By David Rosenberg
If you ask anyone, the budget problems our school board faces seem complex and difficult to solve. The reality could not be farther from the truth. Perhaps the story of how we got to this point may be convoluted, but our situation is not.
The problem is quite simple: The Ramona Unified School District will receive less money from the state of California than it needs to meet its financial obligations. That is about as complicated as I can make it.
In other words, there is not enough money coming in and too much going out. When you look at it that way, it’s really quite simple and so is the answer. Since the Board of Trustees has no power to control the amount of revenue they receive from the state, the only solution they have is to cut their expenses.
So far, so good. We have identified the problem and the solution, so how do we do that?
There are only two ways to reduce expenses. We can do it by asking our children to sacrifice or we can do it by asking the employees to sacrifice. If we cut programs like sports, arts, music, etc., then our children will be the ones making the sacrifice. These programs are essential to a well-rounded education and teach necessary life skills such as teamwork, problem solving and creative thinking.
We can cut teachers and support staff. This solution splits the hardship between the employees and the students. Those who lose their jobs will suffer financially, those employees remaining will have to work harder to accomplish their individual tasks and, worst of all, the students will suffer through bigger class sizes and less personalized instruction.
The only other solution is to reduce employee compensation. This is the only answer that makes sense. Yes, our school district employees will suffer. No one wants to take a cut in pay, but most of us in the private sector have over the last four years. If you ask anyone who has been out of work for some time if they would have rather had a cut in pay, I’m sure the resounding answer would be yes.
This is the only solution that minimizes its effect on the students and the only solution that should be palatable to us, the citizens of Ramona.
Actions speak louder than words. By fighting this solution, the Ramona teachers union has shown, by their actions, that they do not value our children’s education as much as they do their own salaries. It is up to us, the citizens of Ramona, to support our school board and put pressure on the union to do the right thing.
After all, shouldn’t our children come first?
David Rosenberg is a Ramona resident.