As a parent of three [Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District] students and resident of this beautiful city for over 15 years, I reluctantly voted for Measure A. We have great schools despite the following glaring financial problems and waste in the SMMUSD. Here are just a few examples of fiscal waste:
• My son’s math teacher took the week off before the two-week spring break last year to get married. Why do we tax payers have to hire a substitute for $225 per day to cover the loss of teaching for non-illness or emergency issues? If our priority is academic success, this does not achieve our objective. My kids have watched too many movies during school time in the name of teachers moving out of state (12 days), taking college finals, weddings; one teacher’s son’s weddings in Asia resulted in a two-week vacation during the school year. And who doesn’t just love a fabulous ski trip the three school days before Thanksgiving? Who approves these absences? Overall, this is the wrong message to send to our kids and a huge waste of money.
• There is a $30,000 annual housing allowance for a Superintendant who chooses not to live in our beautiful community. Why are we paying to have someone fly in from Northern California in a time of fiscal crisis?
• We $41,000 paid to Disneyland for the students to attend a music field trip. Why can’t the music students pay their own way? Again, we are looking at laying off talented, vibrant teachers due to lack of money.
• A Santa Monica elementary school that is 45 percent [Los Angeles Unified School District] students. If Sacramento does not provide enough funds to educate each child (a paltry $4,900), why maintain a school that runs a deficient every year? SMMUSD spends almost $8,000 per student. In a tough economy, we cannot underwrite LAUSD families with Santa Monica taxes.
“But we need millions,” they say. My response; “Waste is waste, it is never justified.” So vote for Measure A, but also advocate a halt to money wasted by our school district.
Dr. Lisette Gold, Santa Monica
Thought you should know, the City sent out a notice before it repaved Ocean Park Boulevard saying that it wouldn’t be enforcing street sweeping laws within two blocks of Ocean park from May 11 to May 13.
On May 12, there were probably 50 cars on Oak Street (one block away from Ocean Park Boulevard) that all had street sweeping tickets. I called the City who said they had nothing to do with Caltrans (even though Caltrans has nothing to do with the repaving). Obviously one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing. I figure many of your readers probably got tickets and aren’t aware that the City was not supposed to give them.
Bottom line: the City’s Department of Public Works is not communicating with the meter maids and residents are paying for it.
Paul Birmele, Santa Monica