Posted on Oct 31, 2011
SDEA PRESS RELEASE — SDUSD School Board Trustee Scott Barnett has held two press conferences over the past three workdays designed to inflate and politicize our District’s fiscal situation and to improve his damaged public image. Barnett is yet again suggesting the decimation of the teaching profession in San Diego to fill a budget hole that no one will know exists until January of 2012 at the soonest. Despite recent hubbub about insolvency, the truth is that there are 13 California districts that received a negative fiscal certification and 97 districts that received a qualified fiscal certification last spring. Those districts, such as LAUSD, have indeed begun down the road to insolvency — but SDUSD is not one of them! The reality is that nothing has changed in the District’s finances since receiving a positive fiscal certification last spring — including the fact that the District is sitting on $75 million of reserve funds above and beyond the required $22 million. No new information about the District’s budget will be available from the state until January, and bad news is in no way a foregone conclusion (two points which undoubtedly influenced Barnett to set a seemingly arbitrary December 31 response deadline for employee unions). Rather than operate within the reality of the District’s budget, Barnett is continuing his predecessor John deBeck’s history of premature alarmism to improve his own future, not our students’ futures. Here is the truth about Scott Barnett:
- Barnett has a long and public history of reversing his position if he thinks it is politically expedient.
- Barnett initially supported Prop. J in 2010 — a parcel tax that would have improved local school funding — and then withdrew his support from the parcel tax. This morning, he has reversed course yet again, and is suggesting that very thing: a local parcel tax to improve school funding.
- Barnett voted against issuing any teacher layoffs last March (when he knew the votes were there to issue layoffs anyway), but then voted against rescinding them throughout the spring.
- Last year, Barnett wanted to avoid teacher layoffs by laying off thousands of additional classified workers instead. Now, he is proposing sparing classified workers from pay cuts, which would instead be absorbed by teachers. (The one thing he’s consistent about is being divisive.)
- Most recently, Barnett supported the District’s school closure proposals, until hundreds of angry parents and teachers marched on the School Board last Tuesday. On Thursday he flipped his position, and scheduled two press conferences about it!
Barnett knows that proposals such as a 10% across-the-board pay cut, dismantling employees’ healthcare and tying teacher compensation to ballot measures aren’t necessary or viable. Rather than work with the members of San Diego’s educational community to create a realistic long-term fiscal plan, Barnett has instead chosen to work on his rhetoric, suggesting publicly that San Diego’s teachers will agree to renegotiate our closed contact if we have a gun to our heads. Shame on Barnett for not offering a better example to our children! Rather than propose that a gun be placed against the heads of his own children’s teachers, or wasting his time calling press conference after press conference, Barnett should join the rest of us and do some actual work on behalf of San Diego’s students.