When I moved to Scotts Valley from San Jose, I was perplexed by the lack of funding in our school district. Why does the Scotts Valley School District get fewer dollars per student than many other districts in our state? I had been told it’s because we are designated a “rural” community.
I also knew it had to do with Proposition 13, but all districts are equally affected by that, right?
I’ve since learned it’s complicated, complex, confusing, archaic and, ultimately, frustrating. It is also my belief that, like me, most parents in Scotts Valley don’t truly understand these convoluted financing methods. To that end, I thought it would be beneficial to the community to have Karen Jelcick, with the district office, explain California school financing and how the new state budget will affect our already struggling district.
What potential cuts are we looking at, and what can we do? For those of you who have heard Karen speak before, you know how well she can communicate and simplify this complex concept. I had been forewarned, however: “We’ve done this before, Brian, and only 12 people showed up!”
But surely parents will come to this event, because information is power, and it’s important that we all know the facts. Perhaps, I thought, it was a lack of marketing and publicity, rather than a lack of interest and engagement. Publicize it well and we can certainly get 50 parents from each school to this presentation. (We have 400 families at Brook Knoll alone.)
That’s 200 people total from all four schools.
“That’s a lofty goal, Brian. Good luck.”
So, here it is, parents of Scotts Valley students: On Feb. 2, at 6 p.m. there will be a Fiscal Advisory Committee meeting at the Scotts Valley Middle School, 8 Bean Creek Road. Jelcick will explain not only California school financing, but also how the new state budget will affect the 2010-11 year.
I implore each family to sacrifice one hour, send at least one parent and take a friend! I know that the Scotts Valley schools are blessed with an incredibly generous, hardworking parent and teacher population. It’s important that we all collectively understand the financial realities facing our school district.
Ever the optimist, I will have enough coffee for at least 100 people.
• Brian Ruf is vice president of fundraising for the Brook Knoll Elementary School Parent Teacher Association.