by ARTUR CYBULSKI
I wrote a letter today to Barack Obama and Arnold Schwarzenegger because I was so frustrated and I didn’t know what else to do. I spent this morning sitting in a LAUSD School Site Council budget training meeting and they confirmed everything that we have been hearing for months – THERE IS NO MONEY – at least not for schools like ours.
Title I, low income schools (and if you don’t know that term, that’s not our school) are getting $919.00 per student next year. We are getting $0 – yes that’s zero – for our students K-3rd grade and $200 Title II money per student 4th & 5th grade.
Do the math.
A Title I school our size gets over $500,000 dollars and we get $34,000. And because our money comes from Title II funds, we are severely restricted on what we can spend that money on. Of course, the restrictions are not aligned with the needs of our school. In addition, our other restricted categorical funds coming from the district total about $10,000 dollars. I sat at this meeting and thought “are they kidding – I can’t even run my household on that!”
What I wrote today to the President and the Governor is “in our attempt to help needy children, we have created needy schools”. I believe very strongly that our kids are so lucky to live in this community and attend a school like ours. I also think that we have an obligation to help students who are less fortunate -- but the inequity of this funding is unconscionable.
Did you know that California ranked 50th (that’s last) in the country for the amount of money the state provides to schools per student?
Ms. Friedrich has been a tireless advocate for our cause, but she is only one voice. I say we can create change. I say get informed, get educated, get upset and spread the word. I say let’s get organized and become a squeaky wheel for our kids, let’s work together, and lets make so much noise that they will have to listen!
So what can YOU do? There is a lot of steam gathering. We must act quickly to put pressure on Sacramento, the school Board and the Superintendents office. Spread the word. Talk with the other parents at school. Talk to me – your Site Council members – your PTA Board – your Principle. Write / email / twitter / call your local, state and federal representatives. Go to your school and community meetings. Attend the Non-Title I School Forum organized by our School Board Rep, Tamar Galatzan, on May 16th. [ed. note: more info on this important meeting will be forthcoming -DL]
I know how over extended we all are, but I believe to elicit change we must advocate for our kids and our school. Thanks for listening.
Artur Cybulski is the parent of two Beckford students and Beckford's School Site Council Chairperson