The dog days of summer are behind us, and I know your campus has been a whirlwind of activity this week; you’re crazy busy and really just getting started. Hopefully by now your roll sheet is a little more settled; your seating chart is almost done and your copies are ready for next week. We’re happy to have our counselors joining us this year too; we’re excited that they will be a part of our association!
Because I know you’re busy, I really want to thank you for taking the time to read our newsletter. The times, they are a-changing, and we have a lot on our plate this year.
As you may be aware, area two and three school board seats are up for grabs this November; those seats are currently filled by Chad Vegas and Jeff Flores. Vegas says he isn’t planning to run again, but we believe Flores will. We’re still interviewing candidates and haven’t given an endorsement yet. We urge you to vote, but be aware, our trustees are not the only important issue on November’s ballot.
Taking up where Proposition 30 left off, Proposition 55 needs to pass. As you recall, several years ago Prop 30 added a slight increase in sales tax as well as additional income tax on individuals earning $250,000 and couples earning $500,000 or more. Prop 30’s sales tax portion has already expired, and the income tax segment is set to expire in the upcoming months. Without imposing additional taxes, Proposition 55 will extend the income tax portion of the prior mandate to allow schools to continue to fund programs and services that were in jeopardy before we passed Proposition 30.
If you’ll recall, Proposition 30 was our saving grace. Prior to its passage, we were facing deep cuts including possible furlough days. Proposition 30 has kept us from losing teachers when the rest of the state was laying teachers off right and left. Prop 30 kept us from paying insurance premiums when other teachers throughout the state had large increases. There were even talks about shortening our school year during that period. Thanks for Proposition 30, that didn’t happen.
Proposition 55 is not a new tax – it is an extension of Proposition 30’s already existent tax paid by individuals making more than $250,000, and couples making more than $500,000 only. It will enable us to continue to grow our schools and support our kids, allowing us to give them the quality education they deserve. And it will keep us living indoors.
KHSD also has a bond on the November ballot that will allow the expansion of the district’s career technology program. They are planning a state-of-the-art facility, which will house a culinary arts program, sports medicine labs and other programs geared toward high need – and high interest fields. They are planning to fund a swimming pool – possibly two – with the bond, and build another comprehensive high school in the south or west area of town.
I’m not going to lie to you; the budgetary outlook for the future is not good without Proposition 55, and if it doesn’t pass, we could be facing another financial crisis. The positive is, if Proposition 55 passes, the majority of the money is earmarked for education with only a small portion allocated to child health care. We need your support on this one.
As much as we love summer break, this one held some sadness and adversity, not only for us, but for the communities we serve. We lost two of our own in passing: Nicole Cerotsky of Arvin High School, and Ken Correa of Vista West. Our hearts go out to their families.
In addition, the Erskine fire in the Lake Isabella area took a tole on many of our students and their families. The CTA Relief Fund offered grants for needy individuals, but for many the disaster was devastating; the results enduring. Through its outreach, CTA will continue to support the Lake Isabella community as it rebuilds, heals and restores itself in the months and years to come. Our hearts are heavy, but we are optimistic about what the future holds.
You’ve probably already received your first e-mail about our new electronic voting system. We’re excited to be able to offer it. Please be sure to submit your home e-mail to the system so that you use it for voting purposes, making it more private, secure and confidential than ever before. If you’re not inclined to use electronic voting, we still offer alternate methods. Just drop us a line, and we’ll work it out.