Just below Virginia, Georgia and Iowa

Dear Editor,

Alan Viarengo, in his most inarticulate letter in years, amazes even the least knowledgeable regarding public school funding. He misquotes and changes facts, and spews them with an attitude befitting George W (“Just the facts I want to know, Karl, that’s how we’ll spin it.”). As I got pulled into the parcel tax discussion by Mr. Viarengo, my tack was to explain why communities vote for parcel taxes when governments underfund public education.

Mr. Viarengo doesn’t question California’s 44th ranking in public education state funding even though California has the sixth largest economy in the known universe. This fact doesn’t relate to his ideology, therefore is meaningless. More inquisitive, critical thinkers might ask why and investigate.

He would be unconcerned that New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts fund public education at $12,568, $11,961, $11,057 and $10,460 respectively, and California ranks just below Virginia, Georgia and Iowa at $7,552 per student. Viarengo asks where is the money going to come from? Taxpayers. Why are other states funded with so much more than California? Priorities.

Mr. Viarengo belittles both the Bureau of Labor Statistics Report and the respected, non-partisan Rand Corporation Report. So what does Mr. Viarengo know that these professional organizations have missed? If Mr. Viarengo has questions about these reports, wouldn’t it be prudent to just read them?

I forget to add holidays to all the other non-paid days teachers accrue. That would be 20 to 25 additional days teachers receive no pay.

Teachers do not receive retiree health benefits, matching 401(k) funds, stock options, annual company bonuses, advanced education on company time, a gold watch, and a company-paid retirement party. And why is there a shortage of teachers?

Mr. Viarengo equates low pay to job security. Let’s see … a bad teacher can be removed easily if administrators evaluate timely. No mystery here. Ed Code regulations regarding permanent teacher dismissal are clear. Two consecutive bad evaluations along with remediation and a permanent teacher is gone. Security? Ask the hundreds of teachers in the central coast area who received layoff notices two months ago. Many took jobs in the valley or out of state, and others just quit.

Mr. Viarengo might rethink his college statistics teaching career. I mentioned “average” salary based on cost of living adjustment, and Mr. Viarengo arbitrarily changed it to “median” salary. Why? Who knows?

Using Mr. Viarengo’s imaginary “26th in median salary” number, it would be below not above a fictional national median ranking of 25.5, thus still “underfunded” (whatever that means). As usual, his analyses are meaningless.

Dale Morejón, Gilroy

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