Has the superintendent mastered the use of the possessive? I don’t mean to pick on Sup. Diaz, but grammar and spelling should be checked, re-checked and triple checked. Errors do not inspire confidence. (Did I miss any?) Hot off the press from Sup. Edwin Diaz (emphasis mine):
Dear PUSD Community: Many of you are aware of Californias (sic) current fiscal crisis, and its potential negative impact on public education funding statewide. You may not know that the Governors (sic) proposal to eliminate the deficit would result in the loss of $10 million for Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD). A cut of this magnitude threatens to slow recent gains in student achievement, halt Districtwide reform efforts currently underway and preclude future investments in programs that directly support students, teachers and schools. The proposed budget cuts are particularly frustrating because they come at a time when the PUSD has laid the foundation for every student, teacher and department to experience significant improvement over the next year.
This week, the Board of Education discussed initial proposals for reducing expenses to achieve the $10 million reduction required by the State. Those recommendations include cutting funding for targeted student improvement initiatives. For example, we are considering cuts to the additional staffing support for secondary schools to help students still struggling with literacy. We are considering increasing the ratio of students to teachers in grades 4-12. The proposals would also lower the number of counselors available to support students and leave vacancies in health programs unfilled. The proposed measures would significantly slow organizational reforms underway to streamline the Districts (sic) central office structure and improve student performance throughout the District.
Unfortunately, given budget cuts in recent years, this initial list represents the lowest-impact reductions available to the District at this time. However, our greatest concern is that our intial (sic) list still will not generate sufficient cost savings to fill the looming shortfall.
PUSD has taken the initiative by identifying the areas where the District needs to improve and making the difficult decisions required to accelerate student performance and pursue the educational excellence our community deserves. However, we have reached the point where we must either stall our improvement agenda , or identify new sources of revenue to invest in our future. Our ability to continue to improve the educational experience of all children is directly connected to the resources available to invest in and support our students, teachers and school administrators.
The Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre communities have a wealth of financial, educational and community resources that could be mobilized in support of our public schools. Over the past several months, I have seen a substantial increase in the willingness of businesses, local governments and institutions to partner with the PUSD for this purpose. I am gratified by their demonstrations of support. On behalf of our children, our employers and our community, I will begin to aggressively pursue more external funding in the coming months to allow PUSD to focus its resources on programs that directly impact teaching and learning. I will identify investors for targeted, high-impact initiatives and build coalitions to support our childrens (sic) needs outside of the classroom. Everyone has a stake in the quality of public education in our community, and a role in building a sustainable, healthy infrastructure that supports the success of every student we serve. I encourage you to become knowledgeable about the PUSD budget situation, advocate for changes in the state budget process, join the effort to identify local sources of funding for our schools and join coalitions that are working to help PUSD in its Approach to Excellence.
Edwin Diaz Superintendent
Dormitas over at Pasadena’s Political Underbelly has a grim solution to the budget woes. Mind you, Mr. D has said you’d have to pay him to send his kids to a PUSD school. After reading this story about the condition of the bathrooms at Pasadena High School, you can’t blame him. Still, PUSD is for the rest of us who can’t afford private school. We need it to do a good job.
This reminds me of the old classic:
Except for now, the Air Force has an aging fleet and could use the money too.