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Keeping our schools great

November 22, 2011|By Jeanne Broberg

With the results of our recent election certified this Monday, I congratulate Ellen Multari and AJ Blumenfeld on their election to the board of the La Cañada Unified School District. I look forward to their contributions to the continued excellence of our district.

As this next board term commences, we as a community — led by the board — must rally around solutions to some very serious issues. While doing what is best for students is at the core of our efforts, everything is overshadowed by a very mundane topic — money. Curriculum, programs and student welfare remain our primary concerns, but we must, of necessity, first focus on funding.

On Dec. 6, the school board will further deliberate and vote on the latest budget update, which is required to be sent on to the county. This must happen even before Governor Brown makes critical budget decisions in mid-December. Current bleak economic reports at the state level are expected to trigger immediate state cuts to our budget. Alternatively, the state may defer cuts until the 2012–13 budget, when cuts may be even larger, thus “kicking the can down the road,” as the saying goes.

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Even with immediate state cuts, La Cañada Unified will complete this year with the programs, class sizes and teachers currently in place. This is due to a long history of conservative planning, of watching every dollar of taxpayer funds entrusted to the district, and a very supportive, generous and sacrificing community.

Other districts are in much more trouble and are considering damaging cuts to core principles. For example, currently all districts in the state have authorization to shorten the school year by up to 15 days. In other words, they are contemplating up to 15 furlough days, when schools are closed, as the only way to balance their budgets. Luckily, “furlough days” is not in the vocabulary of La Cañada Unified, where we put students first.

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