Ramona schools in world of hurt

By Debi Klingner

I am typically an absolute “NO!” vote on anything that raises taxes for any of us; however, this election I have been persuaded to vote YES on Prop. R. Our schools are in a world of hurt thanks to the bureaucracy and layers of governmental intervention. We have so many programs that are duplicative, way too many school districts (over 40 in San Diego County!); most teachers are underpaid for their value—in other words, bureaucracy that no one in Sacramento has the desire to unwind.

I received a letter from Ramona High School informing me that the after-school programs were in jeopardy of not continuing because there weren’t enough kids getting free lunches. Yes, the after-school programs are funded based upon the number of low-income families enrolled in the school!! Huh??

OK, so our STATE has completely screwed up the system, but it is nevertheless a mess, and the Ramona district, as all the San Diego districts, are at the bottom of the food chain. Whatever you may think about the school board, they don’t have $60 million in excess money to allocate otherwise. The only way to fix it locally is for Ramona residents to care enough about our children, Ramona’s future as a community, and property owners’ land values.

I’ve been in the master planned community development business for over 20 years. The reason folks move into new communities is not really the pretty house, it is the quality of schools.

It’s ugly, it’s out of control, but Ramona, we have ONE option, that’s it, period, one chance to get our classrooms for the next generation safe and up to date. It’s expensive, it stinks that it is our only option, but a NO vote means more degrading of the schools, degeneration of land values, and more families with children either not moving to Ramona or leaving Ramona, or going down the hill to other schools. Is that the message Ramona will send? Please think long and hard at the ramifications of this vote.

Debi Klingner is a Ramona resident.

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Short URL: http://www.ramonasentinel.com/?p=18415

Posted by Maureen Robertson on Oct 21 2012. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

14 Comments for “Ramona schools in world of hurt”

  1. Dwayne

    I'm not giving another penny to California/Ramona School Systems, until they come back to me the vote with cost savings, pension reform. I don't care if teachers feel they are under paid, boo hoo. Go get a job that pays more, since it is and has always been about the $$$, never the KIDS!!!

    So if you want to throw away your property taxes on Ramona, Vote Yes on R, or wait like teh rest of us for savings and reforms.

    VOT NO ON R

    • Proud Ramonan

      Really disappointing views sir. As a public school educated graduate of RHS, I can safely say that you know nothing about what you're talking about. OPMS is an award winning school and RHS has great teachers, who care about their profession and educating your kids. They also want to earn a decent living and a secure retirement, just like everyone else. Our kids education and your future prosperity (social security solvency) depend on an educated next generation. Please reconsider your anti-tax/anti-everything stance!

        • Proud Ramonan

          Would you ever under any circumstance vote to raise taxes on anything or anyone? For instance, what would it take at Ramona's schools before you'd agree to pay a little more? High drop out rates? Lead in the classroom? Failing plumbing? Teacher pay cuts? Janitor paycuts? What would it take for your to sacrifice just a bit, so that the community's kids benefit?

          • solar1

            I am tired of just a bit. Water rates up, $150 fire fee, sales tax increase and the list goes on and on. Keep throwing money at it will not fix the problem. No on prop 30 and Prop R.

  2. Maria Arroyo

    Although I never support tax increases (and I'm NOT voting for any tax proposals on the state ballot), I'm supporting Prop. R. I've researched this bill and the money raised by Prop. R stays in Ramona to improve the facilities for our children and grandchildren. This money will NOT go to Sacramento where it could be misdirected or wasted. I'm retired but I am willing to pay a little to help our future generations attend school in clean, safe facilities in Ramona.
    Hon. Maria Arroyo (ret)

  3. Just-A-Thought

    I will answer the question "what would it take for you to sacrifice just a bit?" – Trust, trust that both the school board and the teacher's union have the best interest of students and Ramona as a whole. While I believe that our schools need this money, I don't trust that the school board can manage it properly or that the teacher's union won't use it as a reason to ask for more money. I don't trust that a school district that built a brick and mortar school for home school students while letting RHS rot, has the best interest of our students or Ramona. I don't trust our bloated superintendent/school board with my money – yes, my money. This groups should be good stewards for our tax dollars, and they are not. People who vote "No" on this prop are not against our schools, they are staunchly for our schools. We just don't trust the administration or board to manage it.

  4. Fed up

    I remember a similar prop on the ballot a while back – money needed to re-roof Ramona High School. The ballot passed, and the money was spent on bleachers for the football field. Yup. The school district then came back the next time around for money…umm…no. Why not get local contractors together to do a sort of barn-raising day to do repairs? Pay what it actually costs, rather than padded, bloated bids? The district is not to be trusted with more and more money.

    • Guest

      Such a great idea! I had a similar thought. I feel that so many people are having such a tough time in this economy, that asking for ANY more money at this time is just the "straw that broke the came's back". However, most people can find a little extra time to give. Nearly everyone has a skill and maybe if they were allowed to "advertise" that fact, with banners, signs or business cards, they might be very willing to offer up their time!

  5. Concerned

    I absolutely 100% agree that the schools in Ramona are in desperate need of improvement/repair/modernization. But, I hear all sorts of "cuts" and compromise being asked of the teachers, and now the community…., yet hear nothing about the top of the food chain. Has the superintendant/assistants/head office made any compromise? Have they taken any pay cuts or experienced job eliminations? I see the backbone crew of the schools (grounds keepers, janitors, food service…. all the lower income positions) taking heavy cuts at every turn. These cuts have minimal impact to the budget yet major impact to the day to day operation/preservation of our schools. Do the math. If the heavy end of the scale took cuts or were thinned out there would be more money… money for teachers, money for repairs, money for the classrooms, etc.

    So.. If the annual budget cannot be managed effectively, how can anyone assume $66 million (?) will be managed any better. I have to agree with "Just-A-Thought"…. TRUST would swing my vote too.

    • Kris

      Actually, only the teachers bargaining unit has not taken one step toward alleviating the problem. Both management and the classified unit (groundskeepers, bus drivers, custodians, clerical, aides, campus security, etc.) took 3 unpaid furlough days last school year in anticipation of this financial crisis and have agreed to pay concessions for this current school year. The classified unit is taking 9.5% cut in pay this year alone. The lowest paid employees in the district.
      The State has cutting revenue to all districts and declining enrollment have both had a severe effect on this district: they are receiving $12 million less than 5 years ago. Our buildings are aging and our children attend them. If Prop R fails to pass, our facilities will be negatively impacted. How does this help our children or our town? When our schools fail, it is a black mark on our town – who will want to live here or move here? Seriously, this will impact our whole town, not just the education our children get.
      While I agree that we need sound fiscal management, we also need to take of our own. Those folks in Sacramento are not looking out for Ramona, so we must. This is our town, our schools and our children.

    • big bird

      According the the Union Tribune Watchdog, Superintendent Robert Graeff received a 13.4% raise over the past two years. He has a staff of three assistant superintendents.
      http://media.utsandiego.com/news/documents/2012/1...

  6. john bourdeau

    NO on R,,,save the tax payers money on this high tax,,,the country is in DEBT,,liv within your means like the rest of US,,,NO on R !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Joe Minervini

    Did anyone notice the text in the box on the Ballot for Prop R…it does not say anyuthing about Fiscal Impact nor does it mention the obvious, Property Taxes Will Increase !
    Also, doesn't half of the $66 million for R go towards retiring/refinancing debt for that new school on boundary that never should've been built ? Lastly, as far as the State and their resultant decrease in funding schools is concerned, the Ramona School Board should've seen their fiscal problems coming down the road years ago. NO on R and any other State Props that increase taxes.
    Joe Minervini, I'm in the phone book.

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