What will be the impact of more cuts? All possible reductions would have a detrimental effect on learning and teaching and could include:
* Dismantling the intervention programs started to help students with reading and math.
* Slowing our work related to equity and continuous improvement for all students.
* Canceling staff development, thus limiting teachers' opportunities to improve their skills to better help students learn.
* Reducing classified personnel ranks, resulting in campuses that are not as clean and well maintained.
* Employing fewer managers who ensure student safety and guide learning.
* Asking families to pay more to participate in co-curricular activities.
* Increasing class sizes for our elementary and ninth grade students.
All of the above are examples of the tough decisions that the board will need to make to balance the budget next year.
Is this the kind of education system we want in Pleasanton? The greatest factor in keeping education funding from being reduced below tolerable levels is the voice of the voters. Call, write or email your legislators and let them know your expectations.
This month, for the first time in my career, the recommendation to the board was to approve our budget with a "qualified" status--a statement that we might not be able to meet our financial obligations over the next three years. Our surrounding districts of Livermore and Dublin were able to approve budgets without this caution. Voters in both communities went to the polls in November and chose to provide budget predictability and stability through a parcel tax. Is this the time that Pleasanton should consider such an action?
I wish the news were better, but even in these troubled financial times, it is gratifying to be able to say that I marvel regularly at the big hearts and generous perspectives that our students and families have. I see examples every day of students supporting their friends and families helping other families who are in need. We can all be proud of the character and caring of our community.
Here's wishing for a happy holiday season to you and yours.