Credit: flickr

Determined to shed long-term state debt, Gov. Jerry Brown wants the state to cease issuing K-12 school construction bonds, leaving school districts to pay the tab for building and renovating schools. A coalition of school districts and the building industry has responded with plans to go straight to voters with a $9 billion state school building bond in 2016.

“We are going the initiative route; this is not for negotiation,” said Joe Dixon, assistant superintendent of Santa Ana Unified and chairman of California’s Coalition for Adequate School Housing, an organization made up of 350 school districts and construction industry partners. “Every child is entitled to quality facilities, and there must be a state role to ensure there is equity.”

In the state budget released this month, Brown indicated he wants to make it easier and more efficient for districts to build facilities without state support. Only in “limited circumstances” – yet to be defined – would the state provide help to districts lacking the financial capacity to issue construction bonds. The budget doesn’t project the cost but it ­would likely be hundreds of millions of dollars per year and would be funded through an annual General Fund appropriation, not through Proposition 98, the chief source of K-12 funding, or through long-term state debt, said Nick Schweizer, program budget manager for the Department of Finance.

Since 1998, the state has proposed, and voters approved, $35 billion worth of borrowing to build and renovate schools. But the last bond was passed in 2006, and the state has nearly run out of money to help subsidize districts’ projects, although the state continues to pay $2.3 billion per year to pay down past bonds.

Last year, Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, who chaired the Assembly Education Committee, sponsored Assembly Bill 2235 to put a $4.3 billion construction bond on the November 2014 ballot. Backed by California’s Coalition for Adequate School Housing, the California School Boards Association and the California Teachers Association, the bill died in the Senate because Brown opposed it.**

Brown’s budget summary proposes several ways to expand the capacity of school districts to pay for school construction on their own – in most cases, it would be funded by local developers and property owners, who’d likely be asked to pay more in fees and taxes. The budget says the ideas are intended “to advance the dialogue on the future of school facilities funding.” Brown’s proposals include:

  • Raising the cap on a district’s allowable bonded indebtedness, relative to a property’s assessment. Total school bond debt currently can’t exceed $30 per $100,000 of assessed value in a district ($60 per $100,000 for unified and high school districts). Brown proposes raising the cap by the rate of inflation.
  • Allowing districts to use money they put aside for building maintenance for capital projects. Districts formerly had to funnel 3 percent of a district’s general fund to building upkeep, but, under the Local Control Funding Formula, they have more flexibility. Now they’d be able to put the money toward capital projects.
  • Increasing fees that primarily housing developers pay and making them uniform. Under state law, developers can be charged fees for school construction, based on the impact that their new homes will have on schools. However, the third and highest fee level can only be imposed if the state declares it has run out of bond money for local districts, which it has never done, Dixon said. Brown proposes setting a new level of uniform fees that’s somewhere above the current second level.

Dixon said he supports some ideas, including raising the cap on bond debt, and opposes others, such as raiding maintenance fees. But he said the proposals combined would not come close to replacing the needed state level of funding.

Under the current system, districts and the state evenly split the cost of new construction, and the state pays 60 cents of every dollar for school renovations. In the state budget he released earlier this month, Brown listed his objections to the current setup. They include:

  • The system is bureaucratic and too “fragmented,”with 10 state agencies overseeing approvals of construction projects;
  • Districts aren’t compelled to consider funding in the context of other priorities and, using outdated enrollment data, may have incentives to build more than they need;
  • The first-come, first-served basis for funding gives advantages to big districts with large facilities staffs. Brown proposes a needs-based funding formula for districts whose taxpayers can’t afford bonds on their own;
  • Funding needs are based on outdated space requirements (960 square feet for every classroom) that drive up costs and don’t offer flexibility for changing classroom needs and sizes in an Internet-based environment.

The budget notes that since the passage of Proposition 39 in 2000, which lowered the voter threshold for passing a bond from two-thirds to 55 percent, 80 percent of school bonds have passed. The Local Control Funding Formula provides districts with more funding flexibility, it adds.

Dixon said that the Coalition for Adequate School Housing also favors changes to the current system but the goal should be to fix it, not end it. He said a poll that the organization commissioned last month found that 55 percent of likely voters would definitely or probably support a $9 billion state school bond, with an additional 8 percent leaning in that direction.

Whether a bond would pass if Brown openly opposes it, though, is another question. Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, hopes it won’t be necessary to find out. Last week, he introduced an alternative option, Assembly Bill 148. While the details aren’t yet in the bill, Holden says he is set to propose a $1.1 billion bond measure for the 2016 ballot to deal with immediate building needs – projects already in line for funding. Then he would like to begin discussions on Brown’s plan to fund future construction with revenue sources other than state bonds.

“We hope to settle on a bond at a level that the governor might sign off on and then deal with strategies moving forward,” Holden said. “We have deteriorating school facilities that must be dealt with now.”

Also last week, State Sen. Carol Liu, D-La Cañada Flintridge, introduced a bill calling for a state school construction bond, with an unspecified amount, that would enable school districts, charter schools, county education offices and higher education institutions to build and modernize facilities. Senate Bill 114 is identical to Buchanan’s bill from last year, which, responding to the governor’s criticisms, called for agencies overseeing school projects to streamline approval procedures and give districts more latitude from regulations to design their own facilities.

** Buchanan’s bill originally sought a $9 billion bond, the same amount that the Coalition for Adequate School Housing is proposing. She later cut the amount in half, but her bill died anyway.


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  1. Doctor J 11 months ago11 months ago

    Today the CA Supreme Court refused Fresno Unified's petitions to strike down the Appellate ruling invalidating non-competitive Lease-leaseback construction contracts awarded without competitive bidding. Contractors could be forced to payback school districts for illegal contracts already constructed. Mt. Diablo USD is currently paying the lawyer fees of Taber Construction who is being sued by Calif Taxpayers over numerous sweetheart deal lease/leasebacks entered into without competitive bidding. Today's Supreme Court ruling essentially gives … Read More

    Today the CA Supreme Court refused Fresno Unified’s petitions to strike down the Appellate ruling invalidating non-competitive Lease-leaseback construction contracts awarded without competitive bidding. Contractors could be forced to payback school districts for illegal contracts already constructed. Mt. Diablo USD is currently paying the lawyer fees of Taber Construction who is being sued by Calif Taxpayers over numerous sweetheart deal lease/leasebacks entered into without competitive bidding. Today’s Supreme Court ruling essentially gives its stamp of approval on the appellate decision in Davis v. Fresno Unified striking down the leaseback arrangements.

  2. Doctor J 11 months ago11 months ago

    Today the CA Supreme Court refused Fresno Unified's petitions to strike down the Appellate ruling invalidating non-competitive Lease-leaseback construction contracts awarded without competitive bidding. Contractors could be forced to payback school districts for illegal contracts already constructed. My. Diablo USD is currently paying the lawyer fees of Taber Construction who is being sued by Calif Taxpayers over numerous sweetheart deal lease/leasebacks entered into without competitive bidding. Today's Supreme Court ruling essentially gives … Read More

    Today the CA Supreme Court refused Fresno Unified’s petitions to strike down the Appellate ruling invalidating non-competitive Lease-leaseback construction contracts awarded without competitive bidding. Contractors could be forced to payback school districts for illegal contracts already constructed. My. Diablo USD is currently paying the lawyer fees of Taber Construction who is being sued by Calif Taxpayers over numerous sweetheart deal lease/leasebacks entered into without competitive bidding. Today’s Supreme Court ruling essentially gives its stamp of approval on the appellate decision in Davis v. Fresno Unified striking down the leaseback arrangements.

  3. Don 1 year ago1 year ago

    I don’t have any inside track on what happens at the high school. My son attends the middle school. I haven’t read or heard about what you’re alleging and I don’t pay attention to rumors and gossip. The only things in my ears are hearing aids. (bad ear problems when young)

  4. Manuel 2 years ago2 years ago

    OK, someone has to say it, so I'll bite the bullet: I have voted yes in every single proposition that sought to build or renovate schools. But I will vote no in each and every one that comes down the pike. Why am I not willing to invest in California? The answer is simple: the entire infrastructure at LAUSD, from devices to staff to networking (both the wires, leased lines and more staff), needed to implement Common … Read More

    OK, someone has to say it, so I’ll bite the bullet: I have voted yes in every single proposition that sought to build or renovate schools. But I will vote no in each and every one that comes down the pike.

    Why am I not willing to invest in California?

    The answer is simple: the entire infrastructure at LAUSD, from devices to staff to networking (both the wires, leased lines and more staff), needed to implement Common Core and the SBAC is being paid with school construction/refurbishing bonds. LAUSD management is also using bond funds to pay for the botched record system known as MiSiS.

    Neither of these two “projects” is what I voted for. Yet Deasy and his legal eagles insisted that it was legal.

    I have no other way to protest against this blatant misuse of bond funds but by withholding my approval for any and all bond funds whether at the state or local level because I won’t be fooled again. (Plus I also have been hearing horror stories about the poor quality of the recent construction at LAUSD with practically brand new facilities already in need of major repairs.)

    Sorry, la burra no era arisca. La hicieron.

    Replies

    • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

      Well, you know, Manuel, conservatives and libertarians have been advocating against the rampant misuse and rising debt obligations that bonds have engendered since our tax dollars have failed to keep up with all the social democratic costs of a nanny state. Welcome, amigo!

      • Manuel 1 year ago1 year ago

        Don, what makes you think that "liberals" are happy to see money thrown down a rat-hole? All the people I collaborate with are "flaming liberals" and they are not happy about it either. (Y contigo, ni a la esquina.) Simply put, those who are pushing "school reform" are not doing it "for the children." They are doing it because there is money to be made and power to be wielded. "Accountability" based on standardized testing is nothing but … Read More

        Don, what makes you think that “liberals” are happy to see money thrown down a rat-hole? All the people I collaborate with are “flaming liberals” and they are not happy about it either. (Y contigo, ni a la esquina.)

        Simply put, those who are pushing “school reform” are not doing it “for the children.”

        They are doing it because there is money to be made and power to be wielded.

        “Accountability” based on standardized testing is nothing but “stack-and-rank” to be used to get rid of costly labor and pigeon-hole children for maximum “productivity.”

        “Schools of the 21st Century” is nothing more than using current technology to provide the lowest-common-denominator training, certainly not education, so that the population can be turned into glorified call-center operators, with a small elite of highly trained technocrats.

        Back in the good ol’ days, American schools suffered from socioeconomic inequities because the economy’s base was first agrarian and then industrial. Now it is a “knowledge” economy and our schools are being re-tooled to provide the “work force” needed to run it.

        Those who are behind this “reform” movement are doing their best to push this re-tooling by “disrupting” what was a reasonably working system into something that fits their needs and “vision.”

        The easiest way to accomplish that is to keep everyone waiting for test results (just wait for what’s coming: the classroom mark will be defined by the test) while diverting the funds into streams that reduce the resources needed to meeting basic needs.

        Sounds like a “vast right-wing conspiracy,” right? But it isn’t coming from the right. It is coming from those who see an opportunity to shape our society to what is best for them. They have no real ideology. All they want is money and power.

        If you all think the current 1%-99% situation is bad, just wait another generation. We are like frogs being boiled: the heat is is slowly being turned up…

        • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

          Manuel where do you get this? I'm very liberal, favor higher inheritance taxes and wealth taxes and taxes on the rich, would legalize or decriminalize drugs and prostitution and gambling and reduce our prison population by 3/4, would cut defense by over half, would raise minimum wage to $10.25 if not higher, oppose the death penalty, favor legal abortion, etc. However, when Arnold Schwarzenegger set out to find waste, he was bureaucratically resisted … Read More

          Manuel where do you get this? I’m very liberal, favor higher inheritance taxes and wealth taxes and taxes on the rich, would legalize or decriminalize drugs and prostitution and gambling and reduce our prison population by 3/4, would cut defense by over half, would raise minimum wage to $10.25 if not higher, oppose the death penalty, favor legal abortion, etc. However, when Arnold Schwarzenegger set out to find waste, he was bureaucratically resisted and had to give up. I think everyone needs some pressure, which is why taking a super important profession like teacher and prioritizing job security and comfort over attendance and children discredits those who do it as it is not a liberal act but a conservative one to protect people who are harming children’s chances to succeed and not working as hard as they could to help children.

          You seem to see it as a sucker game that kids can be taught better and work hard and have a good career. I’m in technical recruiting. The image of Google workers is mostly white, but the reality is most are Asian. Many did not move here until college and after. American kids could have these six figure jobs if they studied harder in school as kids. When you let a bad teacher teach for 20-30 years because theoretically it is possible for a bad principal to fire them unfairly because they don’t like them you are saying children are a low priority. If it is impossible, why are Asian Americans coming to the U.S. with very little money and now earning 35% more than white Americans with a significant drag of many 1st generation workers earning low wages? They go to the same schools everyone else goes to. They are studying weekends, in the library Saturday night in college.

          What is the alternative? Should we teach 95% of people to be socialists bent on overthrowing the system when there are no jobs for that? Why are you attacking it as somehow immoral for them to teach people to do jobs which pay well and actually exist? I don’t understand that. What is the alternative? Not focus on test scores so we go back to not feeling upset if a teacher is underperforming compared to others, don’t seek change, some kids graduate but are functionally illiterate, and we have no way to measure if certain cultures are proving they have a better way to raise children even when in poverty and it’s just anecdotal? Most whites are still in denial about Asian parenting success and resort to stereotypes like Tiger Mom and ignore the fact that they work way harder as parents and teach their kids internal attitudes of family pride and work ethics at a young age, would rather focus on negatives.

          You need more stats so we can’t be in denial that some parents are better than others and it isn’t always due to income, that some teachers are better than others, and that some kids are day in, day out, making personal decisions which show more character and morals and will later be rewarded with higher income.

          Without tests the denial fest will continue ad nauseum!

        • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

          Manuel, assuming your Orwellian image of modern day accountability in education is correct, then I would understand why you are getting so dismal of over it, and deservedly so as it would indicate the fulmination of the era of Big Brother. Yet, standards-based education is in itself nothing new and teachers and the unions that represent them seem to accept CCSS as an instructional improvement. What is different about this “reform”, foisted upon us … Read More

          Manuel, assuming your Orwellian image of modern day accountability in education is correct, then I would understand why you are getting so dismal of over it, and deservedly so as it would indicate the fulmination of the era of Big Brother. Yet, standards-based education is in itself nothing new and teachers and the unions that represent them seem to accept CCSS as an instructional improvement. What is different about this “reform”, foisted upon us as it was through a series of actions by the Obama Administration in cahoots with an undemocratic “state led” development process of insider deals akin to the Affordable Care Act, is that it’s national in scope while also having no educationally-verified basis anchored in actual previous practice to sanction its applicability or efficacy as a national standard. That is, it is one very large experiment. So why have the teachers and unions, the sworn enemies of the corporate reform movement for which CCSS represents its crowning achievement, decided to get in bed with Bill Gates? What have they to gain to go along with this de facto national standard and the billions that will be gleaned by the testing and instructional materials industry? If this is all about money and power sucking the lifeblood out of public education, then the image of students voluntarily lining up to donate pints for points to the purveyors of corporate private enterprise ought to be enough to incite an education revolution.

          I spent the yesterday judging at a Golden Gate Speech Association debate tournament. It was enough to spark a glimmer of hope in even the most irreconcilable cynic.

          • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

            Look how education has improved for those who do buy testing materials and get tutors for and spend time with their kids to perform well on the tests. In California, most who buy STAR and other test prep books are Asian, and Asians are 3.7 x as likely to get into a UC, to Cal/UCLA, as whites and study nearly 3 times as much and earn 35% more. The goal is for all parents to … Read More

            Look how education has improved for those who do buy testing materials and get tutors for and spend time with their kids to perform well on the tests. In California, most who buy STAR and other test prep books are Asian, and Asians are 3.7 x as likely to get into a UC, to Cal/UCLA, as whites and study nearly 3 times as much and earn 35% more.

            The goal is for all parents to spend time they now spend watching football, watching TV, in bars, hanging out, doing drugs, etc. working with their kids to improve their test scores. It’s starting to have some impact. Fewer parents are divorcing, knowing how much it hurts their kids’ test scores, and parents are cutting out other activities and spending more time improving their children’s vocabulary and academic ability.

    • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

      Good for you.

    • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

      Manuel: I know you deal a lot with LAUSD, and that could sour anyone's outlook. However, I think you have to guard against the "cutting off your nose to spite your face" syndrome. I might look much more closely at local bonds in your area, but to penalize all schools in the state because of the ongoing antics of LAUSD does not seem a productive choice to me. On the other hand, if Brown is heading … Read More

      Manuel:

      I know you deal a lot with LAUSD, and that could sour anyone’s outlook. However, I think you have to guard against the “cutting off your nose to spite your face” syndrome. I might look much more closely at local bonds in your area, but to penalize all schools in the state because of the ongoing antics of LAUSD does not seem a productive choice to me. On the other hand, if Brown is heading in the direction he seems to be going on bonds at the state level, the point might be moot.

      • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

        lausd's use was sent to some sort of legal review panel and they deemed it 'ok'. and if im not mistaken, the state is also looking (maybe already has) at codifying this kind of use so that boards can make such approvals without needing to worry whether they will be overturned or be sued. so there is no 'fixing it simply by waiting and hoping'. anyway, manuel's issue was with promising one thing and then … Read More

        lausd’s use was sent to some sort of legal review panel and they deemed it ‘ok’. and if im not mistaken, the state is also looking (maybe already has) at codifying this kind of use so that boards can make such approvals without needing to worry whether they will be overturned or be sued. so there is no ‘fixing it simply by waiting and hoping’. anyway, manuel’s issue was with promising one thing and then using it for another.
        construction bonds are a joke. the only reason they get passed is someone makes a LOT of money off of them. bond oversight is also a joke (and the state level california bond oversight group–forgot their name–even put out a memo a couple years ago saying so). a while back our district put up a parcel tax and a construction bond within a year or so of each other (previous bond had just run out of money because of supposed embezzlement). construction bond passed with flying colors. parcel tax failed. the amount of the construction bond was more than 10 times that of the parcel tax. even the chamber of commerce campaigned against the parcel tax. ahem.
        youre right about noses and faces, and the bond people know that. you have to be resigned to between 25% and 50% of the bond money going down a rat hole before you decide to vote yes. then you have to be aware the remaining can be used for computers instead of facilities as promised before you can vote yes. my nose is crooked anyway.

      • Manuel 1 year ago1 year ago

        Gary, the problem is not just LAUSD's. The problem is that bond usage has led to paying far above the going rate for goods and services just because a bond can be used to pay for it. Such practices could have been tolerable when there was money to go around, but that is not the case anymore. Didn't Lockyer and Torlakson warned about misuse of bonds not long ago? See http://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr13/yr13rel12.asp for that. As navigio points … Read More

        Gary, the problem is not just LAUSD’s.

        The problem is that bond usage has led to paying far above the going rate for goods and services just because a bond can be used to pay for it.

        Such practices could have been tolerable when there was money to go around, but that is not the case anymore. Didn’t Lockyer and Torlakson warned about misuse of bonds not long ago? See http://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr13/yr13rel12.asp for that.

        As navigio points out, this occurs in other districts and bonds are viewed as a way of making plenty of money out of the public purse by appealing to suckers like me. But I’ve seen too many stories about shoddy construction practices and gold plated costs to continue to blindly vote for more bonds (more money for staff than for iPads, really? $700k to wire an elementary school for WiFi, really? Falling ceilings because of crappy wire work, really?). I’ve had enough.

        BTW, the issuance of bonds was my main point against Munger’s Prop 38: it allowed the issuing of bonds by every K-16 institution in California but someone decided to also include children’s hospitals. What hard soul could be against children’s hospitals even though they have nothing to do with the title of the proposition? But that’s just it: it was a blatant appeal to our civic duty as well as heart strings by people who are simply interested in making a buck.

        I don’t mind an honest dollar for honest work, but this is ridiculous and I’ve had it.

        Until there is full accountability, full transparency, and true punishment for malfeasance on this, no way will I vote yes on any bond measure.

        • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

          Hallelujah, Manuel. You said it all, compadre, with the only exception that I would extend the bond issue to most borrowing in general. BTW, my wife and most of my friends are "flaming liberals". The simple economic logic to deficit spending is to borrow when lean and pay back when flush. We just keep borrowing in both bad and good times, with the current logic that rates are so low it's a good deal. … Read More

          Hallelujah, Manuel. You said it all, compadre, with the only exception that I would extend the bond issue to most borrowing in general. BTW, my wife and most of my friends are “flaming liberals”.

          The simple economic logic to deficit spending is to borrow when lean and pay back when flush. We just keep borrowing in both bad and good times, with the current logic that rates are so low it’s a good deal. The trajectory of debt is increasingly worse as with the highly predictable future cost of repayment. As you’ve pointed out, there’s too much corruption to warrant this form borrowing, cheap or not. I still remember the ridiculous ADA upgrades that left our schools with many unused improvements that have now gone into disrepair. I particularly recall ADA funded “greening” of the school yard which included an expensive planning process resulting in a dirt pile, some boulders, a couple of now dead trees, a new backboard and some benches to the tune of $130K.

          As for large federal government borrowing, the failed and scandalous SIG program ought to provide us a school lesson “par excellance” in what happens when you pour windfall sums of money into schools to change the academic outcome. Instead of learning that money itself is not the answer to what ails California’s underperforming minorities, our state just decided to ignore the lesson of the underreported and covered up $5B SIG debacle (there was no coverage on EdSource) and pumped billions more into schools under LCFF with the same philosophy – more money equals better outcome. Worse yet, it didn’t link the funding to any kind of metric at all to evaluate worthiness of LEA efforts. Only the goals themselves undergo a semblance of evaluation, as if goals magically become accomplishments by the mere mention of them (LCAP). It’s time to cap the LCAP. We don’t need more plans, bureaucracy, mission statements or other excuses to spend education dollars. We need to move all money into the classroom to lower class sizes, pay teachers a living wage commensurate with effort, education and accomplishments and maximize our limited resources by eradicating the opportunistic education management establishment and giving classrooms the highest priority. Remove the tangle of laws that keep the failed blood-sucking educrats employed and the students poor.

        • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

          Manuel: Your link goes to a letter re "Capital Appreciation Bonds" (CABS) which are a very special category of bonds being used by some districts inadvisably. They are not about "needless overspending," they are an out and out scam. They do, barely, skim within the boundaries of the law, i.e., kind of like how New England plays football. CABS allow boards and/or administrations to finance bound issues at very low costs today but with what amount … Read More

          Manuel:

          Your link goes to a letter re “Capital Appreciation Bonds” (CABS) which are a very special category of bonds being used by some districts inadvisably. They are not about “needless overspending,” they are an out and out scam. They do, barely, skim within the boundaries of the law, i.e., kind of like how New England plays football. CABS allow boards and/or administrations to finance bound issues at very low costs today but with what amount to “balloon payments” out on a sometimes 20-30 year horizon. Even after this because very clear the SBE still allowed districts to receive waivers to go the CAB route. I still cannot explain it.

          As to “shoddy construction, I can appreciate your concerns there. My old district underwent a multiyear, bond funded, rehabilitation and construction project. I had to file numerous complaints as well as an OSHA filing to get some issues resolved. The number one “fly in the ointment” wasn’t really the nature of bonds or how districts handled the issues, it is the state requirement that all work go to the lowest bidder. You get what you pay for. (Somebody write that down for posterities sake.) The constructors are operating on a very low margin, I found, which contrasts with your assertion. And, there is a community oversight committee to see that abuses “don’t occur.” I am not sure what went wrong in LAUSD, though teams of highly paid attorneys might explain it.

          Still, I think it is unwise and unnecessary to “broad brush” true whole school construction via bond issue.

          • Tom 1 year ago1 year ago

            This cost of school capital improvements is inflated because of labor costs and the requirement to use prevaling wages! For example, a Bay Area plumber labor rate is $135/hour! Not “prevailing” at all. There are also a cadre of well paid State employees that go around enforcing these wages all of which drives up the cost of construction. Forgot to mention that eh Gary?

            • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

              Since my family has been involved in the plumbing business in the Bay Area since before the "Earthquake" of 1906 you make me sincerely regret my not having gone into the family business. Actually though, and more realistically, it was some of my early experiences working with my father that convinced me to follow a more intellectually oriented career. One too many times going into an apartment where six or seven people lived, a clogged … Read More

              Since my family has been involved in the plumbing business in the Bay Area since before the “Earthquake” of 1906 you make me sincerely regret my not having gone into the family business. Actually though, and more realistically, it was some of my early experiences working with my father that convinced me to follow a more intellectually oriented career. One too many times going into an apartment where six or seven people lived, a clogged toilet, and everyone suffering from food poisoning. Those were the days.

              Did you ever think that the workers getting prevailing wages are also parents and consumers? There is “correlation approaching causation” to link parental incomes/wealth to student school success. I think you’ll find thousands of studies backing up that assertion should you ever want to get some facts to back up your opinions. I have taught thousands of students over the years and well observed the differences in many facets of student well-being, those impacts on learning, and the difference between kids whose parents have solid jobs and incomes and little extras like health care. So, prevailing wages are good for children and good for the schools those children attend.

              There are many prestigious economists who have linked the slow recovery, after the financial sector driven economic crash, to the lack of growth in middle-class and working class wages. There is also a parallel causal factor indicted a systemically weak economy driven by the loss of union jobs. (Loss of union jobs=loss of middle-class and working class wages.)The economy just now seems to be moving forward and that is linked to wage (and job) growth. Prevailing wages can be seen as a fundamental building block of a sound and growing economy. Many of the same prestigious economists link Europe’s ongoing economic doldrums to its embrace of austerity and cuts in government spending. Cuts in government spending are also contributors to the US slow recovery. To advocate for elimination of prevailing wage is just more banging of middle-class/working class heads into the brick wall of failed austerity policies. Kind of sadistic when all things are taken into account.

              I didn’t “forget” a thing; however, you (still) seem to ignore a lot.

            • Tom 1 year ago1 year ago

              Ahh ha, good to know that Gary is a Keynesian. I think Gary is forgetting that our government under Obama tried this under the banner of "quantitative easing" or QE1 and QE2, and it hasn't worked well. It did, however, increase the heck out of the debt which is now over $18 trillion. As far as pay scales, how about we just pay people according to their needs, and take it … Read More

              Ahh ha, good to know that Gary is a Keynesian. I think Gary is forgetting that our government under Obama tried this under the banner of “quantitative easing” or QE1 and QE2, and it hasn’t worked well. It did, however, increase the heck out of the debt which is now over $18 trillion.

              As far as pay scales, how about we just pay people according to their needs, and take it from those with the ability to pay. We’ll just do that until we run out of other peoples money. That’s been tried and it doesn’t work. Thought not perfect, a free market, and a country of people free of government coercion is the best and only solution.

          • Manuel 1 year ago1 year ago

            Yes, that scam is what prompted those two to act because this is just way over the top. Anyway, yes, I am aware of the "lowest bid" requirement. But that's just an empty demand because once the contract is awarded, the extra requests start coming in. Someone who knows some architect in a project told me that this architect was going to blow the whistle on them until told that s/he would never get work in … Read More

            Yes, that scam is what prompted those two to act because this is just way over the top.

            Anyway, yes, I am aware of the “lowest bid” requirement. But that’s just an empty demand because once the contract is awarded, the extra requests start coming in. Someone who knows some architect in a project told me that this architect was going to blow the whistle on them until told that s/he would never get work in the field if s/he did.

            And then there is fact that the WiFi wiring job is overly inflated in cost, etc., etc., etc..

            Given human fallibility, I am afraid that broadbrushing the entire state is not too far off the mark.

            Sad, ain’t it? I guess we will have to have a real crisis for this to change and that crisis might be that bond propositions don’t pass. What will the state then do? My guess is that the Legislature and whoever is the governor will have to actually do some heavy lifting instead of passing the buck the districts.

            BTW, this is no different than what UTLA is doing about the negotiations with Cortines. He is just a “kinder and gentler” Deasy when it comes to these things. I know people who “walked the line in eighty-nine” and they’ll do it again if they have to. About time because LAUSD has been faking its deficits for years.

            • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

              Nothing to blow, that's standard operating procedure. I've been involved in projects where the initial bid was below cost (ie losing money) knowing the margins that can be applied to change orders. The bigger problem seems to be that you don't get what you pay for. Our districts has had to hire additional contractors to fix what previous contractors did, or in some cases simply refused to do. Actual transparency would be a good first … Read More

              Nothing to blow, that’s standard operating procedure. I’ve been involved in projects where the initial bid was below cost (ie losing money) knowing the margins that can be applied to change orders. The bigger problem seems to be that you don’t get what you pay for. Our districts has had to hire additional contractors to fix what previous contractors did, or in some cases simply refused to do.
              Actual transparency would be a good first step. Then people could evaluate what’s really happening. Bond oversight committees can’t achieve that.

            • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

              I don't know where you get your "news," but I can probably guess. The US is pulling out of the "Great Recession" faster than most economies (if slower than necessary because of lack of government spending) in the world and QE was a large part of that constructive strategy. Europe, whose economy is sliding into severe deflation, has decided to have banks take a more active role in trying to halt that destructive course. It's strategy? … Read More

              I don’t know where you get your “news,” but I can probably guess.

              The US is pulling out of the “Great Recession” faster than most economies (if slower than necessary because of lack of government spending) in the world and QE was a large part of that constructive strategy.

              Europe, whose economy is sliding into severe deflation, has decided to have banks take a more active role in trying to halt that destructive course. It’s strategy? Quantitative Easing. That because it so obviously worked well in our economy.

              The national debt is largely a creature of the last administrations carrying on two wars while simultaneously granting huge tax cuts to the wealthy. Then the Great Recession came along and the current administration had to clean up the various messes created by continuing bailouts. The deficit has shrunk by roughly half under the current administration. (Which, actually, is not a good thing.)

              The Great Recession, if you haven’t heard, was largely created by doing away with Glass-Steagal and allowing banks and the rest of the financial industry to operate in an “unregulated” manner. Even Alan “Green-spawn” (fanboy of Ayn Rand) came to realize that markets do not regulate themselves and said so. Current legislative efforts (Dodd-Frank) to put some controls on the banking/financial sector so that the same reckless behavior is prevented a second time are being severely undermined by the current majority party in Congress.

              BTW, get any actual facts on the performance of charter schools yet?

            • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

              Having been involved in a number of bond funded projects that has not been my experience. If it is the case, as it seems to be in LAUSD, then some public oversight group is not doing its job.

  5. el 2 years ago2 years ago

    The cap on district reserves would seem to be in direct conflict with this thought to make districts more responsible for their own construction and renovation needs.

  6. Tom 2 years ago2 years ago

    My concern is that Brown is playing games with school construction funding to 1) lessen the State debt payments, 2) pay for existing pension and healthcare severe under funding, and 3) support his grand plan for high speed rail and twin tunnels. He has to know that the school facilities most in need of improvement/replacementare in low income, minority areas in the large urban areas and also the Central Valley. These areas … Read More

    My concern is that Brown is playing games with school construction funding to 1) lessen the State debt payments, 2) pay for existing pension and healthcare severe under funding, and 3) support his grand plan for high speed rail and twin tunnels. He has to know that the school facilities most in need of improvement/replacementare in low income, minority areas in the large urban areas and also the Central Valley. These areas do not have high property values to support local bonding, and do not have a lot of new construction even available to generate school impact fees. Smells like another example of Brown shafting K-12 education this time on facilities.

    Replies

    • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

      Tom you are right. The State of California intentionally underfunds my District by $200,000 per year. Despite the fact that we are considered a wealthy district many of our schools are old and have not been maintained for years. We do not have $40 million to build the new K-8 that is suppose to go online in 2017???? I guess the District will increase class sizes and furlough students to pay for that.

  7. jskdn 2 years ago2 years ago

    Which citizens should bear the burden of providing that “every child is entitled to quality facilities”? Is it a shared responsibility or one that should fall disproportionately on the few? That question doesn't seem to be of concern to the various interest groups or politicians. School facilities had been were financed broadly through bonds before the advent of school “fees” on new construction, shifting the burden to the buyers of new homes, who will … Read More

    Which citizens should bear the burden of providing that “every child is entitled to quality facilities”? Is it a shared responsibility or one that should fall disproportionately on the few? That question doesn’t seem to be of concern to the various interest groups or politicians. School facilities had been were financed broadly through bonds before the advent of school “fees” on new construction, shifting the burden to the buyers of new homes, who will already pay a disproportionate share of the cost of facility bonds as well as school’s operational funding due to the assessment provisions of Prop 13. And beyond those “local” financing sources, why is a citizen who happens to live in one district that has significant student population growth more responsible for funding the educational needs of those students than someone who lives in a district without such student growth? It’s apparent that tax equity matters little to those with power, including the news media.

  8. navigio 2 years ago2 years ago

    Your wording on 'outdated space requirements' is very different than that in the budget. If I'm not mistaken, the 960 requirement in CCR is a minimum (btw 1350 for K); i.e. flexibility on max size is up to the district. Is he implying the program adds regulations on max size? And is the implication that 960 is too small? Or too big? In order to avoid 'solving' the former, class size (physical) should be based … Read More

    Your wording on ‘outdated space requirements’ is very different than that in the budget. If I’m not mistaken, the 960 requirement in CCR is a minimum (btw 1350 for K); i.e. flexibility on max size is up to the district. Is he implying the program adds regulations on max size? And is the implication that 960 is too small? Or too big? In order to avoid ‘solving’ the former, class size (physical) should be based on per student square footage (the 960 already is tho it assumes 40 kids max) to avoid larger contiguously physical spaces being a stepping stone for larger (cardinality) class sizes.
    Also, is ‘internet-based environment’ the only way to interpret ‘modern educational delivery methods’? Is that translation based on another source?

    Replies

    • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

      My District has aging and failing facilities that have not been maintained since (I can't remember when). Now the Capistrano Unified School District needs to spend $30 million to build a new K- 8. How are we to do that when CUSD employee compensation is 92% of the budget and now the District is suppose to pay for employee retirement benefits 10% of the budget. Hummmmmmmm that would be 102% of the budget and we … Read More

      My District has aging and failing facilities that have not been maintained since (I can’t remember when). Now the Capistrano Unified School District needs to spend $30 million to build a new K- 8.

      How are we to do that when CUSD employee compensation is 92% of the budget and now the District is suppose to pay for employee retirement benefits 10% of the budget. Hummmmmmmm that would be 102% of the budget and we have not built the new school, we have Average class sizes of 34:1 (40 kids in many classes so $1.8 million dollar fine to the District)- 3 Furlough days last year (don’t think the District can do that anymore because of Butte Law Suit).

      We have cut over $150 million from the budget since 2008 and yet employee salaries were restored to 2008 levels this year, and there is absolutely no hope that CUS will ever restore lost programs, see reasonable class sizes or build a new school.

      Why are employees already restored to 2008 levels when funding for Districts will be restored to 2008 levels by 2021?

      Am I the only person in California that thinks this is wrong?

      I know all of you make a living off of the education machine- but does everyone in education really feel this is what we should be doing? The Big Business of Education is the most self- serving and corrupt of any business. You should all be part of wall street.

      • Tom 2 years ago2 years ago

        No Dawn, you are not the only one that recognizes the dysfunction of education in this State, and I share your frustration. I have three kids, oldest is 10 years old, so have a personal stake in this. A bit of hope is present in that there is a rise in Charter Schools (10% growth per year) which is a direct response to the poor performance and dissatisfaction in low income, minority areas … Read More

        No Dawn, you are not the only one that recognizes the dysfunction of education in this State, and I share your frustration. I have three kids, oldest is 10 years old, so have a personal stake in this. A bit of hope is present in that there is a rise in Charter Schools (10% growth per year) which is a direct response to the poor performance and dissatisfaction in low income, minority areas so far. My hope is that this trend spreads and thereby puts pressure on the monopoly of public K-12 education. Competition raises the bar! Good luck and hang in there. Hope your are able to participate in Site Councils, Bond committees, follow that School Board of yours, and talk to anyone who is willing to listen.

        • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

          If you think charters are doing something for achievement you have not paid attention to the research, Likewise, if you think competition has done something for education you need to check the report done by the National Research Council on that topic. While you're at it, you might check out the books by Diane Ravitch who, as a member of the Heritage Foundation, and present for the "big bang" of market based education, had … Read More

          If you think charters are doing something for achievement you have not paid attention to the research, Likewise, if you think competition has done something for education you need to check the report done by the National Research Council on that topic. While you’re at it, you might check out the books by Diane Ravitch who, as a member of the Heritage Foundation, and present for the “big bang” of market based education, had her epiphany. It’s somewhat amusing as she relates how conservatives had injected some “market theory’ into education and then, after several years of these antics, she was sitting in an auditorium listening to the various Heritage guys talk about the “success.” Charters: nothing much going on. Vouchers: a decade of trials in at least two major US cities and–nothing happening. “Test based accountability: Nada, Zip, Zilch.

          You have a lot of catching up to do. No time to waste. Have fun!

          • Tom 1 year ago1 year ago

            Come on Gary, I know your life has been in education so why do you deliberately distort the true about the success of Charters? Of course there are some poorly run Charters but those can be closed if need be. Failing public schools don’t close, just have more money thrown at them. We need to do better with the money we have because Brown is not going to get us more.

        • Manuel 1 year ago1 year ago

          Uh, no, competition might be good for the marketplace but it stinks in public education because if a school fails a year has been wasted. Sure, many will say that this is what is going at public schools and that is why we "need reform." Well, I know when the same metrics are applied to that paragon of successful reform, Locke High School, that it is all a Potemkin Village. Sure, they'll trot out their statistics … Read More

          Uh, no, competition might be good for the marketplace but it stinks in public education because if a school fails a year has been wasted.

          Sure, many will say that this is what is going at public schools and that is why we “need reform.”

          Well, I know when the same metrics are applied to that paragon of successful reform, Locke High School, that it is all a Potemkin Village. Sure, they’ll trot out their statistics about nearly all their students going to a four year college. But when you take a look at what CSU says about their level of preparation ALL of them require serious remediation, something you don’t see with public schools.

          Then if you dig deeper and analyze the tables published by UCLA’s CRESST (Reports 799 and 815) you’ll realize that there was great churn in their cohorts leading to reorganization, cherry picking, and a graduating class way smaller than what they started with. It is all smoke and mirrors.

          And if you think that charter operators across the board welcome parent input at school site councils and the like, you are seriously misinformed. Just be careful on what you say, how you say it, and to whom.

          Good luck, Tom, you are going to need it.

          • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

            Like I said, you haven't done your homework re the research. Come back and talk when you have. About being a lifelong educator. That's a bit of an exaggeration as I was around 30 when I first started and had a fairly eventful life prior to that.; however, it's not too far off the mark. It's amazing to me how many of the current self-styles reformers have no education experience. Arne Duncan to start. Joel Klein … Read More

            Like I said, you haven’t done your homework re the research. Come back and talk when you have.

            About being a lifelong educator. That’s a bit of an exaggeration as I was around 30 when I first started and had a fairly eventful life prior to that.; however, it’s not too far off the mark.

            It’s amazing to me how many of the current self-styles reformers have no education experience. Arne Duncan to start. Joel Klein formerly in New York. The lady who runs TFA. Bill Gates!!! Welch, the tech billionaire behind Vergara. The now shadowy Michelle Rhee was the veteran of the group, with three whole years in a classroom that she distorted in her resume.

            But anyway, it’s weird that actually working a lifetime in schools with kids has so limited a weight in some quarters, while working to further your own interests in some totally unrelated field gives you some strange kind of “authority.” Go figure.

            • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

              Gary, you can cling to the idea that charters do no better than TPSs and have not fostered beneficial competition, you may even have a reasonable point, but it just doesn't matter any more. Charters have taken off and there's no going back. They will continue to spread, continue to eat into traditional public participation and continue to improve as time goes by. Surely it isn't a fair playing field when charters don't have … Read More

              Gary, you can cling to the idea that charters do no better than TPSs and have not fostered beneficial competition, you may even have a reasonable point, but it just doesn’t matter any more. Charters have taken off and there’s no going back. They will continue to spread, continue to eat into traditional public participation and continue to improve as time goes by. Surely it isn’t a fair playing field when charters don’t have to follow the myriad laws that govern traditional schools. You can complain the day through but none of it will make a bit of difference now. The monopoly has fallen like the Berlin Wall. It’s a new day and you’re livin’ in the past.

            • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

              Gary, without Welch we'd have no one complaining bad teachers last decades, just someone from the union lying to us telling us they are really concerned and will police their own. Without Rhee and Gates we'd have what we had, well, in 1995. That was so wonderful Gary. People were graduating high school illiterate and we were, as now, behind most advanced industrialized nations. People without experience did more for education … Read More

              Gary, without Welch we’d have no one complaining bad teachers last decades, just someone from the union lying to us telling us they are really concerned and will police their own. Without Rhee and Gates we’d have what we had, well, in 1995. That was so wonderful Gary. People were graduating high school illiterate and we were, as now, behind most advanced industrialized nations. People without experience did more for education of poor and disadvantaged children than those with decades of experience.

              Sometimes you need someone from outside the system. The system perpetuates itself and becomes incapable of change. No one could pass a lie detector test who has taught 30 years if they said teachers never take days off when perfectly healthy and that we wouldn’t improve education for many children by firing the bottom 5% of teachers. However, they say it constantly. Self interest blinds many from the truth, so if you want a system only teachers with extensive seniority, which under the current system gives them unfair benefits not related to achievement of their students, you will never change the biggest problem with the system as we know it.

              Remember David Welch set out to use his fortune, which he earned, to help educate children, and when he asked principals what they would like him to help pay for most, they said it wasn’t monetary. They said they wanted to control their own workforce the way David Welch got wealthy by controlling his, by rewarding high performers and laying off slackers. I’ve said this before, but you are part of the denial fest crowd and like to pretend that principal never said that to David Welch.

            • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

              That’s the sprit don! Who cares if it’s good for kids. That was never really the point anyway.

            • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

              Navigio, I send one of my own children to a charter school and I don't do it because I think it is not in his best interests .You're misconstruing what I was trying to say. My point, apparently having not made it clear the first time, is that whatever sales pitches were part of the formative era of charters are overridden now by the sheer popularity of the phenomenon. It's pointless to contend … Read More

              Navigio, I send one of my own children to a charter school and I don’t do it because I think it is not in his best interests .You’re misconstruing what I was trying to say. My point, apparently having not made it clear the first time, is that whatever sales pitches were part of the formative era of charters are overridden now by the sheer popularity of the phenomenon. It’s pointless to contend that TPSs have not benefited from competition when charters themselves are in such high demand they provide their own existential impetus. Why fault charter schools for being popular? There was no corporate reformer propagandizing me about the school I sent my son to. It sold itself because it offered opportunities not available from other public schools. If you’ve read some of my comments on charters you will know that I also have my criticisms and advocate for greater transparency. But I could say the same for TPSs, too. I think Manuel was correct in a recent comment in response to Tom that charters, in general, are not particularly responsive to their communities. But again, I don’t think the TPSs to which I sent my kids were either.

            • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

              Floyd, there’s no love for education in your world. It’s all about pushing down teachers and pressing children to cram for tests. You’re more concerned whether a teacher shows up for back-to-school night then whether that teacher sparks your child’s imagination. Didn’t you get enough hugs in the formative years?

            • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

              Don, I love education and find it fascinating. I work on it with my kids all the time. As you know I went to Lowell and Cal and love education. I don't agree with the Tiger Mom on everything, but she was right that when you work hard, subjects become more interesting. Teachers need to be there to teach. When the kids get to school and hear there will be … Read More

              Don, I love education and find it fascinating. I work on it with my kids all the time. As you know I went to Lowell and Cal and love education. I don’t agree with the Tiger Mom on everything, but she was right that when you work hard, subjects become more interesting. Teachers need to be there to teach. When the kids get to school and hear there will be a sub today, they learn very little that day. It hurts them. When they are lazy and don’t study, the subject becomes boring. Hard work makes school more interesting. Teachers who have charisma are great, and that’s part of why I support differentiating teachers. The lax attitude on fake days missed causes several days a year on average the kids have no regular teacher. That doesn’t mean I don’t admire charismatic teachers and subjects.

            • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

              I got your point the first time: popularity trumps quality. I don't even disagree that that's what's happening. What I do disagree with is that being good; a cause for celebration and not lament. Why fault charters for being popular? Simple: because popularity doesn't help kids, that's why. Public policy does not equate with good public policy (in fact often just the opposite) and is not a valid measure for the 'quality' of a strategy. … Read More

              I got your point the first time: popularity trumps quality. I don’t even disagree that that’s what’s happening. What I do disagree with is that being good; a cause for celebration and not lament. Why fault charters for being popular? Simple: because popularity doesn’t help kids, that’s why. Public policy does not equate with good public policy (in fact often just the opposite) and is not a valid measure for the ‘quality’ of a strategy. Neither is the fact that something is inevitable. Drug addiction is existential impetus. So is McDonald’s. So is mob rule. So is violence, revenge and war.
              And saying TPSs benefit from charters is like saying native Americans benefited from Europeans. In the wake of the tide of human history it may, in fact, as you say, be pointless to state the contrary, but not because it is correct, rather because the truth no longer matters. No consolation.

            • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

              Navigio, I think the fantastical, poetic sentiment expressed in your comment would have more creative appeal if the premise was at least logical instead of simply prosaic. I don't and you're not going to be able to fool people with this liberal line of philosophic fantasy. You're engaging in a sophistic argument predicated on your low assessment of the proper and reasonable discretion of parents for whom you assume the the best interests of their … Read More

              Navigio, I think the fantastical, poetic sentiment expressed in your comment would have more creative appeal if the premise was at least logical instead of simply prosaic. I don’t and you’re not going to be able to fool people with this liberal line of philosophic fantasy. You’re engaging in a sophistic argument predicated on your low assessment of the proper and reasonable discretion of parents for whom you assume the the best interests of their own children is unknown to them. You wish to replace their ignorance and naiveté with your own aristocratic version of what constitutes good liberal-minded public policy – “for the good of the unenlightened”.

              Your assumption is that “popularity trumps quality”, as though the two were mutually exclusive. On what basis do you conclude charters are lower quality? Why do you assume that the parents of more than half a million students collectively attending over 1200 charters in California are driven by the same negative human impulses that have led to “violence, revenge, war”? You dismiss the parental drive to better their children’s lot and go so far to belittle this drive by assuming charter participation is akin to the poor behavioral habit of eating junk food. Your understanding of the human condition must be pretty dismal if you think parents are sending their kids to charter schools they know to be inferior when they have the choice not to. If anything, it’s the opposite. Parents have to send their kids to traditional public schools they know are inferior because they don’t have a choice due to supply and demand or finances.

              Your preference for the good old days of public education is a form of nostalgia. You harken back to the time of a union-driven, monolithic and monopolistic public education paradigm that existed free of any entanglements respecting the aspirations of parents who yearn for more than the singular and absolute ideas of your brand of populist public education – a paradigm that would condone the liberal bias you bring with you, cocked and ready in your holster to threaten those out of accord with your vision of the world knowing that he who controls education controls the vision. Hidden behind your distaste for charters is an elitist philosophy predicated on the notion that “good” public policy is the one that doesn’t take into consideration what you consider the ignorant views of the public we serve. You think you know best what is good for others, but you delude yourself if you think we are going to stand for your brand of elitism any longer.

            • el 1 year ago1 year ago

              A lot of the impetus that gets parents to move their kids to charter schools is because they hope there will be better peers for their student there. There is no question in my mind that better peers can improve a student's school experience and outcome. But, if this is what is happening, we need to acknowledge it and understand, then, that it's none of the other changes that are made that actually make a difference, … Read More

              A lot of the impetus that gets parents to move their kids to charter schools is because they hope there will be better peers for their student there.

              There is no question in my mind that better peers can improve a student’s school experience and outcome. But, if this is what is happening, we need to acknowledge it and understand, then, that it’s none of the other changes that are made that actually make a difference, and also that it’s not a solution that scales to 100% of the population.

              The possible bright spot in a way to harness it is to create schools with different programs and interests such that all kids can find a community where they are excited about school. If that’s what we’re doing, we need to understand and then do that.

            • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

              Isn't saying 'its illogical thus it must be' some kind of fallacy. Or is that just a special flavor of ad hominem? Why do you do that so much when you have so many other, less vindictive, things to offer? And how donly of you to label me an elitist sophist (doubly ironic they were criticized for pay to play education). But again you miss the point. Human impulses lead to many things. Some good, some … Read More

              Isn’t saying ‘its illogical thus it must be’ some kind of fallacy. Or is that just a special flavor of ad hominem? Why do you do that so much when you have so many other, less vindictive, things to offer?

              And how donly of you to label me an elitist sophist (doubly ironic they were criticized for pay to play education).

              But again you miss the point.

              Human impulses lead to many things. Some good, some bad. That is sufficient to show that they are neither inherently good nor bad, contrary to your ‘argument’ that demand must imply they are good. It is also true that does not imply they must be mutually exclusive (though where you got that I ever claimed any such thing I don’t know).

              As for the basis for lower quality, that was right at the beginning of your condescending response to Gary. I haven’t, in quite a while cited any charter quality metrics. That is your fallacy of guilt by association. As is your extrapolation of my comments to a belief in the good ol days, monoliths, union-driven and all that vindictive and label-y gobbledygook. You would do well to take the advice you give Floyd on reading.

              My concerns with charter policy (note my use of a compound noun) are different.

              And surprising that you think my supposed bias toward a liberal education is grounded in the belief that its (or my) ultimate goal is to indoctrinate children. Liberal, in the sense that it means anything at all, is grounded in the freedom of thought. Quite the antithesis of ‘controlling the vision’. I hope that statement of yours is not a slip that revealed why you’re really here. In contrast, it has never even occurred to me to try to control anyone’s vision through education. I can, however, see how that might be an effective claim to attempt to discredit me. Regardless, terms like liberal and populist and monolithic and monopolistic and even elitist are meaningless in such a forum. They serve nothing but to try to label, to evade and to reduce complex issues to simplistic and personal terms. Like I said, useless for any real conversation.

              Your claim that I supposedly see the public as ignorant seems to apparently instead imply that they are well-versed and appropriately educated on the points needed to make the best decision in all facets of their lives, including education of their children; and thusly is the correctness of those decisions validated. Balderdash. Nothing outside of the human attempt at logic is so polarized (except maybe politics). It’s more like a pseudo-deterministic r/d algorithm. People, whether ‘smart’ or not can make decisions for different reasons. They can make them based on gut or propaganda or on hope or on the stars. Sometimes they may even use ‘evidence’, but when they do even that is limited by subjectivity and extent of world-view. To claim such decisions are always (or even mostly) based on some objective idea of quality is absurd (even without recognizing that quality in that sense is likely immeasurable in objective terms anyway).

              And el’s point about scalability is right on. As long as the strategy is not scalable, it is inherently separatist. Without bothering to argue against separatism–it’s the American way after all–I don’t think its implementation within public education policy should be at the expense of the most disadvantaged people in our society. That is contrary to the very point of public education, at least as we define it’s goals today.

              In the end I believe charter policy will destroy the TPS system. I believe that’s even it’s intent now. You seem to be ok with and even happy about that. I’m not. But not for the reasons you believe.

            • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

              “...popularity doesn’t help kids, that’s why. Public policy [charter policy] does not equate with good public policy (in fact often just the opposite) and is not a valid measure for the ‘quality’ of a strategy.” Your reasoning is that the popularity itself of a choice (in this case choosing charter schools) doesn’t equate to a public good because people make mistakes in the choices they make. This is some kind of utilitarian argument you are making. … Read More

              “…popularity doesn’t help kids, that’s why. Public policy [charter policy] does not equate with good public policy (in fact often just the opposite) and is not a valid measure for the ‘quality’ of a strategy.”
              Your reasoning is that the popularity itself of a choice (in this case choosing charter schools) doesn’t equate to a public good because people make mistakes in the choices they make. This is some kind of utilitarian argument you are making. If choice is the cornerstone of a free democratic society, then removing choice is removing freedom, including the freedom to fail, which is part of the evolutionary process of public policy and democracy itself. So, from my thinking, the fact that charters may or may not beneficial is not cogent. The people of a free democratic society have the right to choose wrongly otherwise they are not indeed free. The larger issue is whether people have the right to choose or whether that right should be restricted. That reminds me of something else.

            • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

              Don is right. This is very paternalistic, very white-man’s burden colonial or socialist/communist. You masses are too stupid to know what’s good for you so we’ll help you with that by restricting your choices.

          • TheMorrigan 1 year ago1 year ago

            Don, the irony of your argument to navigio made me laugh. But you do “sound” convincing.

      • Gary Ravani 2 years ago2 years ago

        "Am I the only person in California that thinks this is wrong?" Probably not, but most that do likely live in Orange County. You need to get out more. Again just what programs do you want to put in place that don't call for "employees?" In the normal course of events employees would reasonably be earning more than they were in 2008. It is 2015 after all. So, what's the beef? Again, have you checked on what kind … Read More

        “Am I the only person in California that thinks this is wrong?”

        Probably not, but most that do likely live in Orange County. You need to get out more.

        Again just what programs do you want to put in place that don’t call for “employees?” In the normal course of events employees would reasonably be earning more than they were in 2008. It is 2015 after all. So, what’s the beef?

        Again, have you checked on what kind of reserves the district is sitting on?

        Employee compensation and deferred maintenance/building projects come from differing “pots,” both at the state and local levels.

        And the “big question,” again, why are lower class sizes and new building supposed to come out of the pockets of the employees? That, is, to the extent they don’t already do so. The union could call for class sizes of 50 and bargain for the savings. Isn’t it up to the parents and the school community to shoulder the burden? If not, why not?

        Under CA’s strangled revenue streams class sizes are around the largest in the nation. Eventually you have to deal with that. The lack of state revenues is the fundamental problem.

        • Don 2 years ago2 years ago

          It's hard to disagree with Gary's comment as much as I agree with Dawn's. Too bad students are always at the bottom of the food chain even if teachers insist that the tension between student needs and teacher needs is a false dichotomy. I always see public education through what happens in SFUSD as Dawn sees it through CUSD. With local control the differences between districts will grow larger as LEAs adopt their own … Read More

          It’s hard to disagree with Gary’s comment as much as I agree with Dawn’s. Too bad students are always at the bottom of the food chain even if teachers insist that the tension between student needs and teacher needs is a false dichotomy.

          I always see public education through what happens in SFUSD as Dawn sees it through CUSD. With local control the differences between districts will grow larger as LEAs adopt their own policies rather than fulfill mandates from Sacramento. At the same time, education is a constitutional obligation and the State has the ultimate responsibility to make good on that obligation. LCFF is mixing up a bunch of micro breweries that may not meet the standards of the state brewing authorities. This might give the Law a major case of indigestion as Cruz v CA shows us. Local control has handed the car keys to every school board, but ultimately the State is culpable. You can give your teenager the car – you can even let him turn it into a dragster, but ultimately you will have to pay the price when he drinks too much arrives home smashed with the axle trailing behind.

          • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

            “It’s hard to disagree with Gary’s comment as much as I agree with Dawn’s. Too bad students are always at the bottom of the food chain even if teachers insist that the tension between student needs and teacher needs is a false dichotomy.”

            Don- the bottom line is that there is no money to be made advocating for a student.

            Education is a bigger business than big oil – it is just that no one wants to admit that.

            • FloydThursby1941 2 years ago2 years ago

              Dawn, it's qualitatively different. Education is crucial to who we are as a nation and society and we need to improve it to provide equal opportunity and low poverty and a high quality of life. We need to improve it so the poor feel they have a chance in life compared to elites in private schools. Big oil makes money for companies, private wealthy people. Education mostly makes money for people who … Read More

              Dawn, it’s qualitatively different. Education is crucial to who we are as a nation and society and we need to improve it to provide equal opportunity and low poverty and a high quality of life. We need to improve it so the poor feel they have a chance in life compared to elites in private schools. Big oil makes money for companies, private wealthy people. Education mostly makes money for people who are underpaid and hard working. Don’t get me wrong, I support Vergara, but it is a small number of teachers who deserve firing, far more than the number that are being fired, but probably less than 5%. I agree the unions are wrong and put kids second, but no one is making billions. The oil companies encouraged the building of unsustainably sparse communities without good public transit to make billions for the 1%. Education is different. We differ over many details, but the goal is to close the achievement gap and provide everyone a chance for a good life.

        • Dawn Urbanek 2 years ago2 years ago

          In the normal course of events employees would reasonably be earning more than they were in 2008. It is 2015 after all. So, what’s the beef? I will tell you- Why should employee compensation be made whole... 100% back to to 2008 levels in 2014 and school District's are expected to spend 10% of their budget to pay for pension costs which the State and employees should fund not Districts which will amount to 10% of a … Read More

          In the normal course of events employees would reasonably be earning more than they were in 2008. It is 2015 after all. So, what’s the beef?

          I will tell you-

          Why should employee compensation be made whole… 100% back to to 2008 levels in 2014 and school District’s are expected to spend 10% of their budget to pay for pension costs which the State and employees should fund not Districts which will amount to 10% of a Districts budget. Yet Districts will not receive 2008 funding levels till 2021.

          At my District employee compensation and the new retirement contributions will equal 102% of the Districts total budget BEFORE any student services are offered.

          I now understand why only 22% of kids graduate from CUSD ready to take college level math. That is because no one in education can do simple math. Under LCFF any rich suburban school district will go bankrupt. The math does not work. The expenses far exceed any potential revenue.

          • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

            Dawn: I think your heart is in the right place, but sometimes you let your passion get way ahead of your thinking. You keep trying to create this false dichotomy between "services to students" and employees. What school services are you thinking of that don't involve employees? You express great concern about class size. Great. You understand that the only way to reduce class size is to hire more teachers, i.e., employees. There are characteristics for … Read More

            Dawn:

            I think your heart is in the right place, but sometimes you let your passion get way ahead of your thinking. You keep trying to create this false dichotomy between “services to students” and employees. What school services are you thinking of that don’t involve employees? You express great concern about class size. Great. You understand that the only way to reduce class size is to hire more teachers, i.e., employees. There are characteristics for districts in our state that consistently have low salaries for teachers and other support professionals, and that is, they have high levels of personnel “churn.” People come and work only for as long as it takes to find another district that offers reasonable compensation. They also have difficulty attracting educational specialists at any time. There are other reasons too for churn. Pay might not be the chief motivator for teachers, but they have families and children to take care of too. Having a competitive salary schedule, and 2008 levels may or may not be competitive, is a boon for schools and the children that attend them. There is also the “old saying” about bargaining for teachers’ working conditions is simultaneously bargaining for children’s learning conditions that always bears repeating. It makes sense that the majority of a districts budget is dedicated to personnel costs. It is those administrators, teachers, librarians, psychologists, counselors, clerks, secretaries, custodians, etc., etc., that are the “services” that go to students.

            The bottom line is, if a district prioritizes teachers and other instructional personnel (employees), it is prioritizing student interests.

            About pension costs: that is a more complicated question that has been dealt with previously at this site and no doubt will be again. At a fundamental level, it is “deferred compensation.” If you don’t want it deferred the state will have to offer it up front, and that gets into all kinds of other problems in a state in the bottom decile nationally for school funding. Then there are the “arguments” (mostly by billionaire who don’t have a care about retirement) for cutting pensions. I suggest you get a book called “Shock Doctrine” to get a perspective on that. I also suggest you go outside Orange County to get the book or risk being surrounded by folks with pitchforks and tiki torches. (That last was a little “humor.” I have good friends who live in Orange County.)

            • Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

              Gary Stated: "The bottom line is, if a district prioritizes teachers and other instructional personnel (employees), it is prioritizing student interests." I don't know how you can say that when our District is furloughing students to increase employee compensation. We have cut $150 million from our one $470 million dollar budget yet the Teachers salary schedule has only been reduced by 1.2% (and has already been restored). How do you cut a budget by 30% but leave … Read More

              Gary Stated: “The bottom line is, if a district prioritizes teachers and other instructional personnel (employees), it is prioritizing student interests.”

              I don’t know how you can say that when our District is furloughing students to increase employee compensation.

              We have cut $150 million from our one $470 million dollar budget yet the Teachers salary schedule has only been reduced by 1.2% (and has already been restored). How do you cut a budget by 30% but leave the 90% of the budget that goes to employee compensation untouched?

            • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

              And, Dawn, you are still dodging the question: What “services” to students do you want that does not involve employees delivering the services?

          • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

            “I don’t know how you can say that when our District is furloughing students to increase employee compensation.”

            What is that statement supposed to mean?

            • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

              I think it means reducing instructional days while increasing compensation.

            • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

              The union demanded all lay offs be based on seniority. This not only has the effect of reducing power of principals and administrators but the teachers who are bad and survive decades are the highest paid. Therefore a higher number have to be laid off and/or furlough days have to happen. Firing by ability would make people feel more pressure, call in sick less and would save districts money of long-lasting lemons … Read More

              The union demanded all lay offs be based on seniority. This not only has the effect of reducing power of principals and administrators but the teachers who are bad and survive decades are the highest paid. Therefore a higher number have to be laid off and/or furlough days have to happen. Firing by ability would make people feel more pressure, call in sick less and would save districts money of long-lasting lemons like Pang at Lowell were fired. Ironically Pang is paid far more than many excellent teachers due to seniority.

            • Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

              I mean that Our District negotiated behind closed doors (Union elected Board members who state on the record how important it is for them to "show solidarity for District Employees" ) to delay entering into new contracts so that the budget could be based on COLA + New LCFF money - hence the trigger to salary restoration, Had they bargained in good faith a new contract would have been entered into by June 30 - … Read More

              I mean that Our District negotiated behind closed doors (Union elected Board members who state on the record how important it is for them to “show solidarity for District Employees” ) to delay entering into new contracts so that the budget could be based on COLA + New LCFF money – hence the trigger to salary restoration, Had they bargained in good faith a new contract would have been entered into by June 30 – but by delaying they unilaterally stated that restoration language had been triggered. Hence all the new LCFF money went to salaries and THEN the District decide what to cut to balance the budget.

              Oh surprise- they used class size increases and furlough days.

              Well – no new contract this year either- because the District is looking at $1.8 million in fines for “overcrowded classrooms” – I have news for the Union in my District – there is nothing left to cut from anywhere except employee compensation… unless you want to furlough kids and pay teachers not to teach.

              My Trustees should all be in jail for breach of fiduciary duty- but hey there is no money to be made in actually representing the kids. It is all about adult jobs.

            • Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

              California should just throw out the Ed Code and most sections of the Government Code- they are not enforced.

            • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

              Some issues here , Dawn. Contracts are negotiated based a set of proposals put forth by the union and then a set of counter-proposals put out by the administration/board. Both of these documents must be available to the public and available for public comment days before that are approved by the board (to be negotiated) during a public meeting whose agenda has been publicly posted. All of this is covered by CA's Brown Act, aka, "Sunshine … Read More

              Some issues here , Dawn.

              Contracts are negotiated based a set of proposals put forth by the union and then a set of counter-proposals put out by the administration/board. Both of these documents must be available to the public and available for public comment days before that are approved by the board (to be negotiated) during a public meeting whose agenda has been publicly posted. All of this is covered by CA’s Brown Act, aka, “Sunshine Laws.”

              Negotiations, often dealing with personnel issues, are always confidential and “behind closed doors,” so to speak. Frequently, you can go to the district and find minutes of bargaining at some later date.

              So, you are suggesting that your district is not meeting the state required minimum days of instruction for this year? The minimum was “suspended” for a couple of years during the financial industry driven recession, but I believe the minimum requirements are now back. It possibly could have been waived by the SBE, if so, I haven’t heard of it. And, the only way a district “saves” expenses is when they furlough students (ADA being the source of school funding) and furlough employees. Employees don’t get paid for furlough days, though they may get compensated for work/professional development days when students are not in schools. That is not an excuse for not meeting the state minimum instructional days requirement though.

              So, what do you mean?

              Oh, and while we are at it, what “services” to students do you want to see implemented that don’t require employees to delver them?

        • Caroline Grannan 1 year ago1 year ago

          The phrase “in this state” in Tom’s comment raises questions: What states ARE successful in education? What states serve as examples in which large numbers of charters have led to improvement in the overall school system?

          • Tom 1 year ago1 year ago

            Contrary to the claims above that Charters are no better than public schools, Gary et al need to get up to speed on the latest data and not rely on older studies. Best example I can think to look is the Charter success in NY city, Harlem, and you'll find it. Not only that but 100's of families are on wait lists trying to get their kids out of the poorly run public … Read More

            Contrary to the claims above that Charters are no better than public schools, Gary et al need to get up to speed on the latest data and not rely on older studies. Best example I can think to look is the Charter success in NY city, Harlem, and you’ll find it. Not only that but 100’s of families are on wait lists trying to get their kids out of the poorly run public schools there. More will be evident as time goes on. Charters are being added in San Jose at a rapid pace, and parents are lining up. These Charters are run by extremely motivated and passionate leaders operating without the limits of collective bargaining, and anyone without an agenda can see that it will improve outcomes. No teacher tenure, performance goals, evaluations based on performance of the kids, and the ability to let go teachers that don’t cut it.

            Union advocates like Gary will spend a lot of time trying to discrete people like me not afraid to say the emperor has no clothes, and also try to discredit studies that show unionized public school monopolies are not working well. They want to preserve the status quo.

            Note Gary’s rather weak response to the question about District’s having to pick up most of tab to rescue teachers pensions. The tragic part is that Districts will no doubt have to increase class sizes and cut programs, which hurts the students, but also means fewer teachers! Why can’t the CTA get on board with this and help the Districts pressure moon beam Brown to get the money elsewhere? They must have a reason, but I just don’t get it.

            • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

              Tom, we are getting well off the topic, but I'd like to respond. Gary is using EdSource to push his narrative of "charter bad". When he says there's nothing going on at charters that's in stark contrast to the explosion in charter school applications, openings and long wait lists. He would like us to believe the students aren't really learning at the charter school, but are simply dupes of a corporate reform … Read More

              Tom, we are getting well off the topic, but I’d like to respond. Gary is using EdSource to push his narrative of “charter bad”. When he says there’s nothing going on at charters that’s in stark contrast to the explosion in charter school applications, openings and long wait lists. He would like us to believe the students aren’t really learning at the charter school, but are simply dupes of a corporate reform PR campaign. So if my child isn’t learning much and is only pretending to, how does that work? Whether charters and the competition they create will positively impact other schools I don’t know. I do know that they are in very high demand.

              One point that hasn’t been discussed is the effect of CCSS on charter competition with TPSs. It is my understanding that charters in California have embraced CCSS. With Common Core as the new standards and with TPS teachers in semi-revolt over them, this sets up a scenario in which charters are likely to do a better job of implementing them, resulting in a better outcome. If teachers are not on board with CCSS they likely won’t keep their job at a charter. In a TPS they can complain all they like and still stay employed. I feel sorry for those teachers as CCSS is one of the largest overreaches by the federal government in the history of the country and an entirely untested national standard.

              It will go down as the biggest failed reform fad in history. Pedagogical development is an incremental, progressive and evolutionary endeavor, not a baseball season that ends and then starts all over again.

            • CarolineSF 1 year ago1 year ago

              OK, I'll take this one on. I'm asking what states or cities or regions or districts are successful because they have a lot of charters. That specific question, not "are there any good charters?" Yes, charters are free to cherry-pick and they do, so certainly there are successful charters -- just as if PS12345 down the street could pick only the students it wanted and keep out or kick out the rest, its achievement would soar. … Read More

              OK, I’ll take this one on.

              I’m asking what states or cities or regions or districts are successful because they have a lot of charters. That specific question, not “are there any good charters?”

              Yes, charters are free to cherry-pick and they do, so certainly there are successful charters — just as if PS12345 down the street could pick only the students it wanted and keep out or kick out the rest, its achievement would soar. Honest charter advocates say yes, it’s true that charters do that, and what’s wrong with that? (“Floyd” and Don among them). Most of the charter sector denies it, though.

              That’s why it’s relevant and important to ask what states or cities or regions or districts are successful because they have a lot of charters. Not “are there any good charters” or “what individual charters or small charter chains are good.” Different question.

              Next, Tom says: “Charters are run by extremely motivated and passionate leaders operating without the limits of collective bargaining, and anyone without an agenda can see that it will improve outcomes. No teacher tenure, performance goals, evaluations based on performance of the kids, and the ability to let go teachers that don’t cut it.”

              OK, but let’s look at states. You tell us: What states have the weakest or no union protections, including for teachers? (pause to list some that you know, or to Google right-to-work states) Now: Are those the states with the best public schools and the highest academic attainment? This is not a difficult thesis to test.

            • Caroline Grannan 1 year ago1 year ago

              I'm correcting my question to refer specifically to states, not districts, since that's what Tom originally said. Individual districts can be too easily subject to temporary hypepaloozas, as we've seen over and over again in the history of education "reform" fads, while that's not so likely to happen with entire states. So, what charter-friendly state has shown improvement because of its charters? Google extremely charter-friendly Ohio and take a look, for example. And while we're … Read More

              I’m correcting my question to refer specifically to states, not districts, since that’s what Tom originally said. Individual districts can be too easily subject to temporary hypepaloozas, as we’ve seen over and over again in the history of education “reform” fads, while that’s not so likely to happen with entire states. So, what charter-friendly state has shown improvement because of its charters? Google extremely charter-friendly Ohio and take a look, for example. And while we’re at it, what union-unfriendly state demonstrates the academic success that confirms the widespread belief that teachers’ unions are the scourge of education?

            • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

              Caroline, we are well off topic so I will make only one brief reply. If at all, competition and collaboration between charters and TSPs takes place at the local level. That LAUSD has lots of charters has no bearing on whether any SFUSD schools have improved. Most school districts don't take too kindly to the competition and are unlikely to have a collaborative relationship, a reality that rules out any synergistic benefits. Where competition has … Read More

              Caroline, we are well off topic so I will make only one brief reply.

              If at all, competition and collaboration between charters and TSPs takes place at the local level. That LAUSD has lots of charters has no bearing on whether any SFUSD schools have improved. Most school districts don’t take too kindly to the competition and are unlikely to have a collaborative relationship, a reality that rules out any synergistic benefits. Where competition has driven quality I believe to be within the charter sector itself. As charters are typically not neighborhood schools, they draw from the entire region and compete against one another for applicants.

              As far as successful collaboration, DC and Denver come to mind. District and charter leaderships there have acknowledged the effects that choice has brought to their areas and have made efforts to share best practices.

              I think you overstate the case for charter selectivity, particularly regarding admissions. Charter law requires a lottery and unless you are claiming flagrant tampering with the lottery results, the charge is unfounded as it pertains to the sector in general, though exceptions are noted. In SFUSD the district runs the lottery. Charter attrition is a stickier issue and harder to evaluate. Finally, anecdotal as it is, I have see no indication that my charter does any of the things you attribute to charters, with the one exception of changing an application deadline which was entirely legal if not exactly the best choice and has since been rectified.

            • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

              Lotteries are only for people who apply. Marketing is very good at selectivity. Addressing that issue could be achieved by making the lottery use the entire pool of local students, ie with no one having to ask to be part of it. This would be complicated by cross-district attendance and charter authorizers, not to mention the logistical overhead. There are other ways access to the lottery can be restricted. Attrition is more than sticky. (There … Read More

              Lotteries are only for people who apply. Marketing is very good at selectivity. Addressing that issue could be achieved by making the lottery use the entire pool of local students, ie with no one having to ask to be part of it. This would be complicated by cross-district attendance and charter authorizers, not to mention the logistical overhead. There are other ways access to the lottery can be restricted.
              Attrition is more than sticky. (There are even schools where parents force out families). Charter law should at least require better visibility into enrollment shifts.

            • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

              Heard of "Rocket Ship Schools?" There's plenty here on this site. Look up the CEO's recent comments on its success and expansion plans [sic]. Check LAUSD shutting down some of the "passionate" ones because their leaders illegally discriminated against learning disabled students. A problem with charters everywhere. Check out the UCLA Civil Rights Center on charters' impacts on segregation in the state. Just google charter school & segregation. A problem with charters everywhere. Charters have a huge problem … Read More

              Heard of “Rocket Ship Schools?” There’s plenty here on this site. Look up the CEO’s recent comments on its success and expansion plans [sic].

              Check LAUSD shutting down some of the “passionate” ones because their leaders illegally discriminated against learning disabled students. A problem with charters everywhere.

              Check out the UCLA Civil Rights Center on charters’ impacts on segregation in the state. Just google charter school & segregation. A problem with charters everywhere.

              Charters have a huge problem with high teacher turnover, or “personnel churn.” Like any kind of institution that is bad for the participants and those who are served.

              The schools you seem to revere in NY have all of these problems and more.

              And then we get to all of the financial scandals with charters. Again, do the research.

              As far as I am aware no one has done anything on charters that substantially supersedes the CREDO findings of a few years ago: one fifth of charters outperform their regular local public school, two fifths are no different in performance, and two fifths are worse. Not much a a track record in terms of “achievement:” the “coin of the realm.” (Not my choice for “coin of the realm.”)

              When you log off this site, look up, there’s likely a search engine there. The truth is out there!

            • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

              Why do you insist on turning a thread about construction bonds into one about charters. SFUSD discriminates against special ed minorities regularly. In fact, they actively seek to remove special ed services from AA students simply because the number of identified students exceed the percentage of the population. You may not be aware that many charters cannot join the district SELPA and are hamstrung as a result. This might discourage special ed programs at charters … Read More

              Why do you insist on turning a thread about construction bonds into one about charters.

              SFUSD discriminates against special ed minorities regularly. In fact, they actively seek to remove special ed services from AA students simply because the number of identified students exceed the percentage of the population. You may not be aware that many charters cannot join the district SELPA and are hamstrung as a result. This might discourage special ed programs at charters and applications as a result.

              SFUSD charter schools are far more diverse than TPSs on average. Not a problem everywhere.

              Until LCFF charter received less per pupil which hurt the staffing and affected churn. The problem of teachers leaving the profession is not exclusive to charters as you well know.

              SFUSD had its own financial scandal not long ago when administrators embezzled fortunes.

              No matter, people know what they need and the industry is exploding, but not in the way you’d want.

              Public education is troubled, but charters are not the cause of this trouble. They are an outgrowth of it. Clean your own house. Going after charter has its place when it is constructive. You and Caroline engage in stereotyping, generalization, hyperbole, etc. to try and promulgate a narrative. Guess what? It’s not working.

          • CarolineSF 1 year ago1 year ago

            Agreed; off topic; I was asking about a state whose educational outcomes were improved by its embrace of charters. Don. Gateway is notorious. It's egregious. It's flamboyant. It has been for years. Fingers in ears much? I freaked out the admissions director a few years ago by calling them out publicly when a low-income, limited-English immigrant mom couldn't work their application process (so conveniently, and obviously intentionally, for Gateway). If I had access to privately e-mail … Read More

            Agreed; off topic; I was asking about a state whose educational outcomes were improved by its embrace of charters.

            Don. Gateway is notorious. It’s egregious. It’s flamboyant. It has been for years. Fingers in ears much? I freaked out the admissions director a few years ago by calling them out publicly when a low-income, limited-English immigrant mom couldn’t work their application process (so conveniently, and obviously intentionally, for Gateway). If I had access to privately e-mail you I’d be regaling you. OK, sorry, way, way off topic.

        • Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

          This is in response to Gary from a couple of days ago Education requires more than just a staff. There are books- educational programs- building maintenance- electricity etc etc. When budgets are tight a District must decide where to make cuts. Money can be spent to hire enough teachers to keep class size at reasonable levels, or the teachers can vote to accept larger class sizes in an effort to maintain maximum compensation levels. CUSD has cut … Read More

          This is in response to Gary from a couple of days ago

          Education requires more than just a staff. There are books- educational programs- building maintenance- electricity etc etc.

          When budgets are tight a District must decide where to make cuts. Money can be spent to hire enough teachers to keep class size at reasonable levels, or the teachers can vote to accept larger class sizes in an effort to maintain maximum compensation levels.

          CUSD has cut $152.9 million dollars from its budget since 2006 (30% of it’s total budget). For the past ten years, CUSD has maintained maximum employee compensation balancing its budget with increased class sizes and cuts to student programs.

          CUSD is facing $1.8 million in fines for its class sizes-

          Average Class Sizes

          Kindergarten 30.5 to 1
          Grades 1-5 31.5 to 1
          Grades 6-8 32.5 to 1
          Grades 9-12 34.5 to 1

          We have many schools with academic classes with over 40 students.

          If we are going to be intentionally underfunded then I would rather see salary schedule reductions for employees than continued class size increases.

          for details see: http://disclosurecusd.blogspot.com/2015/01/capistrano-unified-school-district-to.html

          2006-2007 & 2007-2008 – $10.5 million
          2008-2009 – $20.5 million
          2009-2010 (April 2009) – $25.6 million
          2009-2010 (September 2009) – $7.8 million
          2010-2011 – $34.9 million less $
          2011-2012 – $ 9.6 million
          2012-2013 – $30 million
          2013-2014 Reductions $14 million

          In 2013-14 the District used LFCC money to restore salaries and after that looked for $14 million in cuts – (class size increase all grades) + furlough days.

          The average total compensation for a Teacher in CUSD is $105,000 per year for 183 days of service.

          Despite the fact that CUSD has cut $152 million from its budget since 2006- the CUSD teacher salary schedule has only decreased by 1.2%. That was in 2010 as a result of the 2010 Teachers Union strike mediation agreement.

          LOCAL CONTROL ACCOUNTABILITY PLAN

          The “new” Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) legislation is designed to address funding inequities, and give school districts more “flexibility in spending decisions”. “Parent Involvement” and “Student Engagement” are among new priorities spelled out in the Law to ensure “accountability”.

          While many Districts were reaching out to parents with informational meetings regarding LCFF and LCAP; without any public input, CUSD unilaterally negotiated behind closed doors to use $5.622 million of the $8.24 million in new LCFF funding to restore salaries from the 2010 Teachers Strike. This is an example of what the Local Control Accountability Plan is trying to prevent. The new law includes parents and the public in budget and policy decisions in order to prevent Districts from using money solely for increased salaries and benefits for Staff.

          • Gary Ravani 1 year ago1 year ago

            Dawn: You still don't understand. Textbook funds are different category than general funds that would be available for bargaining. But, that was your idea of "services?" Textbooks? Since the new CCSS aligned texts are not available yet, it's a good thing your district didn't waste its dollars. The entire state had education funding cut. Not just your district. Every district is building back towards 2008 levels of funding. Everyone, because of the improvements in the economy and Prop … Read More

            Dawn:

            You still don’t understand. Textbook funds are different category than general funds that would be available for bargaining.

            But, that was your idea of “services?” Textbooks? Since the new CCSS aligned texts are not available yet, it’s a good thing your district didn’t waste its dollars.

            The entire state had education funding cut. Not just your district. Every district is building back towards 2008 levels of funding. Everyone, because of the improvements in the economy and Prop 30 (OMG! Taxes!) the system might get there before 2018.

            The fact that students in various categories (i.e., free and reduced) may get more funding is well established as “constitutional” as in ESEA/Title I and IDEA.

            And again, you would prefer class size reduction come out of the pockets of employees rather than parents? How nice. You want great services but no increased taxes? Well, you can’t have it both ways. Much of the population of CA operates under the same delusion. Great “everything” that the state provides but no new taxes. Dream on. CA is a mediocre tax state with the second highest cost-of-living in the nation. More than half the state budget already goes to education and we remain 46th in the nation in funding. Do the math.

            Organize a drive for a parcel tax in your district that will be devoted to class size reduction. That would be constructive.

            • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

              Gary, you said: "Textbook funds are different category than general funds that would be available for bargaining." From CDE Instructional Materials FAQS: "To purchase instructional materials, LEAs may use Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funds or proposition 20 lottery funds." This is different than under the former categoricals, the defunct Instructional Materials Funding Realignment Program (IMFRP). Is there some state requirement to exclude costs for instructional materials from the district pot of LCFF funding for the purposes … Read More

              Gary, you said: “Textbook funds are different category than general funds that would be available for bargaining.”

              From CDE Instructional Materials FAQS:

              “To purchase instructional materials, LEAs may use Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funds or proposition 20 lottery funds.”

              This is different than under the former categoricals, the defunct Instructional Materials Funding Realignment Program (IMFRP).

              Is there some state requirement to exclude costs for instructional materials from the district pot of LCFF funding for the purposes of bargaining? Where is that described in the law?

              Dawn, Gary is wrong about California as a mediocre tax state as everyone one except him a few other ostriches knows.

              forbes.com/sites/robertwood/2014/10/28/california-ranks-48th-of-50-states-hardly-golden/

              One issue that exacerbates the problem for you, Dawn, and for everyone else is this: under LCFF salary hikes must come from base grant funding as SC grant funding has to go specifically to address the needs of those groups. That means the non-target student must subsidize the price of teachers for the target student.

              Where I agree with Gary and so many others is on the need for more education funding, but not from new taxes. The reason we are near highest in taxes, but near lowest in spending is due to how we spend all the rest of the state budget, not due to lack of a healthy tax base. So it comes back to your point that CA simply has higher priorities that abiding the state constitution… much to the detriment of our children and future. Your are right on point.

          • el 1 year ago1 year ago

            Dawn, I'm sympathetic to your concerns about high class sizes. That's not a good situation and I too would be fighting it. In your district, the union and the district can negotiate to spend money on more staff or on better salaries for the existing staff. Cutting salaries is always going to be a very hard sell. Even if you can get the contract negotiated, if the teachers aren't on board with that as being in … Read More

            Dawn, I’m sympathetic to your concerns about high class sizes. That’s not a good situation and I too would be fighting it.

            In your district, the union and the district can negotiate to spend money on more staff or on better salaries for the existing staff. Cutting salaries is always going to be a very hard sell. Even if you can get the contract negotiated, if the teachers aren’t on board with that as being in their interest, the loss of morale and retention would continue to reverberate through your schools. If you truly want that, you’re not going to get a good outcome by forcing it on the teachers via state legislation or any similar strongarm tactic – you’re going to need to convince teachers that the stress relief and better working conditions that they’ll get from smaller class sizes is worth a cut in salary. What else can you offer teachers that doesn’t cost money?

            You are in a very high cost area, and comparing your average salary to averages around the state isn’t going to accurately reflect your labor market.

            Textbooks are not really a big driver of budgets, and as Gary notes, most districts have been putting off textbook purchases if they can until new Common Core materials are available. They don’t need to be bought every year.

            The other way to reduce labor costs is to use retirement incentives. Whether that’s a good move is going to be very dependent on specific local conditions.

            • Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

              El- CUSD Did a very COSTLY EARLY RETIREMENT PLAN In 2012-2013 the District budget projected the Ratio of Employee Compensation to General Fund Expenses to be 101% of the Districts Budget climbing to 114% of the General Fund Budget for the subsequent two years. To bring the ratio down to the current 92.7%, the District implemented an early retirement plan. The cost of the plan was an additional expense of $2.44 million per year for 5 years. The … Read More

              El-

              CUSD Did a very COSTLY EARLY RETIREMENT PLAN

              In 2012-2013 the District budget projected the Ratio of Employee Compensation to General Fund Expenses to be 101% of the Districts Budget climbing to 114% of the General Fund Budget for the subsequent two years.

              To bring the ratio down to the current 92.7%, the District implemented an early retirement plan. The cost of the plan was an additional expense of $2.44 million per year for 5 years. The first year was paid for with a class size increase of 1.5 students across all grades. The District did not identify how it would pay for the remaining four years?

              * Note: It should be noted that in 2013- 2014 the average compensation (Salaries-Pensions-Benefits) for Certificated Employees increased by $10,000 on average per person.

              2012-13 Average Teacher Compensation: $ 95,673
              2013-14 Average Teacher Compensation: $105,340

              * A $10,000 average increase in Teacher compensation is outrageous given the fact that CUSD had to increase class sizes by 1.5 students in all grades, and had to use 3 instructional furlough days to balance its budget. Where is the accountability under the State’s new LCFF Law?

              Source: June 27, 2012 Public Disclosure of Collective Bargaining Agreement 2012- 2013
              http://capousd.ca.schoolloop.com/file/1229223560406/1218998864154/9066401469657812055.pdf at page 7

              Source: July 24, 2013 Public Disclosure of Collective Bargaining Agreement presented in a Memo from Clark Hampton, Deputy Superintendent, Business and Support Services to Trustees re: USE OF ADDITIONAL FUNDING FROM 2012-2013 TO 2013-2014 AND PUBLIC DISCLOSURE OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT 2013- 2014 http://capousd.ca.schoolloop.com/file/1343191429797/5667737573387975994.pdf at page 3

            • Dawn Urbanek 1 year ago1 year ago

              I met with our new Superintendent and expressed my concerns about funding going from $7,002 currently to a projected $8,500 in 2021 - how will we be able to afford the new pension costs- employee compensation will be over 100% of the budget with nothing for our District to lower class sizes and restore programs. The answer- We have all very old tenured teachers who all should be retiring in the next few years. There is … Read More

              I met with our new Superintendent and expressed my concerns about funding going from $7,002 currently to a projected $8,500 in 2021 – how will we be able to afford the new pension costs- employee compensation will be over 100% of the budget with nothing for our District to lower class sizes and restore programs.

              The answer-

              We have all very old tenured teachers who all should be retiring in the next few years. There is only an interest in keeping salaries as high as possible so that retirement will be based on that. Then I was told our expenses would come down because we could replace all of these retiring teachers with new teachers at 1/2 the cost.

              So students can look forward to class sizes of 40 with all novice teachers. Yeah!!! No one cares about what is in the best interest of students as long as teachers are paid well now and in retirement.

              I have a question? If max funding is at 2008 levels by 2021 why has compensation already been restored to 2008 levels with automatic COLA increase going forward?

            • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

              In an era dominated by concerns over equity in education opportunity, why are class sizes left (within certain limits) to the vagaries of collective bargaining? Recognizing the prime importance of class size (perhaps only second to teacher quality), it seems the height of inequality for some districts or schools to have 40 in a class ( like at my older son's school- your not alone, Dawn) while other schools in this district often have … Read More

              In an era dominated by concerns over equity in education opportunity, why are class sizes left (within certain limits) to the vagaries of collective bargaining? Recognizing the prime importance of class size (perhaps only second to teacher quality), it seems the height of inequality for some districts or schools to have 40 in a class ( like at my older son’s school- your not alone, Dawn) while other schools in this district often have 10-15. The answer is it is OK as long as the small classes are the underperforming students and to hell with the rest!

            • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

              Don, one thing going to Cal taught me is there is no limit to how big a class can be and still be effective if every student is motivated, respectful, hardworking and of strong character. However, a tiny class can seem huge if the students are disruptive and behave poorly. This is why expulsion and suspension helps rather than hurts poor kids. Some people end up failures, but at least we cut … Read More

              Don, one thing going to Cal taught me is there is no limit to how big a class can be and still be effective if every student is motivated, respectful, hardworking and of strong character. However, a tiny class can seem huge if the students are disruptive and behave poorly. This is why expulsion and suspension helps rather than hurts poor kids. Some people end up failures, but at least we cut our losses and don’t let them cause others to fail. I agree with a 2d and a 3d and even a 4th chance, but at some point if you aren’t proving you are trying to hep improve by action, it’s over, 30 other kids don’t owe you their time because you need attention and feel afflicted.

              At Lowell, you can have 40 kids and it is fine because they are of strong morals and character and study long hours. At another school, even 15 can seem too many, if kids are selfish and willing to ruin the learning of the whole class for the therapeutic benefits of self-amusement making others angry and disrupting the class and getting attention.

              In short, it’s a question of moral values. If we as parents, educators, politicians, community leaders can convince more children to have basic moral values (study/read more than watch TV, be respectful to others, pay attention in class) larger classes will seem smaller and this will improve teacher salaries as larger class sizes mean more money for salaries. We should focus on behavior and have a minimum standard for it. It will benefit everyone. Poor behavior, while lionized as excusable by many members of the vocal far left as inevitable due to oppression and poor upbringing, was virtually unheard of in American Schools before 1960. Even in the poorest corners of the South in segregated schools, every child said yes sir, yes ma’am, paid attention, did the work they were assigned and raised their hand before speaking and didn’t misbehave in the school yard. Though poverty was used as an excuse, the kids in schools such as that in TV shows in the ’50s were factually in deep poverty compared to current living standards in our least desired areas such as Richmond, and behavior is better in some very poor nations in Asia, far better. America just somehow accepts it and feels there is no other way because we have lowered our standards.

              It’s a result of the Me generation.

            • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

              Floyd, It doesn't surprise me you would conflate what is developmentally appropriate for children with that for adults. College follows a lecture format in the main. That is long out of pedagogical fashion in elementary and especially secondary school. It is difficult to conduct any number of activities in a classroom whether it is cooperative learning, presentations or just Q and A when there are 40 kids and an average of 8 -10 groups. Your … Read More

              Floyd, It doesn’t surprise me you would conflate what is developmentally appropriate for children with that for adults. College follows a lecture format in the main. That is long out of pedagogical fashion in elementary and especially secondary school. It is difficult to conduct any number of activities in a classroom whether it is cooperative learning, presentations or just Q and A when there are 40 kids and an average of 8 -10 groups. Your idea fits into the general framework of your expressed (he he) education philosophy which is that of the morally and ethically sound empty vessel willing and able to be filled with whatever curriculum be canned in the factory and tested in the lab.

            • FloydThursby1941 1 year ago1 year ago

              Don, at Alamo for many years the limit was 20 kids in a class K-3. I remember when it went to 22. It was the talk of the school. Everyone was talking about how terrible it would be. It would damage their focus, their education, alone time. What often doesn't get discussed is usually a kid is out and doesn't get replaced after a couple months so 22 becomes 21, … Read More

              Don, at Alamo for many years the limit was 20 kids in a class K-3. I remember when it went to 22. It was the talk of the school. Everyone was talking about how terrible it would be. It would damage their focus, their education, alone time. What often doesn’t get discussed is usually a kid is out and doesn’t get replaced after a couple months so 22 becomes 21, and usually 1-3 kids miss school on any given day, so the average was 19.5 with 22. I personally don’t feel my younger kids got a worse education than my older ones as a result of this. They did once for a year because a bad teacher had full union protection, but not because of the numbers. I think you could go to 25 which would mean a salary increase for teachers, and all would be fine because the daily average would end up at 22, and more kids could get into a school closer to home, which would help the environment. In a larger class you can make more friends based on personality fit rather than just being friends with anyone, and you get more diversity. I don’t want to go back to 30, but I would like to reach a point where teachers are happy with their pay and we can focus on other things and not constantly hear complaints teachers are underpaid, which can be distracting from focus on improving parental advice, parenting, teaching methods, school supplies, study habits, study morals, curriculum, arts, sports, reducing absence, janitorial quality, playgrounds, school events, plays, extracurricular activities, homework quality, summer learning loss, and other important issues. I think 3/22, or 14.5%, as an increase, and we wouldn’t hear such complaints so the pay wouldn’t be used to justify seniority/tenure and unjustified sick days due to low salary, and it would help us move onto other issues. I doubt we’d hear about teachers being underpaid if we increased salaries 14.5% across the board with slightly larger class sizes, and putting that issue to rest permanently would enable us to focus on what’s truly important. Plus teachers would be happier, fewer would quit, and the extra salary would be spent and stimulate the general economy, creating more jobs. I don’t think the slight increase in class size would do damage to negate the benefits of this, holistically or philosophically.

            • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

              Far off of school construction bond discussion, again. Quickly - your answer is that large classes are OK because they really aren't large due to absences? Do you understand how ridiculous that argument is? First you say the classes were smaller anyway due to absences, then you claim your kids did just as well. Compared to what? Did they flunk a grade? Why do you suppose your attitude and perceptions are … Read More

              Far off of school construction bond discussion, again.

              Quickly – your answer is that large classes are OK because they really aren’t large due to absences? Do you understand how ridiculous that argument is? First you say the classes were smaller anyway due to absences, then you claim your kids did just as well. Compared to what? Did they flunk a grade?

              Why do you suppose your attitude and perceptions are everyone’s? Maybe it did work for you, but did larger class sizes help raise teacher salaries, the benefit you cite? No. And why should students pay for it when lower class size is one of the few absolutely proven reforms shown to increase achievement?

              btw, 20 was the number (actually 20.5) over which any school would pay a penalty under the CSRA, depending upon how far over you went. Those penalties were flexed during the downturn.

          • navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

            According to your LCAP, your district is using about $4M a year in LCFF funds to increase (and hold) instructional days to 180. It's using about $5M a year to reduce class sizes (to what and from what is not specified in that doc, though it is in accordance with union contract, which is where your numbers came from). About a quarter of that is coming from the s&c grant. The rest from the base. … Read More

            According to your LCAP, your district is using about $4M a year in LCFF funds to increase (and hold) instructional days to 180.
            It’s using about $5M a year to reduce class sizes (to what and from what is not specified in that doc, though it is in accordance with union contract, which is where your numbers came from).
            About a quarter of that is coming from the s&c grant. The rest from the base. (In contrast your s&c, really only s in your case, is about 2 1/2 percent of your total LCFF funds, so much of your supplemental grant is being used for this district-wide purpose, and others).
            One benefit of this being specified in the LCAP is they will have to show the numbers. Ironically, the class sizes you list would likely cause your district to lose the elementary class size reduction grant (about $700/elem pupil) unless those numbers reflect a lowering of class sizes by a similar percentage to your current total gap funding (about 15% to 20%-were the sizes previously higher?). The other way, of course, is if your local union signed off on not lowering class sizes (you still get the grant even if you don’t lower class sizes if your union says it’s ok. I expect this requirement is explicitly there to avoid such prioritization agreements from remaining secret). Your 15-16 LCAP should be enlightening.

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