July 10, 2013
The School Board wants to put a Bond measure on the next ballot, but just stubbed their toe (or shot themselves in the foot, if you like) in their haste to have all the members of the board to go along with it.
The Culver City News is distributed to everyone's driveway, but few read it. I picked up my copy, then also got a copy of the Culver City Observer as well as the Los Angeles Wave, each of which had a little different way of telling the story. There was also an editorial in the Observer, by Patricia Siever, explaining why she was against giving the members of the School Board a 2% raise. She had also in a past instance declined to take the medical insurance available to Board members, but was prevailed upon by the other Board members to "go along with the program" and accept it.
Here's some history:
Parcel Tax--majority voted to add $96 per year to property taxes for the stated purpose of upgrading the athletic field, the Robert Frost auditorium, install solar panels, among other projects. This continues until 2015.
Bond Measure--proposed, with several of the SAME projects listed as a reason for requesting it. (Will they not accomplish the goals of the Parcel Tax?)
Budget difficulties--we all know about this, staff reductions, and other ways of reducing the financial burdens to the district.
Council self-voted PAY RAISE--while only 2%, it wasn't a very timely idea, in view of the need to justify the need for more funds. Two board members, Patricia Siever and Nancy Goldberg, voted against it as an unwise move, in light of the tight budget (amounts to $4.80 per month per Board member--so why do it?)
Phone Survey--a couple of weeks ago I participated in a survey over the phone as to whether or not I was in favor of the Bond measure. I said NO, but then re-stated my objections as related questions were read to me.
Author of Bond measure, David LaRose, Superintendent of CCUSD, was pushing hard to ramrod this through. Board president Paspalis jumped over the usual procedure of listing the request to vote on the Bond measure as an "Information Item", then in the next session, list it as an "Action Item." La Rose put together a card entitled "Current School Facility Needs" with photos that were not identified, and a rambling letter that does a poor job of trying to convince residents why they should be in favor of the Bond measure. The funds to print and mail this failed effort are forever lost, and could have been put to better use.
3 Board Members against pushing this through--Karlo Silbiger, Nancy Goldberg and Patricia Siever wanted to know what questions were on the survey, and wanted more time to examine the survey report (which apparently found a majority of respondents in favor of the Bond measure).
Unexpected response stymied Board President (and therefore, also, Supt. La Rose)--Paspalis and Chardiet were shocked and angry that the three other members took the more cautious approach, as it now means that this measure will not get onto the November ballot. The next opportunity is in June of 2014, or November of the same year.
ARE THEY TRYING TO AMASS A SLUSH FUND THAT WILL MAKE THEIR JOBS EASIER, AND NOT REQUIRE AS STRICT AN ACCOUNTABLILITY? DO THEY HAVE ANY IDEA OF THE COST OF THE PROJECTS THEY WANT TO ACCOMPLISH?
I am grateful that all of these people agree to serve on the School Board, but these efforts are too hasty to be prudent.
Culver City, parent of 2 CCHS grads