After a coin flip at the GUARDIAN world headquarters, the YES folks won top billing for this story, but the GUARDIAN will stick with long standing policy and not endorse issues or candidates. We provide the forum to further public discussion of important issues. The election is March 13. (We really did flip for top billing).
YES on School Levy, Schools Do Great Job
By Mike Lanza
Boise’s public schools are a great success story. All four of Boise’s traditional high schools have made the annual Washington Post list of the top high schools in America—one of just 20 large districts in the entire country to place all of their high schools on that list. Our District has outstanding Advanced Placement, music, vocational-technical and numerous other programs.
Thanks to three years of cuts in state funding, our schools now face an operating deficit of $14 million beginning with the 2012-2013 school year. Voters will decide March 13 on a temporary, five-year school levy to fill the gap. All revenue will go toward maintaining the low class sizes and existing programs that have made our schools and students successful. In fact, the Boise School District spends less on administration, as a percentage of total spending, than all but one school district in Idaho. In making $22 million in administrative and operational cuts over the past three years, the District has accountably balanced its budget without affecting classrooms.
The math is simple. Staff makes up about 87 percent of the District’s budget. If the levy fails, our schools will have to make the biggest cuts in District history: $14 million equates to about 230 teachers. Larger class sizes and losses to popular programs would be unavoidable, compromising the quality of education delivered by one of America’s best school districts.
The school levy is supported by many civic and business leaders, including Mayor Dave Bieter, the City Council, KeyBank of Idaho, Treasure Valley Family YMCA, the Idaho Technology Council, and residents from all over Boise. They all agree: This levy represents an investment in our children’s future, our local economy, and our quality of life.
On March 13, vote for our future: Vote yes for Boise schools.
Mike Lanza is a co-chair of the volunteer group Friends of Boise Schools (yesforboiseschools.org).
NO On Levy, Just A Union Effort To Increase Salaries
By Jim Auld
The union inspired Boise School District levy election is based on the myth of insufficient funding. To scare patrons into supporting the election the BSD suggests the potential loss of 200 teachers. The facts say otherwise.
The 200l budget was $171 million with a student population of 26,778 or $6413 per student. The worst case suggested by BSD is a budget of $166 million for 25269 students or $6569 per student. So in the worst case there is more spending per student than in 2001.
Would class sizes increase? BSD says there are currently 1420 teachers with 25269 students, a student teacher ratio of 18 to 1. BSD tells us current classrooms average 24 students per teacher. So if BSD did release 200 teachers the class size would still be around 21 if all teachers were actually teaching. So what is the problem?
Is BSD having a problem with the truth? Isn’t this levy election just to raise money for salary increases, something most BSD patrons themselves have not seen for several years.?
This is a result of the almost total control of BSD by the teachers union. The union according to the Idaho Freedom Foundation receives about $850,000 in union dues paid by the taxpayer. (New teachers are told they don’t have to pay union dues.)
So it appears from my view the levy is a cynical attempt to raise funds for salary increases and to keep up the union cash flow while making it appear BSD is in dire financial straits while placing little Johnny”s education in jeopardy. What a crock!
Please send a message to BSD and vote no on Mar 13.
Jim Auld represents theAda County Property Owners Association
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