Do they sell hearing aids for tone deafness? We think some of Modesto's school leaders may need them.
Modesto City Schools administrators, like educators around the state, are pleading with voters to approve Proposition 30, which would raise the sales tax by a quarter-cent for the next four years and would raise income taxes for seven years on those making more than $250,000 annually.
Without approval of Proposition 30, Modesto Superintendent Pam Able says, the Modesto district faces a $13 million loss in state money and could have to shorten the school year by 15 days and could cut athletics, librarians, art and jobs. "The impact on our students and the community will be massive," Able writes in an op-ed that will appear next week in The Bee.
So why did her administration put on tonight's school board agenda an item proposing to proceed with building a $3.5 million pool at Enochs High School? It was bad timing, at best.
Some common sense apparently prevailed because Friday afternoon, board president Ruben Villalobos told us that the item will be pulled from the agenda and not discussed or voted on.
While we recognize that the money to build the pool will not come from the same account that pays teachers, not all voters understand complicated school finances. And even if they do, they don't like the mixed message we need money for basic operations; we have money to spend for the extras. Modesto City Schools is building a football stadium at Gregori High because the students, parents and district employees want it. That's the same argument cited in the staff report proposing to proceed with the Enochs pool.
The staff report does not acknowledge that once built, the pool will have to be maintained at a cost of thousands per month and that money will come from the district's general fund, the same account that pays teachers.
Polls show voters are wary of Proposition 30. They doubt whether government is being efficient with their tax dollars. That sentiment is especially strong in our community, which is both conservative and especially hard hit by the bad economy. We hope that Modesto school leaders and others in local government hear this.
The school board meeting begins at 6 p.m. today at 425 Locust St.
The Oakdale Irrigation District board, meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, is scheduled to vote on whether to start the environmental review process to sell water to the city of Brisbane. 1205 E. F St.
The Modesto City Council meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Basement, Tenth Street Place.
The Modesto council's Safety & Communities Committee, meeting at 5:30 p.m. today, will hear a report on crime statistics for the first half of 2012 and will talk about a possible policy on art in public places. Room 2005 at Tenth Street Place.
The Modesto Planning Commission, meeting at 6 tonight, will hold a public hearing to allow an 18-unit complex originally approved for seniors to house younger adults, including emancipated foster youth, the homeless and others. The Stanislaus County Affordable Housing Corp. proposed the project on the west side of Lincoln Avenue, south of Penny Lane. Basement, Tenth Street Place.
The Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors, meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, will consider hiring an architect for three jail expansion projects. Basement, Tenth Street Place.
The Modesto Irrigation District board has a special meeting at 9 a.m. Tuesday but no agenda items for public discussion. There will be a closed session, listed to "review complaint against public employees." 1231 11th St.