By Jackie Burrell
Friday, November 21st, 2008 at 2:31 pm in Schools.
School and university leaders are hitting the fax machines – wait, they still use those? – to vent their frustration over impending state budget cuts. And there’s outrageous news out of Vallejo, where district officials hushed up the sexual assault of a middle school girl on the tennis courts.
Let’s start with the budgetary woes, shall we? CSU officials are seething over proposals that would add another $66.3 million to cuts that were already estimated at $246 million.
Martinez schools find themselves preparing for a potential $1.2 million budget cut, while celebrating their recent parcel tax victory, which will bring in around $578,000 a year and save the very programs – science, music, small class sizes, technology – that every other district cuts in times of woe. The big question is, what are they going to do?
Meanwhile Mt. Diablo school district trustees are whetting the budget axe and eyeballing elementary school music programs, high school sports, kindergarten class sizes, etc. etc. (See above.) The district needs to cut at least $6.6 million from next year’s budget, so superintendent Gary McHenry is amassing the usual binder of painful possibilities. California schools go through this every few years and it’s always heartbreaking. We’re with Moraga superintendent Rick Schafer on this one. “It is extremely anger-producing to have the legislators dicker for 85 days,” he said, “and pass a budget that from day one was doomed to failure.”
Chalk this one up in the “unbelievable news” category. Vallejo school administrators didn’t bother to notify parents after a middle school student was sexually assaulted on a school campus — and they didn’t say anything when two students were later arrested on felony charges. Nope, it didn’t occur to them to warn other children or tell parents until the news broke on television THREE WEEKS after the assault occurred on the tennis courts at Vallejo High. District spokesman Jason Hodge says no one’s complained to the superintendent about how the case was handled. Ahem. This is the same school district where six students, ages 12-16, were arrested last month on charges that they assaulted a 21-year-old female custodian on a middle school campus, kicking and beating her as she lay, fallen, on the ground. Hello? Are we the only people to find this appalling?
Sheesh. This week hasn’t been exactly cheery. Let’s see what else we can find… ah ha! Danville kids have plunged into their annual community service project, loading up groceries and baking pumpkin bread for the Tri-Valley Basket Brigade for needy families.
And in New York, an elementary school was just renamed Barack Obama Elementary.