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Simitian: Gov. Brown seeks deeper school finance reform

Original post made on Jan 30, 2012

Besides a temporary tax hike for public education, Gov. Jerry Brown is attempting a deeper reform to school finance in his budget proposal, state Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, told a crowd of educators Saturday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, January 30, 2012, 9:14 AM

Comments (10)

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Posted by Education-Is-Over-Funded
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2012 at 10:24 am

> 5 to 6 percent real cut to “education”.

The US Census for 2007 shows about 1M people employed by the government sector for purposes of "education". About 600,000+ of these people are employed in K-12. A 5%-6% cut would result in a head count reduction of 25,000-30000 “staff”. Labor unions routinely negotiate higher headcounts than are needed to do the job. Certainly a reduction of “deadwood” would not be missed, and help to deal with the revenue shortfalls.

School districts could be merged, reducing the need for duplication. HR departments between districts could merge, or outsource to private sector firms that understand Information Technology. And there could be a 5%-15% salary and benefits reduction across the boards, which would bring the bloated cost of public education down a little.

There are so many things that could be done to managed costs—but the schools have become little more than a huge “employment engine” that the momentum to initiate education reform is greater than can be hoped for in a short period of time.

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Posted by Earl Richards
a resident of Woodside
on Jan 30, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Brown is blackmailing Californians. Why does Brown always pick-on the most vulnerable, education and the public services? He should close corporate and commercial tax loopholes, introduce an oil extraction tax, an oil corporation, windfall-profits tax and trim the bond interest paid to Wall Street. These taxes have to be rolled-back. These budget cuts will prolong the recession.

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Posted by Douglas Moran
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 30, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Douglas Moran is a registered user.

While Brown is pushing these cutback, he seems intent on fully funding High-Speed Rail (HSR) through transfers in other parts of the budget: Sacramento Bee "Jerry Brown says cap-and-trade fees will fund high-speed rail" (Web Link)

Remember that Jerry Brown through his arrogance and inaction played a significant role in provoking Prop 13 (partially mentioned by Simitian) that did great damage to education by transferring the power, and hence the accountability, from local officials to the State govt (money is power: Change the funding structure and you change who has power).

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Posted by Education-Is-Over-Funded
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2012 at 3:47 pm

> close corporate tax loopholes

Ok .. why not start by identifying those loopholes (by name, and statute), and then estimating the increased revenue that closing these “loopholes” would generate. (Remember, the corporate entity might well find the subsequent tax bill too exorbitant and move its operations out of California—not paying any income tax at that point.)

The US Census indicates about 1.6 million FTEs and about 400K part time employees on California government payrolls. Federal employees, and military service members are not included in the combined 2 million number. With the Federal/Military personnel added, this pushes the number of “government” workers possible up to 3 million here in the "golden state", out of a labor pool that has ranged from 14M to 16M over the past few years.

If the word “vulnerable” has a place here, it should be used to describe the heretofore voiceless taxpayers, and businesses, that are taxed upwards of 50% of their incomes to pay all of these government employees. And does anyone really know what all of these folks do, and whether California really needs all of this “government”?

And if you are just tuning into the program, try coming up to speed by reading—

Plunder: How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Nation:

Web Link

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Posted by mutti
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 30, 2012 at 5:54 pm

After 2 years in a row of drastic budget cuts to education there is no 'deadwood' left. I work in Ravenswood District. There is almost no secretarial support anywhere. District office staff are doing the jobs that 2 or 3 people used to do. Schools have 1/2 time janitor and 1/2 time technology support and 1/2 time library aid. (No certificated librarians.) Classroom sizes have been raised up to 34 students in grades 4-8. Where else should we cut? No one pays 50% income tax anymore. That's been cut and cut, too. We have lots of money to fight in Afghanistan, but not enough to educate our most needy children.

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Posted by Benjamin
a resident of College Terrace
on Jan 30, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Why is Simitian here telling everyone that CA still can't budget worth a hoot, and to solve the problem, schools will have their budgets cut again. This is outrageous and pathetic all in one. The school cuts are specifically target by Jerry Brown so voters approve his tax increase, allegedly to prevent school cuts, but will be used to fund other pet projects, especially the train to nowhere kind of project. Why did Simitian apparently fail to comment on the giant white elephant poised to suck hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, right off the top of the CA budget every year for decades to come, at the expense of the education system, and other vital services the state provided for its residents? I refer to High Speed Rail, I was not at the meeting, so I don't know if it was mentioned.

Simitian has it within his power to lead the charge to kill this enormously waste-full project, and yet he remains silent. In spite of the fact that every objective study has trashed the CA HSR Authority and the project, Simitian silently lets it proceed. Gov Moonbeam now claims that the HSR project will actually cost substantially less than the >$100 Billion estimated cost, which is likely to balloon, not shrink.

Bear in mind that the CA HSR Authority is essentially run by the engineering firm Parsons Brinkerhoff. Parsons Brinkerhoff also stands to reap ten if not hundreds of Billions in profits as the main contractor in this massive conflict of interest. Graft has been mentioned in another posting , and may not be to far off. Recall that Parsons Brinkhoff was one of the main driving forces behind the notorious "Big Dig" boondoggle in Boston. Under the guidance of Parsons Brinkerhoff, the Big Dig cost the tax payers well over 5X the estimated cost Web Link A simple search for "Parsons Brinkerhof Big Dig" reveals a dizzying array of news story after news story outlining the blunders and swindling of the tax payers related to the Big Dig. A simple substitute of High Speed Rail for Big Dig, and the news stories of then, read rather similar to today's stories of the CA HSR project.

The CA budget is a mess, but holding the education budget hostage is an inexcusable stunt by Jerry Brown, and is being sold by Simitian. All of this is to save the CA HSR project, Gov Moonbeams lasting legacy for this state. It's long past time to stop this boondoggle, and remove those responsible from office. In the absence of any real leadership in Sacramento, a petition to gather signatures to put an end to high speed rail as it is now in California is looking for signatures Web Link

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Posted by Education-Is-Over-Funded
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2012 at 9:56 am

> After 2 years in a row of drastic budget cuts to education
> there is no 'deadwood' left. I work in Ravenswood District

Well, Ravenswood is reporting to the State that it is spending almost $13,000 per student. Where is all of that money going?

What's needed here is the salary/benefit and revenue data for each school district for the past ten years. It will be patently clear that salary/benefit costs have continued to go up, even though there have been no productivity increases (to speak of) in most schools.

Ravenswood school district is one of those districts that is probably just a little too small to justify its continued existence. However, without a full management/operational audit, it is very hard to know what's going on inside this troubled district.

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Posted by Education-Is-Over-Funded
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 31, 2012 at 2:37 pm

And by the way .. don't forget that all of these retirees below will also be paid from $2M-$6M in deferred salaries in the coming years--deferred salaries called "pensions"--

Palo Alto Unified

Name Monthly Annual District
BARRANTI, JUDITH M $10,900.09 $130,801.08
BREUER, VERONICA M $8,537.37 $102,448.44
CALLAN, MARY F $15,563.88 $186,766.56
COMMON, LINDA D $13,256.40 $159,076.80
COOK, MARILYN J $9,483.32 $113,799.84
COOPER, RONALD A $8,396.82 $100,761.84
DALTON, GARY R $8,654.52 $103,854.24
DILTS, CATHERINE J $8,888.87 $106,666.44
FOILES, PEGGY M $9,392.82 $112,713.84
FORREST, MARY E $8,371.81 $100,461.72
GARCIA, LOU G $11,806.00 $141,672.00
GIEDT, CARMEN M $10,690.66 $128,287.92
GOLTON, ROBERT F $16,889.73 $202,676.76
HANLEY, PATRICIA $8,427.48 $101,129.76
HUSTLER, JANET S $10,150.26 $121,803.12
KRIKORIAN, GARY J $8,734.92 $104,819.04
LAWRENCE, KATHERINE L $9,509.47 $114,113.64
LIDDELL, BARBARA F $8,374.93 $100,499.16
LIKINS, NOREEN P $8,911.36 $106,936.32
MALEN, RUTH A $10,460.14 $125,521.68
MASUDA, NORMAN T $9,335.74 $112,028.88
MATRANGA, GERALD F $12,590.15 $151,081.80
PRITCHARD, PAMALA $8,622.27 $103,467.24
ROBINSON, JOHN T $9,019.78 $108,237.36
ROLLINS, IRVIN G $10,675.33 $128,103.96
SAROUHAN, DAN E $10,610.22 $127,322.64
SCIGLIANO, MARIE L $14,001.86 $168,022.32
UCHIDA, ELLEN K $9,018.60 $108,223.20
WALKER, DOUGLAS $8,894.49 $106,733.88
WELCH, BARBARA P $8,377.90 $100,534.80
ZEPECKI, CAROL A $10,875.36 $130,504.32

Ravenswood Elementary:

KNIGHT, CHARLIE M $15,395.12 $184,741.44
LAW, ERICAL L $13,177.95 $158,135.40

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jan 31, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Just remember that all the districts someone worked for contribute to those pension figures, not just the district a person retired from. That is why it is a statewide system. Before 2008 the statewide system was generally self-sustaining. Now that it is at least temporarily not, the legislature, the districts, or the retirees themselves will make up the difference. If you expect it to be the latter, expect some of the savings to go to lawyers as both union members and unrepresented folks would likely sue for benefits negotiated by contracts.

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Posted by shut up cheap PA
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 1, 2012 at 2:26 am

GOD what babies you people more taxes than your 8% you whinners have to cough up...and yes we still have HSR ...move if you dont like it..what an arrogant lame littl Hooterville town you people live in

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