1. Good reasons not to rush a parcel tax onto the ballot
There are abundant reasons the Gilroy Unified School District should not pursue going to the ballot box with a parcel tax this November.
Rushing such an important proposal is a bad idea and, with so many taxes headed for the ballot, the electorate is going to have a hard time separating the issues.
GUSD trustees have done quite a bit of 11th hour scrambling while considering the potential for an $8 million budget cut if Gov. Brown’s tax proposals are defeated this November.
Members of the Gilroy City Council who voted against any further consideration of the possibility of a local sales tax measure are quick to point this out.
They’re right of course, but what’s the point when the schools are facing such massive budget reductions?
2. Fresh perspective from City Hall will indeed be welcome
Unfortunately, GUSD trustees expressed the wish for a fresh perspective from a newly elected city governing body following November’s mayoral and Council elections.
That’s understandable. The Council had neither patience, nor perspective in recent discussions and seemingly couldn’t be bothered to even brainstorm about ways to lend a hand.
Trustee Rhoda Bress summed up GUSD’s frustration well.
“I think that the people that we interview and ask questions to in the upcoming election, we should ensure that the people we support consider education a quality-of-life issue in Gilroy,” she said.
She cautioned trustees to be “very detailed in the questions that we ask the (City Council) candidates about this issue.”
She’s right, of course. The fact is, whether some members of the City Council like it or not, we’re all in this community together. And, if education is not a top priority, it should be. What happens in our schools impacts the entire community and there’s no room for turf wars. It should be all about solutions.
3. Trustees should not stand pat, but seek alternative solutions
Hopefully, the new Council will be able to maintain and mend fences instead of burning bridges.
In the interim, GUSD should continue to seek as many solutions as possible that have as little impact on the classroom as possible.
Closing an elementary school and expanding the popular and successful Gilroy Prep Charter School should be a top-of-the-list consideration.
Perhaps a visit with Morgan Hill’s trustees and Superintendent Wes Smith would be helpful. Somehow, Morgan Hill has managed to keep the furlough days to a bare minimum and will add only one one additional furlough day if the governor’s tax proposals fail in November. That’s a far cry from the chaos Gilroy is facing. All possible solutions need to be explored.