Tuesday, June 19, 2012

For Immediate Release: Statement from Board of Education Vice President Scott Barnett

Statement from Board Vice President Scott Barnett

June 19, 2012
For immediate release
Contact: Scott Barnett, San Diego Unified Board of Education Vice President, 619-857-1857

School Board Tentative Agreement With Teachers Union Threatens Kids, Again Barnett says: "First We Must Do No Harm to Our Kids"
Proposed Deal Can Result in Three Weeks Less School Next Year

SDUSD Board Vice President expressed his opposition to the proposed "tentative agreement" with the SDEA, the SD teachers union, and the School District.

"First, do no harm to kids. That should be our number one priority," said Barnett. "This proposal once again puts our kids' education second. This is unacceptable."

The proposed agreement once again places too much reliance on hope; hope that the state tax increases pass. And if the voters don't raise state taxes, and SDUSD has $47 million less revenues, the agreement calls for a reduction of the school year by an additional 14 days.

There is an option which does not reduce school year. There is another option to fill the shortfall instead of shortening the school year and hurting kids. This approach would include a combination of:
-renegotiated health provider contracts and new health care incentives to staff.
-Reallocation of some existing expenditures.
-cuts to administration, transportation and other non-class room cuts."

"We have 139 departments which have been exempted from budget cuts. We must cut to the bone before hurting kids," said Barnett.

Barnett will release the financial specifics of his alternative plan Thursday. The School Board will be acting on the proposed agreement on Friday at a special 4 p.m. board meeting.

"We are in this financial mess due partially to state cuts and partially due to poor decisions by the past school board, which approved raises in the hope of the economy and state budget would get better. This led to the school year being reduced by five days, and promises of raises which have contributed to over half of our $120 million shortfall. We are facing another $97 million in 13/14," said Barnett. "Once again, this agreement based on 'hope' places our kids' education at risk. We can and must do better."

Sadly, this Board did not even consider alternatives outside of reducing the school year.

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