In the heat of local races, letters-to-the-editor often are
written to incite the emotions of the reader rather than providing
In the heat of local races, letters-to-the-editor often are written to incite the emotions of the reader rather than providing accurate data. Mr. Allen incorrectly stated that the average certificated employee in GUSD makes $75,985. Throw in $7,744 for health benefits and $6,000 for state teachers retirement system, this gives a whopping $89,729! Nothing could be further from the truth. If Mr. Allen thinks teachers are being compensated thusly, I’ve got an Eagle Ridge house to sell him for $50,000.
Using Mr. Allen’s convoluted data, the 511 full time equivalent teachers would be costing the district a whopping $46 million annually. Wrong, again. A simple perusal of the GUSD J-90’s program report shows certificated salaries averaged $54,559. With benefits and retirement, it rounds to $68,000. With this salary, GUSD’s teachers rank 29th out of 32 districts in Santa Clara County.
Unlike private industry, teachers get no 401k program, no paid disability, no paid vacations, no paid life insurance, and virtually no reimbursement for teachers who spend upwards of $1,000 per year of their own money on classroom supplies. The National School Supply and Equipment Association estimates that teachers spend over $1 billion of their own money for classroom supplies, annually.
Mr. Allen plays loose and free with the district numbers concerning costs per student. Ed-Data lists the average cost per California student at $6,561, which is $803 less than the national average. With the base revenue limit per Gilroy student at $4,606, one is intrigued by Mr. Allen’s data. I hope he realizes that categorical monies and special grants/funding are not spread throughout all students in the district. The cost for Special Education students might approximate Mr. Allen’s $10,000, but not even Basic Aid districts in Evergreen, Cupertino or Los Gatos with salaries topping the mid-$80’s after 25 years, get this much per student.
But what do these things have to do with building classrooms with Measure I funds?
As we near election day, anti-Measure I advocates wish to distract the voters from the crux of the public school building problems in the GUSD and the state of California. Over 73 percent of California classrooms are older than 25 years. Students are still moving into Gilroy, and schools must be built for them, either now or later. The national debt, California’s budget problems, and teachers? salaries have nothing to do with housing students in the future.
Measure I is important for students, parents, and the community of Gilroy not only now, but for decades to come. I would prefer to build schools with today’s cheaper dollars than wait years down the road constructing schools that inevitably will be more costly.
Being an informed citizen makes one a powerful voter. Vote Yes! on Measure I and state Proposition 47.
Dale Morejón, Gilroy
Submitted Thursday, Oct. 24 to [email protected]