Readers comments 10-21-16
True or false?
True and false tests are not very good examination instruments, but hopefully can elicit further thinking. As a property owner whose assessments will increase if Measure G passes, I?support and intend to vote yes on Measure G! However, I also think there are other fiscally-responsible actions we cannot continue to close our eyes to, politically painful as they may be.
School student enrollment from actual Claremont residents has been steadily declining? True.
We could close one of our elementary schools and still accommodate children of Claremont residents in the remaining schools, but not the interdistrict transfer students? True.
The quality of teaching at each elementary school in Claremont is comparable? True.
Closing an elementary school would not be a popular move but would not affect the quality of education received by the Claremont student? True.
Each regular elementary school, regardless of size, has a full-time administrator and support staff? True.
The cost of an administrator and support staff for an elementary school is enough to pay the salaries for two or three teachers? True.
Closing an elementary school would reduce present and future district costs and free up more money to pay teachers? True.
The district can sell surplus property and use that money to support its operations? True.
Statements in the COURIER, and printed literature by school administration and school board members, indicate a belief that the state will continue to shift responsibility for funding of schools to local communities? True.
Statements in the COURIER, and printed literature by school administration and school board members, indicate a belief that Claremont has fallen behind other school districts in asking for bond money and that bond initiatives will need to be used more in the future? True.
If we reduce the number of schools we have to maintain and refurbish, and sell the surplus property, this will contribute to district funds and may reduce the amount and need for future bond issues? True.
Vote yes on Measure G November 8, but don’t forget the truth in the answers to the above questions.
Yes on Measure G
In an opinion piece in the September 30 issue of the Claremont COURIER, Richard Fass, writing on behalf of Claremont RISE, presented some facts about school bonds that were shocking to me.
Mr. Fass indicated that since 2001 the Pomona Unified School District has passed $300 million of school facility bonds while Claremont has passed none. He also noted that the bond proposed under Measure G this November totals about $8,200 per student, far less than the average of $11,000 per student (excluding Beverly Hills) proposed in LA County school districts.
How can this be? Claremont schools have long been a major reason that many of us moved here. The awards, recognitions and test scores are proof of excellence, but how is it that our facilities have not had the same level of attention?
This election provides the opportunity to address this concern. Measure G is a necessity, not a luxury. As a fellow taxpayer, I too am concerned with the wise and prudent use of these bond funds and am pleased that an Independent Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee comprised of concerned and involved community members will be paying close attention to how every dollar is spent.
I encourage interested and knowledgeable residents to be a part of this process, first by supporting Measure G and then secondly by participating in the oversight committee process. If we want excellent schools, we have to support them—not only as well as neighboring communities, but at a far higher level. I urge all to vote yes on Measure G.
IDTs are necessary
In the October 7 edition of the Claremont COURIER, an article by Mr. Jay Pocock questioned the wisdom of and necessity for the current policy on Interdistrict Student Transfers (IDT).
Mr. Pocock correctly states that CUSD accepts approximately 25 percent of the student population from outside the CUSD geographical boundaries. What he doesn’t say is that this is in response to the explicit and implicit direction of the residents within the CUSD. Previous attempts to close schools have met strong resistance from the community.
Three specific examples of exploration of school closure come to mind. In the mid- to late-1970s, several members of the school board attempted to close Sycamore Elementary School partially because of low attendance at that site.
In response, the community rose up and recalled three of the five board members. In the early 1990s, consideration to close Mountain View School and sell it for commercial development was met with extreme resistance and outrage and the plan was dropped.
As part of the Measure Y bond issue of 2000, there was consideration of closing a school in the southern area of the district in order to accommodate a new elementary school north of Base Line Road at the La Puerta School site. The closing of the southern school was met with great resistance, and the plan was dropped. An alternative plan for increasing IDTs to support the proposed La Puerta school was put in place.
Several community meetings have been held over these specific issues and the general policy of IDT, and the overwhelming response from the community, has been to keep schools open if at all possible using interdistrict transfer policy to keep our schools open and properly populated with students.
Without the IDTs, CUSD would likely be forced to reduce the number of elementary neighborhood schools by at least one and possibly two sites. These reductions would likely be in the southern part of the district, because the northern schools are already filed with in-district students. The demographics of our community determine the population at each school site.
The IDT policy allows CUSD to retain a high level of excellence in educating our students in several ways. First, it supports our important and valued tradition of parental choice of attendance within Claremont elementary schools. Each school has its own identity and character, and parents have the option of choosing what is best for their students.
Second, it keeps all schools full and allows a wide range of options for enhancing the educational experience for our students at each site.
Third, it permits an economically and educationally viable staffing plan at all school sites. Fourth, and possibly the most important, it provides a matriculation of students into our middle and high school that supports our high level of educational opportunity for students at the secondary level.
Our Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs would be either eliminated or significantly reduced in scope without our valued IDT program. Our music and arts programs would also be significantly reduced. Others will speak to the economics of our IDT program.
However, I would like to state emphatically that CUSD does not recruit students from other schools. Parents choose to place their students in the CUSD system because of the high-level opportunities that we can provide by having the IDT program.
We gratefully receive them and promise these students and their families that we will do our best to provide a high-quality educational experience. I personally am thankful that the education programs within California recognize the value of Inter-District Transfers.
Samuel L. Mowbray
Former school board member, CUSD
Problems with progressivism
Wow! It isn’t every day that Ellen Taylor exposes the liberal agenda for its total lack of common sense. In her letter (Readers’ Comments, October 14), Ms. Taylor advocates for voting yes on Propositions 57 and 63. This is laughable.
Prop 57 lets more criminals out on the street. Prop 63 further limits everyone’s ability to protect themselves…from those criminals.
The US Supreme Court has ruled that if a cop doesn’t want to, he has no duty to protect an individual. That applies to the state and national government as well—no duty to protect individuals. Let that sink in. That is why self-defense is allowed.
Ms. Taylor is either ignorant of that fact, or she doesn’t care about the unintended consequences of furthering progressivism. Chipping away at civil rights and the freedom of choice of good guys results in only criminals and agents of the state having the choice to arm themselves.
Good guys getting suckered by the smooth “believe me because I said it” explanations of the left doesn’t sound like common sense when held up to reality.
Vote no on Prop 57 and 63.
League recommendations on Prop 54, 59
The November 8 election will be here before we know it. There are 17 state propositions on that ballot. The League of Women Voters has taken positions on those topics, which we have studied.
This letter will cover the propositions that deal with the general topic of good government.
Vote yes on 54—California Legislature Transparency Act. Prop 54 will make our state government more open, honest and accountable. With this common-sense reform, every bill must be in print and posted online for at least 72 hours before it may pass out of either house—preventing last-minute, closed-door changes.
A video recording of every public meeting of the legislature must be posted online in a timely way. Our democracy is stronger when more people participate, and this measure empowers all people to review, debate and contribute to the laws that impact us all.
Vote no on 59—Constitutional Amendment Advisory Measure. Eliminating the corrupting influence of money in our democracy is a vital concern. Unfortunately, this vague, poorly-drafted ballot measure is not the solution.
A constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United may have appeal as a quick fix, but in reality it is a slow, laborious, costly and potentially unsuccessful strategy. A poorly written amendment could have significant unintended consequences—not the least of which is squelching actual political speech.
Voters deserve a fair election system today, not years or decades from now. Instead of looking to an imagined silver bullet, we need to take broad action now, including fixing our Federal Elections Commission, expanding disclosure laws, overturning California’s ban on public financing of elections and asking a new Supreme Court to revisit the ruling.
VP for Advocacy,
LWV of the Claremont Area