Readers’ comments: January 26, 2024
Citrus professor made a difference
Your article noting professor Salwak’s 50 years at Citrus College [“Multi-hyphenate educator celebrates 50 years at Citrus College,” January 19] brought back pleasant memories. I was a student in two of his English classes during my two years at Citrus from 1973 to 1975. He was a dedicated teacher and a perceptive critic of my offerings in his writing class. And yes, he did perform some magic at the end of the semester, and it was amazing.
I am glad that his quiet excellence has been duly noted in your pages. It is beyond doubt that he helped shape and educate many thousands of his students, and we were lucky to benefit from his guidance.
Letter helps make special election proponents’ motives clear
I support your editorial [“Special election price tag confirms its idiocy,” January 5] regarding the expense of the recent school board election, but I have to say that Mr. Wright’s letter [“Petition supporters aren’t to blame for special election costs,” January 19] protesting that editorial has opened my eyes.
I don’t live in District 4, so what I knew about the election was based on media coverage. I assumed that Rogers was some guy with a big ego who was wasting taxpayers’ money to get himself elected. He never explained why it was so important that he be elected at once.
Now Mr. Wright’s letter makes it clear. Your editorial never says anything about “political conservatives” being behind this special election. Mr. Wright says that, and goes on to prove his point by letting us know that he signed the petition because he is worried about diversity, equity and inclusion, and critical race theory. I guess Mr. Rogers did have an agenda after all.
The Claremont Institute, headquartered in Upland, has been pushing for local politicians around the country and the state to get involved in city council and school board elections because, like Governor DeSantis of Florida, they oppose diversity, equity and inclusion in our schools. These issues have been involved in recent political upheaval in Chino Hills and Huntington Beach. Thank goodness District 4 elected someone not afraid of equality to our school board.
Impact of special election cost is not insignificant
It was valuable to hear from Campbell Wright [“Petition supporters aren’t to blame for special election costs,” Readers’ comments, January 19] as a signer of the special election petition for the school board special election. I’ve volunteered for more than a decade to raise donations for our schools. While not speaking for CEF, I’d like to offer another personal perspective.
The special election was, indeed, one way to fill the vacant school board position. However, it was the board’s responsibility to fill the seat in the most cost efficient and effective manner possible. Our democratically enacted laws provided that through the appointment process. That process was agreeable to everyone, including Josh Rogers, until Josh found that he was not selected. I agree with Campbell that the requirements for special elections should be higher.
While “only” 0.5% of the budget, that does not mean $490,000 is insignificant. Though it is tempting to analogize to the private sector, public schools are not businesses. They do not have the same control over finances due to state guidelines. There are no special reserve funds for these kinds of expenses, and uncommitted reserves are only about 3% of the total budget. Most of the district’s budget isn’t discretionary. Personnel costs amount to 80% of all expenditures and non-discretionary expenses such as classroom materials, special education, utilities, insurance, technology, and facility upkeep and repairs take up even more. CUSD is facing a very difficult budget outlook — go to the CUSD website and review the budget, particularly the “2023-24 First Interim Presentation.” The election expense will definitely impact classroom experience.
We need to come together if we want to ensure quality public education in our schools. I agree with Campbell that there are serious issues facing the district. A common thread among them is the need for adequate funding. That is the critical issue facing education in our community.