Category archives for: Commentary

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?)

More public involvement in education is necessary

People throughout the land must get more fully involved in education. The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) has an unfunded liability of around $70 billion. To remedy the situation, the taxpayers’ contribution to the fund will increase from 8.25 percent to 19.01 percent in seven years. The state contribution will also increase.

Did I sign up for this?

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Well, yesterday was a first for us. As we brought the children outside to pair the preschool students with our older elementary students, we noticed that the sheriff’s helicopter was circling overhead and announcing something about “a man in black…..call 911.” “Hmmm….what is this about?”

School bond should pay off district loan

I think the Ramona community agreed that we need and have a high quality school system. Good schools graduate knowledgeable students, are an asset to the community, and help to maintain property values. They are also something we can be proud of.

However, the Ramona Unified School District is on the verge of a financial disaster. The problem was created by a prior school board which entered into a certificate of participation (COP) when a previous school bond was rejected by the Ramona community. This COP was for the amount of $25 million and has to be repaid by the school district. Today’s rep

Return open meeting law to original intent

This is a plea to repeal the Brown Act and to make the School Finance funding formula more equitable and place emphasis on “the need.” The Brown Act when enacted in 1953 had 866 words. Today the number of words are infinite, particularly if one includes “legal interpretations.”

The original intent of the Brown Act was noble.

Proudly paying homage to all of our veterans

I wanted to take a quick moment to respond to a recommendation made to VFW Post 3783 in a letter in last week’s Sentinel.

First off, I don’t know Dave Patterson. I don’t know the path he has walked. He’s not a member of VFW Post 3783 and he didn’t contact us in any way prior to writing the Sentinel.

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