Fred Brill is the Superintendent of the Lafayette School District, who oversees four Elementary Schools and a Middle School. He had a simple message for the Lamorinda Democratic Club and their guests, at the March 10th meeting: The School District needs help and wants support of the Measure B parcel tax of $176 to close the funding gap caused by the drop in the state funding. The salient features of his talk including responses to some questions were:
1. He visited a school this morning and was very pleased to see the high degree of volunteerism with the school. He commented that there were 5 adults in each class in the Elementary school helping kids, and that the district has received high marks on its achievements.
2. In the past 3 years the funding has been cut back by 18% with the district losing $1100 per kid.
3. Structural budget gap is $2.2 million with Measure B hoping to raise $2 million
4. They will cut the school year by 4 days to close the gap.
5. 89% of the costs are teachers and they are looking at a loss of 20 teachers.
6. The State has been an unreliable and irregular funding source.
7. Measure B would be $176 per parcel, would need 2/3rds of the voters to pass; there is a senior exemption. The election will be by Mail Ballot only.
8. The Lottery Money is a tiny amount of the $26 million budget.
9. The State’s fundamental problems continue to haunt the school district including the suspension of Prop 98 that was designed to protect school funding.
10. On paper the State owes the District $3.2 million but there is no real mechanism to force it to be paid.
11. Currently the district is getting a $333 parcel tax.
12. Frequently asked questions are available on the District’s website
After the talk Randy Shandobil (former political Editor of KTVU), who was preparing for a separate topic talk added that the Lottery Money was a sham; that all the state did was to shuffle money around so doesn’t really provide net benefit to schools.
It was noted by Brill that parcel tax money could not be taken by the State and that it would not be used to support any administrative costs.
The Club voted to endorse support of Measure B.