Category archives for: Commentary

Homeownership vs. government education

It is unfortunate that homeownership and the funding of government education are at odds with each other. Because we have allowed government to tax our property, we have also allowed government to take our property.

Because government has gotten too big and too intrusive, it now demands an excessive amount of our resources to sustain itself. Because we have foolishly tied the funding of government schools to the taxing of our homes, our home ownership is at risk from a school system and a government with an insatiable appetite for our money.

Simple answers exist; they’re just not easy

“Rajcic, what do you think about the Common Core State Standards?” This a question I am often asked. A summary of the findings of the 2014 PDK/Gallup Poll may be of interest. (Phi Delta Kappan Magazine, September 2014):

1. 80% of Americans have heard about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Sixty percent of Americans oppose requiring teachers in their community to use the CCSS. Opposition among Republicans is much higher than Democrats.

Ramona: A town that supports children

In 1978 while searching for a community to raise their three children, my parents took the drive up the hill and made their first trip into Ramona.

They traveled along the giant, tree-lined main street into town and, in an effort to get a flavor of the community, they stopped at Kountry Kitchen for a hearty breakfast. It was there that my parents began to interact and talk with many of the locals who were also out eating breakfast.

That morning, each local patron spoke highly of Ramona and what a great place it was to raise a family and how supportive the community was of children. Based on those interactions (and, I think, the delicious biscuits and gravy), my parents made a decision before looking at even one house that Ramona was to be our family’s home.

That choice was one of the best decisions for our family. Thirty-six years later and while currently raising our four children in Ramona, I still think it’s a great community to raise a family because of our community’s support of children.

Ramona has a history of supporting children in the community. Walk into almost any business or office in Ramona and you can find plaques adorning the walls, thanking community members and businesses for their support of local youth programs. Each of these programs would struggle without the financial and moral support provided by this community.

My parents owned one of these businesses years ago. I always felt I was a lucky kid to have parents who owned and operated a doughnut shop, KD’s Doughnuts. I felt this way not just for the warm glazed twist I would get to eat hot out of the oven, but because through this business our family was blessed to get to know so many community members.

Over the years, my parents as business owners were oftentimes asked to donate either doughnuts or money to support the community’s youth in these local programs. My parents would answer the call for support time and time again. They did so because they wanted to give back to the community that supported their children and family. This was their way of supporting other children and those community members who donate their time and talents to run these programs on behalf of the children in Ramona.

This November, members

Let’s look at school district facts

In response to Mr. Dyer’s commentary last week condemning the school board, Ramona Unified School District and its recent bond proposal, please let me correct some of his opinions with the truth.

First, the district has not hired a campaign consultant. To do so would be illegal. The Bond Campaign Committee has also not hired a consultant. The entire campaign is being run completely by volunteers or staff members outside of their work day. Many of their names were printed in last week’s Sentinel in a separate article.

Time to hold school district accountable

The mood at the last school board meeting was light—almost giddy for a few. The county had accepted the district lawyers’ less than candid 75-word sales pitch for the bond measure, and they were seeing big dollar signs. They were assuming their money problems would be over soon because, this time, they are going to work extra hard at conning you into accepting their $40 million escape from responsibility by transferring their debt burden on to your homes.

It is time for Ramona to pass a school bond

In a historic vote last month, the Ramona school board unanimously agreed to place a school improvement measure on the November 2014 ballot. If approved by voters this fall, the school bond will pay off a large district loan and support much-needed school repairs and renovations at every one of our 10 schools.

Working very hard to get this one right, the board has spent incredible energy listening to the community to create a smaller, more focused, and more transparent measure for voter consideration. Smaller than the bond effort in 2012, this new ballot measure would provide the district a maximum of $40 million with a tax rate of only $39 for every $100,000 of assessed value (not market value). For the typical homeowner in Ramona, this bond measure would cost each household approximately $120 per year (or $10 per month). The bond effort two years ago was nearly 50 percent larger.

From the bond revenue, the lion’s share of the proceeds will pay off the district loan originated in 2004 of approximately $32 million. The original loan to the district came in the form of Certificates of Participation (COP), built both Hanson Elementary School and Ramona Community School and improved Olive Peirce Middle School and Ramona High School. Since developer fees have dried up during the Great Recession, the district now needs relief from this heavy burden to our general fund.

The remaining portion of the bond will allocate $8 million towards much needed renovation to our aging facilities. The bond proposition (posted online) contains a specific project list for each school site, including support for roofing, plumbing, playground areas, heating and air conditioning, electrical, fencing, irrigation, asphalt, and more energy efficient lighting and windows. When the state approves another construction bond (perhaps this fall), our schools will also qualify for $12 million in matching funds — but only if we pass our local school bond first.

The board has also authorized staff to begin the process for appointing a Citizen’s Oversight Committee. This group of local residents will have the task of ensuring that every dollar raised from bond proceeds will go towards the projects listed in the actual ballot measure — and not for any other purpose.

Education is going through a transition we haven’t seen since Socrates

Someone said that to understand “communications,” particularly at a school board meeting, one should listen to what is not said. This article does some reminiscing, in that the past does define the present.

“The United States routinely spends more tax dollars per high school athlete than per high school math student — unlike most countries world wide.

Support school bond, Rajcic staying on board

I am responding to Dr. Rajcic’s recent letters in the Ramona Sentinel, and also to Mr. Dyer’s letter about being a true public servant and his arguments against the Ramona Unified School District school bond.

When I am as old as Dr. Rajcic is now, I hope that I will be like him and not care what other people think or say about me, and that I can speak my mind publicly in this town without fear of bullying.

True public servant is a rare treasure

Public service was once considered a noble path. Individuals in public service did their various jobs with the focus of making the lives of the citizen taxpayer (their acknowledged bosses) safer, freer, and less complicated. Public servants were generally held in high regard because they worked for the public good and, when paid, their compensation was less than what was typically offered for similar work in the private sector.

School trustee needs to resign

Upon reading another one of John Rajcic’s complaining, attacking opinions in the Sentinel, many of my fellow professional colleagues that work for RUSD got together to review his latest insult and attack on educators and RUSD in general. Yes, this is a school board member for RUSD who called educators, football coaches, and union rep leaders “parasites”….Yes “parasites”. (He may try to rationalize that his friend said what he wrote and had printed in the Sentinel­—Are you serious?)

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