Direct funding to teachers, students, not buildings
December 18, 2013
Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Holly Hermansen, in her Nov. 23 Other Voices editorial, fails to provide any details regarding the new Local Control Funding Formula and its impact upon Nevada County Schools.
Hermansen's term "exhilarating" may be used to describe the impact that these new funds will have upon her own county Office of Education as we have received more than $750,000 in new funds this year and an additional $750,000 next year. This is tremendous news for the youth and parents of Nevada County, as all of these funds and more should be directed toward our classrooms. But currently, that is not the plan.
Hermansen's "scary" term in her story should be applied to all of the school districts in Nevada County that are hardly seeing any new money from the new LCFF because its formula is not favorable to suburban school districts like ours. Talking to educators, they tell me that our schools have not recovered from the severe recent recession and from the slow decline in student enrollment numbers causing many programs to be cut. In essence, our schools are hurting and need and deserve help from the county Office of Education and the county Board of Education.
Instead of helping our struggling school districts, Hermansen in a recent meeting described her "greatest need" as a new administrative building with more parking spaces and meeting rooms. She is constantly comparing Nevada County School administrative facilities to Placer County, which is six times larger in student population. Even so, she is planning to forge ahead by selling our two fully paid-for existing sites to purchase — using existing and LCFF funds — a new and enlarged Taj Mahal for her expanding administrative bureaucracy. Taxpayers, parents and students should be outraged by this misuse of tax dollars!
As immediate past president of the Nevada County Board of Education, last month fellow board member Jack Meeks and I presented a written alternative plan that directs all of our fiscal windfall directly in the form of grants to our struggling teaching districts and directly into our classrooms. Our plan directs sizable funds to reinstate important programs such as small curricular grants to teachers so that they may purchase necessary curricular supplies; safety grants to districts so that our students are supplied the latest in educational technology in order to make them skilled for the modern workplace; and finally, grants to provide art and music programs along with open gyms and after-school homework clubs that will assist our working parents.
Mr. Meeks and I will continue to push for all of your tax dollars being directed toward our students and not administrative bricks and mortar. We urge Superintendent Hermansen to direct more energy and resources toward our teachers, school districts and our children. Hermansen is currently seeking re-election and could be a hero by abandoning her self-serving Taj Mahal plan and devoting resources to our youth.
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Marianne Slade-Troutman is immediate past president of the Nevada County Board of Education.