Saturday, October 23, 2010

Whatever, Tamar

Just Say No

I don't need to tell you that the School Board voted 3-4 not to pass a resolution to keep plant managers on elementary school campuses. You've already heard the news.

I don't need to tell you how our own lovely school board member, Tamar Galatzan voted on the issue, because you already know that would be a big, resounding NO vote. In case you hadn't heard about or read it, here's her statement on why she voted against keeping plant managers at elementary school sites:

At this week's board meeting, a parade of speakers attested to the vital importance of plant managers at their children's schools. I couldn't agree more. In addition to performing their expected duties to keep campuses clean, during and after school hours, plant managers have helped in ways that go beyond their specific job description. And if we lived in a state where public education was funded at acceptable levels, I would advocate to keep plant managers at our schools. But sadly, the reality of our fiscal situation is very different. Last week, I voted for a budget package that included $103 million in federal money to save 1700 school-based jobs in 2011-12. Given the devastating cuts our schools have experienced the past three years, especially those that do not receive Title I money, I strongly supported the plan to save jobs, teachers, library aides, and clerks. While well-meaning, the resolution introduced this week to shift millions of dollars to retain plant managers was poorly-planned and ill-timed and could result in schools receiving fewer hours of coverage. James Sohn, the head of Facilities, has instituted a team-cleaning system, which, while not perfect, does provide 30% more coverage for a small elementary school than the 12-hour a day plant manager/custodian combination. In addition, I worked with Mr. Sohn to ensure that the District will pay overtime costs when someone is required to set up and clean a room that is being used by a community group or neighborhood counsel and to assist with special events on campus. But there is an equally important principle at work here. One week ago, the Board submitted a reconciliation budget that communicated the District's priorities to save 1700 school-based positions. We all have seen what happens when the voters in California engage in ballot-box budgeting. Nothing less than the credibility of the board was at stake.

I understand the money was going to have to come from somewhere, and I understand that may have given way to more cuts elsewhere, but having a full-time plant manager on site just seems like a basic necessity at an elementary school level.

But then again, what do I know?

Henry's last day is slated for December 1, 2010. We are planning accordingly.

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