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Original post made
on Jul 7, 2009
Too bad they can't rent out the "beautiful" muulti-million dollar theater they just constructed at M-A to help defray the cost of compensating the teachers fairly. Or, here's a crazy idea - why not cut the pay of our wonderful government officials. Apparently California's schools are ranked at the bottom of the 50 states, but guess where California's government officials' pay is ranked? Yep, you guessed it, at the top. Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture?
The new theater at M-A is a wonderful teaching facility and will afford great opportunity for the students and community. It was a great investment and it is a great resource. The issue is a bit more complicated than that---how about a state legislature that pulls its head out of its collective behind?
What a great time to burden a school district with opening a new school it does not need, huh, Summit Institute? But hey, let's spend millions of dollars for 100-400 of the 8,200 students in the district. Better yet, let's not take the owned property offered by SUHSD, let's ask them to rent! Great investment, huh SI?
breathe deeply, reasonable voice of Atherton, and do the math.
divide $100M by 8200 students to get over $12,000 per student
The Summit schools cost less per pupil than the district school. Every student attending Summit, Everest or other charters free up more district resources. If the entire district were to be converted into charters, there would be enough cash left over out of operations to buy a M-A class theater facility every single year.
I am glad that we agree on getting good facilities - which is why anyone backing the M-A Theater should be recoiling at the Green street site: ineffective and then discarded after 2 years. Why does SUHSD spend money on facilities which will never be used (Green Street, 5th Avenue) ... what else is in their real estate slush fund?
"the new theater at M-A is a wonderful teaching facility"....For who and for What?--the relatively few students interested in the performing arts--what about science,math,technology,laguage-you know the skills people need to succeed in the real world. And how can you condemn spending money on Summit because it only serves a limited number of students and turn around and defend spending more millions on a performing arts center that will likely serve a smaller number of the student population than Summit's enrollment. The fact is that the performing arts center was approved and funded at a time when the economy was booming and money wasn't the issue it is today--happens all the time. The lesson to learn, though I doubt it is one that will ever be learned, is economic conditions change and spending money wisely is as important in good times as it is in bad.
I'm all for cutting pay as long as the cuts start at the very top. In the past two decades, administrators have received, percentage wise, far great pay raises than have teachers. If teachers lose pay due to furloughs, then so too should administrators.
I'm in favor of shortening the school year, though perhaps not for the best of reasons. I'd like the parents to really feel an impact from the cuts. The extra time kids will have at home may help parents appreciate having the kids in school.
Alternatively, start the school day an hour later. Health studies consistently show that teenagers' bodies need that extra hour of sleep and that they perform better with a later start.
I'm curious, how much has the sports program been cut?
Ah, Reasonable Voice of Atherton, if only you were. How is it that you and those of your ilk can find a way to blame Summit/Everest for all the district's woes. How about better Board oversight?
Here are some facts and let's see if we can connect the dots:
1) Summit has been "oversubscribed" by a ratio of 3-4:1.
2) There was a charter school (Aspire) that wanted to open in East Palo Alto in 2007 and what were they told: your academic plan is OK, but we can only open a site in Redwood City.
3) There are temporary buildings on the Sequoia Campus (unless they have already been moved to Green Street).
4) Apparently the district offered Everest Green Street for 2 years followed by a move to Redwood City.
5) The district has been using it's muscle to thwart Everest's attempt to locate near Summit.
6) The district is proceeding with building on Green Street despite being told that Everest will not accept this site.
7) The district has refused to consider locating Everest on the existing Sequoia site.
Sounds to me like the district is not too concerned about complying with the law (Prop 39) nor the money it costs. To scapegoat Everest/Summit because the district has planned poorly and continues to make poor choices seems rather misdirected. Perhaps as a society we need to get back to basics and focus on academics rather than athletics and performing arts.
Music, art and athletics are all important parts of a well-rounded education and shouldn't be cast aside when times are tough. The "we need to get back to basics" arguments make me cringe.
Rita is completely correct: the balance is important. It remains vital to execute on the basics but not the exclusion of a well rounded education for all.
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