The Acorn: Editorial: Good Schools Require Financial Support

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Good schools require our financial support

"Good education doesn’t come cheaply, and The Acorn has always been a supporter of local schools. Therefore, we endorse the LVUSD school bond in March"

Recent reports indicate California is in great shape economically, with rising tax revenues and record markets making coffers flush with cash. So why is that local citizens are about to be hit in the 2020 March primary with several new tax measures designed to boost schools and firefighters whose budgets are said to be under stress?

Aren’t classroom and fire department budgets that lag during times of need just the kind of thing that the state’s vaunted “rainy day fund” is for?

Apparently not. Not when agencies can go back to the well and hit the voters up again.

Because Sacramento fails to release adequate funds needed by our firefighters and classrooms, the L.A. County Fire Department is responding with a parcel tax and the Las Virgenes Unified School District with a bond measure to help each entity pay for its pressing needs. It’s not right that locals should be asked to do Sacramento’s bidding, but they are.

For purposes of the above rant, let’s deal strictly with schools. The Las Virgenes Unified School District recently gave the go-ahead to put a $198-million bond measure before the voters in the March 3 primary. Monies will be used to improve campus safety, repair and equip classrooms, and bring instructional technology up to date. Buildings across the school district’s 15 campuses need new roofs, plumbing and air conditioning.

Safety is a big part of it. The surge in school shootings has pointed up the need to limit campus access points and make sure children don’t come into harm’s way. We’d pay just about anything for that protection, while at the same time hoping there is proper bond oversight to make sure the money that will be spent is used wisely.

Good education doesn’t come cheaply, and The Acorn has always been a supporter of local schools. Therefore, we endorse the LVUSD school bond in March. Not that property owners won’t feel the pain. The taxation is pretty much out of control. The owner of a home assessed at $500,000 at the time of purchase today pays more than $400 a year in Las Virgenes school taxes in addition to property taxes. The new measure will add another $100. But it’s a relatively small investment when it comes to the future of our kids. Good things like the construction of two performance arts centers and the replacement of trailers with permanent classrooms were accomplished with the 2006 Measure G school bond. A previous bond, 1997’s Measure R, helped give us the new Yerba Buena Elementary School. Let’s keep it rolling.

One caveat: The revenue will not and must not go toward teacher and administrator costs. LVUSD has argued that a rising share of its budget must go toward increased pensions, hence less money is available for paint, plumbing and air conditioning. If LVUSD remains saddled with high pension costs— despite a complete turnaround in the investment market since the 2009 crash—maybe it’s because employees aren’t paying into the fund adequately. That should change.

Meanwhile, support the Las Virgenes school bond in 2020. Good educational facilities are the lifeblood of the community.

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