Blog Post: Schools Face Bankruptcy

A record number of school districts in California are facing bankruptcy. What can we do?

We are conditioned by this latest recession and economic downturn to accept bankruptcies. They have been common. Most of them have involved companies like Circuit City, Shoe Pavilion and Montgomery Ward, just to name three. I don't think many of us ever expected cities and states to go bankrupt. But it's happening. Added to that dubious list are public schools. A record number of California school districts are now facing bankruptcy. Twelve school districts in California cannot pay their bills this year or next "according to a biannual report on the financial health of the states 1,037 school systems compiled by the state Department of Education."

The financially challenged districts represent 2.6 million children. This is a disaster for the future of this state and country. Experts maintain that the situation could dramatically worsen if initiatives to raise taxes to help public schools fail to pass in November.

My personal position is not to compaign and implore you to vote to raise taxes in November. I am as tired of rising taxes as anyone. But I AM seriously concerned about the future of education in this state. I am also extremely annoyed at the politicians who mismanaged and kept diminishing educational funds to the point where we may no longer be able to guarantee every citizen and child a free public education. That is nothing short of a tragedy. I don't need to rely on hyperbole to impress upon people what no education or limited eduaction opportunities will mean to our economy and culture in the future. It would be catastrophic. The domino effect to eventual collapse of the state seems inevitable. Education is the foundation that every society is built upon.

Of course, if schools go bankrupt and there simply isn't a school for a child to attend, there will always be private schools; for those who can afford them. What happens to the kids whose families can't afford to pay for an education? If school budgets continue to take a hit from the state, it seems only a matter of time before everyone will have to pay tuition to even attend a public school. Obviously, this will provide a huge imbalance in our society. The "haves" will prosper and get an education and anything else they need and the "have nots" will languish in situations and lives that will offer little hope. That's certainly not the American dream that our Founding Fathers envisioned and I can't believe it's one that any of us would want to see our state settle for because they have decided to make education a low priority. I don't know how school districts will get the funding they need to survive. I just know that all of us must make sure that somehow they DO survive!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

John F. July 18, 2012 at 03:48 PM
I have to respectfully disagree. Although I do not know any union heads personally, I know of their actions personally. My senior year of high school was riddled with union-related nonsense and it hampered the teaching atmosphere significantly. They were arguing for money from a bond measure that was already concretely appropriated to other areas. They even picketed outside of the school for a week solid. I also know that the local level of teachers unions are softer than the higher-ups, but think of this. The california teachers union, as a whole, endorsed Mumia Abu-Jamal (convicted cop killer) in a statement they put out in April of last year known as "Resolution 19": “Mumia Abu-Jamal has for decades as a journalist fought courageously against racism and police brutality and for the human rights of all people and has taken strong stands in support of working people involved in labor struggles and in support of well-funded, quality, public education,” http://dailycaller.com/2011/04/11/teachers-support-cop-killer/ So I'd give you the arguement that some local teachers union reps are for the kids.... the California level is a far cry from being "all about the kids".
Steven Hanson July 18, 2012 at 03:53 PM
I won't disagree about the California state level union reps...I don't know what their motives are in operating their business, but I've disagreed with them more than I've agreed with them.
Todd N. July 18, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Respectfully B.K., do teachers or unions have ANY responsibility for the diminution of the quality of education? Seriously, is it always someone else’s fault? It sounds to me like you are saying that the poor teachers and unions are held bound and gagged by the nasty, fat cat administrators. I’m sure administrators have blood on their hands (figuratively speaking), but are they the only ones? What say we implement a voucher system and let the money follow the good teachers and schools? The sad part is that not only teachers and unions hate vouchers, but the parents living in good school districts who fear that their kids will be negatively affected, when the truth is that every school will have to “compete” (dirty word to some) for children which will inevitably make schools, and teachers, better. But the money spent by unions to defeat vouchers when it came up for a vote in California proves that teachers, unions and some parents in good school districts, would rather have security for themselves than quality schools for the majority. http://www.cato.org/pubs/briefs/bp-025.html
Steven Hanson July 18, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Just don't lump all teachers into one category or generalization. I think vouchers, charter schools, open enrollment are viable ideas. Schools will never get better, no matter what is implemented at this point, because those with the power, influence and money at their disposal will never give that up...and those aren't teachers. It's just like countries, businesses or anything else...change will only come by dramatic, strong reform and that is not part of education's agenda.
John F. July 18, 2012 at 04:25 PM
It's hard not to send comments to all teachers B.K. The teachers march to the beat of the Union's drum. It's great to know that there are teachers that have your ideas, I do personally know a lot of them. The problem is when teachers with these ideals do not stand up to their union heads, or if their union heads do not stand up to the next teir up for fear of being black-listed. This is the problem, amongst other things. The unions rule by fear and money. Fear of standing up to them until you have tenure because of being easily fired and the unions collecting over $1000 in mandatory dues a head to be used for political gain. B.K. I do like teachers, but knowing the facts about the California Teachers Union's meddling in places where it doesn't belong makes me detest the organization of the CTU. ( http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/18/opinion/la-oe-senik-california-teachers-association-20120518 )


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