Dear Editor – Dollars and Good Sense

It doesn’t take a union endorsement or a degree in education to make an effective school board member. Being able to make good business decisions does. Let’s put the kids and the community first, foremost and especially at the polls.

As former elected City Treasurer, 30+ year finance professional and 27 year Culver City resident, I’m well versed in decision-making that went into past local revenue measures. This provides perspective on what it takes to be an effective local elected official. We have elections in November (School Board) and then April (City Council) so it’s time for us all to start thinking about it.

What happened to the move to place a schools capital bond measure on the November ballot, when interest rates may still be favorable? I was perplexed, later incensed.

If our City Council had been short sighted and not put the sales tax increase on the 2012 ballot, so voters could decide on needed revenues for vital services, we’d already be hurting. Instead, they were prepared. They made that hard decision, talked with residents and businesses, did what needed to be done. We elected them to work hard, and it shows. The LA County Civil Grand Jury ranked Culver City #3 of the County’s 88 cities for outstanding performance in its fiscal health, governance, and financial management.

What do we elect our school board members to do? We elect them to make good business decisions on behalf of the school district. What they do on that dais affects all of us, whether we have children in district schools, or are property owners vitally interested in excellent services and infrastructure to bolster our property values.

A group endorsement won’t tell you whether a candidate can make good business decisions on behalf of us, the residents. You make your own endorsement by voting, so make sure you find candidates who are ready, willing and able to ask questions of all the vested interests, and then make the decision based on who actually elected them.

Unlike the City Council, recently the School Board has not been working together as a group to make those tough decisions. Over the past several months, Board President Kathy Paspalis and Board Member Laura Chardiet school board members have been working diligently to get input from the community (residents) on infrastructure needs, scheduling meetings at school sites. The other three board members didn’t bother to attend meetings with parent and staff leaders at the various school sites, the same three that claimed they didn’t have enough information to place the bond on a ballot. Many business decisions are made with somewhat incomplete information but it sure helps if the decision makers are doing their homework. Tragically in this case, it didn’t happen, and it shows.

 

Crystal Alexander

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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