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Letter to the Editor: TASP Endorses Measure S

Dave Miller, President of the Teachers Association of South Pasadena, submitted the following letter to the editor about the parcel tax that is on the mail-in ballot for South Pasadena residents.

The Teachers Association of South Pasadena (TASP) strongly feels that Measure S will bring much needed stability to South Pasadena Unified School District’s (SPUSD) finances for the coming years.  Despite the passing of Proposition 30, education funding in California is still unpredictable and is far behind the national average.  Further, the current parcel tax expires at the end of this school year and many of the programs our educational community values could be eliminated. 

Funding education in California is complicated and for a number of years it has been unstable. TASP leadership learned at a recent School Services of California meeting that our state’s economic recovery is, “slow, weak and fragile.” It is true that Governor Brown’s budget proposal allocates new money to school districts; however its distribution is being debated and it is highly probable that SPUSD will not receive a significant increase in funding.

To safeguard against a sluggish economic recovery and uncertain state funding, TASP encourages voters in South Pasadena to invest in our educational community by voting “YES” on Measure S.

Dave Miller

President, TASP   

Harry Gerst February 23, 2013 at 04:56 PM
Read what the pro yes are trying to tell you, "funding education in California is complicated, despite the passage of Priop 30," What Mr. Miller is saying is that Measure S will improve stability to the district's "finances" but not the schools or quality of education. Prop. 98 is kicking in about $12 billion in new funds by 2017; Prop. 30, which we just passed, adds another $3.3 billion and the governor has committed another $3 billion! This is not including the $6 million the district has in reserve funds, the SPEF money, the PTA money and all the other sources of money the distrct receives. To safeguard what? And don't forget the absence of telling condo owners on the ballot their tax is going up from $98 to $386! VOTE NO.
David V. February 23, 2013 at 06:17 PM
There is one, and only one, question when it comes to Measure S: Are you for or against providing an adequate public education for our children? (Ok, there is a second question, too: Are you for or against South Pasadena remaining a vital community?) As it is, our schools are atrociously underfunded. Compared to other states, our levels of funding are nothing short of scandalous. We have cut, cut, cut since Prop 13 passed in 1978. The parcel tax is designed to make up for these revenue cuts. Yes, Prop 30's passage was a godsend for this state and this district. Had it failed, we would have lost so much. But Prop 30 merely prevents further cuts. It does not increase funding. We need more money than Prop 30 will provide --far more. We need our schools to be funded at the highest levels, not the lowest. If you think Mississippi-like funding is good enough for South Pasadena, then by all means, follow Mr. Gerst's advice. But if you care about our kids, and our community, then voting for Measure S is essential. We need local dollars to support our local schools. Our local community depends on it.
Kathy Bence February 23, 2013 at 08:19 PM
The “Yes” side that so desperately claims to need our money, certainly has money to try to obtain it: multiple expensive mailed flyers, beautiful yard signs, and a $3000/month consultant paid for with taxes or money that parents thought they were donating to their children’s education. Isn’t this an indication that the district has not wisely used our hard-earned money? Please note that there are no concrete arguments for this new tax, so only those not paying attention will vote yes.
Marvion February 23, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Vote NO! Stop the dipso preachers from wrecking sewer repairs to the south of high school storm drain along Meridian. Empty that swimming pool glory hole now and forever relief the taxpayer of the real cause astro turf. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
Marcy Guzman February 24, 2013 at 04:07 AM
Vote NO on Measure S! I’ve lived in South Pasadena for 18 years, and between my children and step-children, we’ve been in the public schools here for over 20 years. My brothers are raising their families here and have had kids in the public schools since 1993. Many of the statements in Dave Miller's post just aren’t true! Consider the following: 1. Funding for SPUSD has never been unstable during the entire time we’ve been associated with the schools, and funding is not unstable now, with all the new tax money coming in from the state (Prop 30 and Prop 98), and $6 million in reserves (19% above the state requirement). 2. California education funding is not behind the national average. We have the highest per pupil spending in the nation and are ranked dead last. 3. Because funding is secure, no programs need to be eliminated if the Measure S tax is not extended. The only thing that needs to be cut are excessive and unsustainable administrative salaries, benefits and pensions. 4. Skyrocketing taxation will ensure that there is NO economic recovery in California. 5. The only investment you’ll be making through Measure S is to top-heavy district bureaucracy, since that gets funded first with regular tax dollars, and then the shortfall for teachers and programs is recouped only with this additional tax.
Marcy Guzman February 24, 2013 at 04:47 AM
You know what’s really unfair about this tax? All registered voters can cast a ballot, but only property owners have to pay. If renters have their rent increased, it will be by only a fraction of what homeowners will pay for this tax. And seniors can get an exemption, so they can vote for this and someone else will foot the bill. That smacks of vote-buying. Isn't it great to vote for things that someone else will have to pay for? This is taxation without representation. Need more money for something? Let's go take it from the property owners, whether they’re experiencing financial hardship or not. My husband and I own a modest home in South Pas, and we’re struggling to hang on to it. On top of California citizens being taxed more than any state in the nation, on top of all the new taxes that passed this last election, on top of our 300% water-rate increase, on top of all the taxes on our utility and phone bills, on top of all of our skyrocketing utility rates, property owners are getting screwed more than everyone else with all these parcel taxes – the Measure M parcel tax, the library parcel tax, the lighting & landscaping parcel tax, the Measure S parcel tax, and coming soon the L.A. County “clean water” parcel tax (where we’ll be taxed on the run-off of rain water from our properties!) How can we can afford this? Please VOTE NO on the Measure S parcel tax!
Kathy Bence February 24, 2013 at 05:05 AM
I guess TASP and the Yes on S people don't care if you hang on to your home. They need your money more than you need your house and you should be willing to sacrifice for those high-paid administrative salaries.
Harry Gerst February 24, 2013 at 05:43 AM
Are any of you yes folks reading the hardships all these taxes are causing. Not to mention the $4,50 a gallon gas prices we all pay. Please read the facts and Vote NO!!
Kathy Bence February 24, 2013 at 05:17 PM
Unfortunately the solution to hardships in So Pas and throughout the state seems to be to take from some to allow those with the most political clout to suffer less. Here's why Prop. 30 was necessary: appeasing government unions by protecting public-employee pensions is top priority when Democrats run the state. Pension-fund investments have done poorly during the recession, and projected returns on investment were wildly overstated. To offset these losses, funds were taken from real education funding in order to backfill pensions. Then cuts to education were threatened if Prop. 30 didn't pass. Notice the parallel to what happens at the state level, and what happens right here in South Pasadena. Unsustainable pensions are protected (in addition to excessive administrator compensation), causing insufficient funding for actual education, so cuts are threatened unless a new tax is passed. It's the same bait and switch every time.
Citizen 4 Education February 25, 2013 at 01:03 AM
Since 2009, Measure S funds have been used exclusively to support teaching positions. I know this as a "Citizen For Education", as I attended all the Measure S Citizen Oversight meetings. I never saw Mr Gerst there and there are no records of his attendance in the Measure S Oversight meetings. Small wonder he is so misinformed.
Citizen 4 Education February 25, 2013 at 01:14 AM
I feel for our citizens who are experiencing financial hardships, but I also feel for students in California who rank 47th out of 50 States in terms of funding. Mr. Gerst writes to ask if the "yes folks" are reading about the hardships experienced by South Pas citizens, a number of whom have complained about 'unsustainable" public-sector pensions...isn't Mr. Gerst, a retired educator, a benefactor of public-sector pensions? I can't imagine why he would be critical of the need to provide financial security for educational professionals.
Betty Jean February 25, 2013 at 02:35 AM
I support S but I do know multiple voters who are voting no because of over zealous obsessive workers for the "yes on s" campaign who have called and knocked on their doors so many times they've reversed their votes. One of my friends said she has been called over 20 times. I have received 10 calls and three visits and that's after I told them I support S. I understand why they're annoyed. I guess the right needs to know what the left hand is doing.
Donna Evans (Editor) February 25, 2013 at 08:46 PM
To Measure S opponents: Did anyone form a committee? A press release from the city states no committee opposing the measure was formed. If that's true, why not? From reading this thread it does not appear that the passage is a slam dunk. What do people think the chances are of the measure's passage versus its failure?
Hugh Hemington February 25, 2013 at 09:13 PM
The fact of the matter is, NO ONE, for or against Measure S is against quality South Pasadena Schools! NO ONE! And any suggestion to the contrary is purely a straw man argument. The disagreement is entirely about whether the school district needs more funding, in light of SPEF, PTA, and Props 98 & 30. Whether the school district has acted as a good steward of funds generally, and whether property owners should bear additional DISPROPORTIONAL burden for education funding. I believe the FACTS indicate the answer to all three questions is a resounding NO. Even if you want our local schools to HAVE additional funding because you believe, (against all evidence) there is a corollary between education funding and results, your goal will be better (and more HONESTLY) reached by private funding. South Pasadena already receives a LOWER per-diem than other districts, because the State determines what districts "need". Demonstrating our willingness to tax ourselves MORE will NOT result in more funding to our district, but to others! Property owners are already burdened with a school bond tax of hundreds of dollars to repay a school bond program so poorly negotiated that the Los Angeles Times cited the 4.8million bond and nearly 20million cost as a "ratio warning"! The County of Los Angeles will target those owners AGAIN very soon, and HIGH TAXES drive property values DOWN, as good schools drive them up!
Ed Not Bureaucracy February 26, 2013 at 03:33 AM
Gosh Kathy, I feel your comments are mean-spirited. Yes on S "people" are homeowners as well and Yes on S "people" do care about South Pasadena. Yes on S "people" made quite certain the Measure S funds will go to support teachers because Yes on S "people" recognize that great teachers make great schools and great schools make great communities.
Harry Gerst February 26, 2013 at 04:28 AM
I generally don't respond to negative unsubstantiated comments. However, the "Citizens 4 Education" have the facts incorrect. Yes, it's true I've never been to a a Measure S meeting, but that doesn't mean I'm misinformed. I've spent hundreds of hours volunteering at the elementary, middle, and high school in addition to donating thousands of dollars to SPEF in support of South Pasadena education. The Citizens 4 Education, whoever they are, don't understand that there are sufficient funds that will be available for educational funding. Continuing with Measure S will be wasteful and unnecessary. And it's amazing how easy it is to falsely criticize when under the veil of anonymity. Please remember to VOTE NO.
Kathy Bence February 26, 2013 at 05:22 AM
Donna: Because this measure originated with the supporters, no one opposed knew to form a committee or put an opposing view on the ballot. It wasn't until the expensive flyers and yard signs appeared that I realized what was happening, and then it was too late. As far as the measure passing, our schools recruit callers and send home flyers with the children in favor of this measure, without mentioning an opposing view. There's constant phoning and those over 65 seem to be targeted because they can be told to vote for something they won’t have to pay for. Today I received my fourth (I've lost count) expensive brochure/flyer that says nothing significant except that the funds will go for the kids. Of course, there’s no mention of funds recently spent on administrator salaries that didn't go for the kids. While I'm not sure where all this money came from, this is obviously a very well-financed campaign, funded in part by our tax dollars, SPEF and other money originally given to benefit children and schools, not a political campaign. Even though the odds are against us, some of us are trying to defeat what we feel is a very unfair, unnecessary money grab.

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