept low at 19-20 students.
- The ensuing decline in property values has meant decreased funding for education. Over the past 4 years, Mound has been forced to cut 4 teachers from its staff, increasing class sizes to 24-25 in K-3.
PTO President Karrie Carey spoke about two initiatives on November’s ballot:
- Proposition 30 is a statewide sales tax increase of ¼ percent for 4 years (increasing it from 7.25% to 7.5%), with the revenues going to K-12 education (89%) and community colleges (11%). It also puts into place a sliding scale of personal income tax increases for 7 years for individuals earning $250,000+ (or couples earning $500,000+).
o Prop 30 will maintain funding where it is at the moment for the next 4 years. It won’t increase funding, but at least it won’t get worse.
o It also guarantees funding for public safety realigned from state to local governments
o Must pass by a 50%+1 majority (and is currently polling at around 51%, so not yet a sure thing). If it fails, trigger cuts go into effect.
- Measure Q is a local, Ventura parcel tax of $59 per year for 4 years (less than $5 per month), which would:
o Maintain and improve core academics: Science, Technology, Reading, Writing and Math
o Increase student access to technology and computers in the classroom
o Help prevent further increases in class size
o Recruit and retain highly qualified teachers
o Purchase up-to-date student textbooks and workbooks
o Be spent only in classrooms – not on administrators' salaries, benefits or pensions
o Measure Q has taxpayer protections in place:
§ Iron-clad restrictions that no funds can be used for administrator salaries, benefits or pensions
§ Annual review by an independent citizens’ oversight committee of all expenditures
§ Legally required annual audits of all spending.
§ Legal guarantees that all funds be spent locally and cannot be taken by the State
o Measure Q must pass with a two-thirds majority.
VUSD Superintendent Dr. Trudy Tuttle-Arriaga spoke about the effects on our local schools if Prop 30 and Measure Q fail:
- If Prop 30 fails, VUSD will lose another $8-10 million (on top of the $25 million already cut over the last few years).
o This would result in layoff of 100 teachers and 100 support staff in VUSD, thereby increasing K-2 class sizes from 24-25 (current) to 30-32 and upper grades to 35-40, high school 45-50+.
o 10 additional furlough days would be added (bringing us to 20 furlough days). Kids would get out of school in May, which would unfortunately increase childcare costs for many parents. 20 furlough days equates to almost 1.5 years lost in a child’s K-12 education.
o In effect, if Prop 30 doesn’t pass, it will bring our District to its knees.
- If Measure Q fails, it will be difficult to make necessary improvements such as purchasing textbooks, adding technology, etc.
Principal Tyner spoke about the changes that would happen specifically at Mound next year:
- If Prop 30 doesn’t pass, we will be forced to cut 4 more teachers from Mound’s staff in K-3, increasing those class sizes to 30-32. The 4th-5th grade teaching staff would also likely lose one teacher, creating one 4th-5th combo class and increasing class sizes from 33/34 to 35-40.
- 10 furlough days will be added to bring us to 20 furlough days.
- We may also lose some of our support staff.
- Mound’s classroom sizes are based on the District average, so each year classroom sizes are set based on that number. Therefore, Mound would not be exempt from cuts just because we are a magnet.
Each school has been asked to organize a local precinct walk to make sure Ventura’s voters are informed about these two important measures. Almost 50% of voters in Ventura do not have kids in the District, so it’s imperative to ensure that they know the impact these cuts would have on the community as a whole.
Mound’s precinct walk is Monday, October 8, 4-6pm. Can you join our teachers in this effort? We’d like to pair up 20 parents and 20 teachers – and you can bring your kids (what a great civics lesson!). Talking points will be provided, as well as lawn signs, stickers, and door-hangers. If you can help us on Monday or would like more information, please email or call me right away. Two hours of your time will be nothing compared to the negative impacts our schools will endure if these two measures fail. I, for one, want to be able to look our students in the eye and tell them that we did everything we could to provide them with quality education, and this is an opportunity to do just that. We have 4 parents signed up so far (thank you!), so we still need many.
Of course, how you vote is your prerogative, and if you don’t support these measures, that is absolutely your choice. We just want to make sure that everyone is well-informed about the realities we are facing as a school.
Room parents, could you please forward to your class lists, as not everyone has been entered yet into our members database and therefore may not receive this.
Mound PTO President
You can't leave footprints in the sands of time while sitting down.