I'm just back from the Capo Unified school board debate hosted by the Patch. Penny did a great job moderating and keeping the event moving along. Steve Lang, Bill Perkins, Karin Schnell and Jim Reardon were in attendance. The incumbent school board members and their hopeful friends were absent having elected to attend a hastily thrown together fundraiser just down the road.
The event was a little less raucous than it might have been with those "in power" being noticably absent. However, the forum still gave us in attendance a chance to better understand how the different candidates viewed the district and how they might govern.
All four candidates opposed the Governor's tax increase, Proposition 30. Lang, Perkins and Reardon believe that Californians are overtaxed and any increase in taxes would slow future economic recovery. Schnell was opposed to the measure because she didn't believe the money would make it to our schools. All opposed the notion of a parcel tax. The CUSD PTA has floated the idea of a parcel tax off and on for some time now.
Schnell gave the impression she instead supported Proposition 38. This is the tax increase supported by the California PTA. Schnell volunteered that under this tax increase her taxes would be go up by $1000 but insisted it would be worth it. She was alone in her support for Proposition 38.
I really wish someone would tell me what is the appropriate percentage of our income that should go for taxes. Many of us are already taxed in excess of 50% of our pay when you combine federal, state, sales, excise, property taxes and others. Just how much is enough? Here is my bottom line...leave my wallet alone. Another $1000? Get away from me.
Really, you want another $1000 from me or some other amount in the general ball park of a grand. Proposition 30 and 38 are going down in defeat on November 6th because Californians are sick of being bled dry and not seeing anything for their money.
But taken as a whole, Schnell found herself mostly in agreement with the other candidates on the importance of fiscal prudence in the district. None were happy with the status quo.
I really wish John Alpay would have attended this event to mix it up with Steve Lang. Alpay is developing a reputation for poor judgement not solely for his fiduciary responsibilities as a school board member but also for alleged emotional distrubances and other behaviors. It would have been nice for him to at least make an attempt to refute these recent allegations and other incidents. He could have "cleared the air". I don't know if he was enjoying libations with his friends and cohorts and couldn't be bothered.
Capistrano Unified is at a crossroads. Its last labor contract has put them in a position of having to close a $51 million deficit. Who ever is left standing is going to have their hands full.
The District has been sending out plenty of missives painting a rosy picture of its situation leading up to the general election. Parents have not been prepared for what is to come. Recently, the District mailed parents a letter boasting of students' level of proficiency. Yes, we are in better shape academically than most of L.A.U.S.D. but let's slow down on the high fives for now. The fiscal train wreck is fast approaching while Board Members Pritchard, Alpay and Hatton are roasting weenies and singing camp fire songs.
The next school board is going to have to close this awareness gap pretty darn quick. The outcome won't be for the faint of heart. Regardless of who wins, I want them to be successful. The kids don't get a vote. They deserve better than they've received.