Closing schools? The bigger issue is Sacramento

Poway Roger Poway Roger 1 Comment


Regarding San Diego Unified, see the UT’s “School closure plan draws ire, skepticism“…

So what do you do when the population gradually moves out of an area? The district has avoided this topic for years and it looks like it is finally forced to act. The issue could have been addressed a long time prior, but decision-makers were afraid. Think of the money savings over time if the district had closed some of these schools years ago.

Yet, there is a bigger problem to address. School districts rely on the state for revenue. Those amounts go up and down. Districts, when they have the cash, feel the need to expand so as to spend it, but when things are tight, they must make cuts. There is no incentive to put that extra money away for bad times.

Is that really the best way to operate? Shouldn’t school districts base budgets on slowly increasing revenue over the long term, instead of inconsistent amounts of monies, contingent on Sacramento?

The problem still goes back to Sacramento and the legislature’s inability to deal with budgets in a “real” manner. Constant smoke and mirrors while basing spending on overly optimistic budget projections (which common sense says won’t be met) is not fair to the schools and most importantly, to the public. The only way school districts will be able to adequately plan for the future is if real leadership “materializes” in Sacramento and we get real budgets with real reform.

Increasing taxes isn’t always the solution. Learning to plan and budget is. Salaries and benefits are the most significant part of the budget, so labor unions (of which I am a member) must be part of the solution by offering ways to increase wages and benefits with an eye to the future (which means responsible negotiations). Living for the day is not responsible. Planning for the future is.

Instead of simply demanding the legislature balance the budget in a real manner, give your legislators suggestions. Here is something I suggested a few years ago in a FlashReport piece. The only change I would add is to bring back the Gann Initiative and make sure it can’t be watered down this time.

My parents taught me to live below my means and to budget for the future. Apparently they were very wise. Too bad Sacramento can’t do the same.


Comments 1

  1. The real issues is that the school board, bought and paid for by the teachers’ union, increased teachers’ salaries 7-10% starting next year, even though the handwriting was on the wall regarding reduced state funding. That, and withdrawing teacher layoff notices, is what is driving district to insolvency.

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