Superintendents Address Cuts
REDLANDS, CA (Oct. 21, 2011) – State funding for education is at a historic low, and spending cuts have put area school districts at “dangerous levels” of personnel, say top regional educators at a symposium sponsored by the Center for Educational Justice at the University of Redlands School of Education.
California, ranked 46th among the nation’s 50 states in education, pays just 80 cents on the dollar of what schools should receive,” said Riverside County Deputy Superintendent of Schools Paul Jessup. “But the state doesn’t have the money to cover that, so a large portion of that is deferred, which means the state says, ‘We’ll pay the money later.’”
The cuts and deferrals mean California school districts receive 56 percent of the amount they are due from the state. That leaves districts needing to cut spending, tap into reserves or borrow the money to get by, Jessup added.
San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Gary Thomas said the situation is dire. “We are at dangerous levels of personnel,” he said. “We cannot revive our economy without an educated workforce. Other countries are investing more in education right now. They’ll be ready to recover. I hope we are.”
Others on the panel called for innovative approaches to teaching that enhance learning without any additional spending.
“We have gotten away from the objective of education,” said Dr. Eliseo Davalos, assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction, accountability and research for San Bernardino City Schools. “There’s too much ‘assess, assess, assess, teach less, teach less, teach less.’”
Dr. Maureen Latham, Beaumont assistant superintendent of Instructional Support Services, called for “implementing innovation” in reframing instruction for students’ future needs. Multiple languages, creativity, problem-solving, information and media skills, social and cross-cultural skills, leadership and responsibility should be integrated into educating students to think creatively and innovatively, she said.
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