The following Op Ed article appeared in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on November 29, 2015:
MEASURES O & P ARE APPROVED
Our community should be proud. While many school districts across the state struggle to raise resources to augment inadequate state funding for public education, last week voters in the Santa Cruz City Schools District expressed confidence in and support for our local schools by passing Measures O & P.
As an educator and parent of two sons, who attend district schools, I am grateful. These measures will provide approximately $32 million over the next eight years to protect reduced class sizes, library programs, hands-on science, and vibrant art and music programs in our elementary schools. For middle and high school students, these resources will preserve career technical education through our Regional Occupational Programs; allow us to expand science, technology, and engineering offerings; support visual and performing arts, athletics, and other programs to keep our kids safe and engaged in school. Our district’s goals of preparing world-ready students for the challenges and promise of the 21st century are well supported by these crucial programs.
Our community is exceptional. We invest in our children. Since Proposition 13 passed in 1978, California public schools have become increasingly reliant on local revenue to ensure comprehensive programming. With our local commitment to education, students in Santa Cruz City Schools have excellent opportunities despite these funding challenges.
In addition to the parcel tax support, local non-profits and businesses have worked to fill the gaps in state funding. I thank the organizations that support our schools including: School PTAs and Home and School Clubs, The Santa Cruz Education Foundation, The Boardwalk and Capitola Auto Mall with Drive for Schools, The City of Santa Cruz, The Lion’s Club, Omega Nu, The Santa Cruz Area Chamber of Commerce, The Santa Cruz Children’s Network, The Santa Cruz County Sherriff, Santa Cruz and Sunshine Rotary, The Santa Cruz Symphony, The Santa Cruz Warriors, Schools Plus, Wells Fargo, Wharf to Wharf and many more.
This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for many things. At the top of the list is the support of our community. Our public schools have tremendous needs, many of which cannot be met through state funding. Thanks to your generosity, Measures O & P will help meet some of them. I look forward to working with you and our entire community to continue to make your public schools the very best they can be. Together, we make a difference for our kids.
Superintendent, Santa Cruz City Schools