Letters to the Editor 2-27-2020
Manhattan Beach math
It seems like things are repeating themselves, as in Bill Murray’s classic movie “Groundhog Day.” But it’s really just the annual whining by the MBUSD administration that they need more money. Haven’t we learned yet that throwing more money at a problem is not a solution? A hard look at expenditures needs to be done; perhaps a zero based budgeting process. The Manhattan Beach Education Foundation (thanks for your efforts) continues to raise the ask and the parcel task was passed two years ago in a somewhat dubious manner to raise additional funds. But the school district is still short. I appreciate explanations citing the 2008-09 recession’s impact on the pension investment but, really, stock markets at are an all-time high. Most folks recovered from the recession 10 years ago. If the pension fund has not, that is a whole other issue.
We need to look at expenditures and the return on our investment. For example:
Why does our superintendent receive salary increases when those who directly interact with the students on a daily basis do not? Why do we pay for the superintendent to stay at a local hotel when he is too tired or it is too late for him to drive home. He knew the commute when he took this position.
Why do we have a disproportionate number of special needs students (broadly defined) versus other districts? Not to demean the needs of these students and their families, but it is well known throughout the LA region that MBUSD exceeds state requirements for these students, putting a larger burden on other families in the district to make up the funding shortfall. People with special needs children move into our district because of this largess. I am glad to be able to live in Manhattan Beach and to send my children to the strong schools that we have.But I think it is time we looked at our expenses from the bottom up. I know the administration will say they have done so but clearly they have not.
Manhattan’s number 2,
and that’s not good
California’s General Fund Reserves exceed $20 billion and its Special Fund Reserves exceed $16 billion. The Manhattan Beach Unified School District is one of the top school districts in the state. But the district is facing budget cuts in 2020. MBUSD is the second lowest funded K-12 school district in the state. With a $36 billion budget surplus there should be enough money to increase the funding for California’s schools.
The fact that Beach Cities Health District will be in the red is not a reason for them to assault the local neighborhoods with 10 to 15 years of construction for their Healthy Living Campus. Nearby property values will fall, homes will become harder to sell, and commute times will rise. Asthma, heart disease and stroke will all increase from the construction particulates. The constant noise, heavy truck traffic, sirens, and vibration will cause chronic stress, which Bluezones.com calls the “silent killer,” shortening the lives all around BCHD, including an entire generation of school children. If BCHD is so ready to sacrifice the local neighborhoods, then they need to reconsider their mission.
Return the apron
The City of Redondo should give the Reed family back the driveway apron taken from them that they used to help their disabled daughter get in and out of their car. (“Family nixes council blue curb solution,” ER Feb. 20, 2020). There is not one reasonable excuse to postpone aid to Kelly Reed and her family.
by Judy Rae