Thursday, September 24, 2009

Budget cuts to Natomas schools

The Sacramento Bee has its top story in the Our Region section for Sept. 24, 2009, “Troubled Natomas schools will get county education office help.” By Diana Lambert. Here: http://www.sacbee.com/education/story/2205459.html

The article, and the headlines, miss the major points, create a distorted frame for the story, and assign blame for the wrong problem.
The issue is that the Natomas schools have cut their budgets by $31.2 million, and now, due to the failure of the legislature to adequately fund the schools, they must cut even more. Natomas is not a troubled school district. Like all districts it must respond to the draconian cuts imposed from the state.

These cuts hurt children. Already the district has raised its class size from 20 to 25 in k-3. This means that some children will not learn to read and some will not learn math. It is difficult to make these cuts since they damage the quality of education.

Appointing a financial monitor is a means of enforcing a failed state policy of budget cuts. An accounting view of the problem is that the district must make the cuts. An educational view of the problem is that the School Board has a responsibility to provide a quality education for all the children.

The children did not cause the economic crisis. Major banks and corporations like AIG and Citi corp looted the economy creating an international meltdown. Now, they have been rewarded with bail out money . Meanwhile, the anti tax crowd roars, - no new taxes and the Republican Party minority uses the anti democratic 2/3 vote rule prevent raising taxes.

The result. Each child have about $1,400 less spent on their education this year. This in a state that already ranks 49 out of the 50 states in reading. Children will have larger classes, they will learn less, and they will have less support. The County office of education nor the independent consultant will provide help for this real problem.
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