Letters: MPUSD flunks in priorities

Carmel High School offers 14 advanced placement courses. Pacific Grove High and Salinas High both offer 10, while Everett Alvarez, Alisal and North Salinas High offer nine, eight and seven, respectively. Full Story
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MHS mom

Salinas, CA

#62 Oct 22, 2010
Mel wrote:
All the bond money in the world is not going to improve the facilities or the quality of education in MPUSD. All you have to do is go to a school site and look at "upgrades" that were completed with state modernization funds. Substandard, shoddy, and unmaintained.
Leadership is the determining factor in maintaining physical plant, and hiring a sufficient number of custodial and maintenance staff is a close second.
Example One: the Monterey Sports Center. Sit and watch sometime.
Example Two: the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Again, go and observe.
In the absence of that kind of leadership and workplace culture of excellence and customer satisfaction, any upgrades and repairs in MPUSD will be reduced to crap again in less than five years. And the suckers who voted for it will be paying for 30.
I wish I had written this one Mel!! Thank you!

Salinas, CA

#63 Oct 23, 2010
No not exactly flunks-- they pass everybody in MPUSD and pretend

Pacific Grove, CA

#64 Oct 23, 2010
Well written Mel! I really enjoy the cleanliness of that center! NO on P
A dfferent alternative

Monterey, CA

#65 Oct 25, 2010
Call me insame but if money is the issue, then why not look at some true alternative thinking to these problems. For reference, I am using the 2000 US Census Data since it is what determines Federal funding levels.

1. The total student on the Peninsula is 15,545 comprised of 11,704 in MPUSD (75%), 2,149 (14%) in Carmel and 1,692 (11%) in PG.
2. The average classroom ratios are 20.5:1, 15.4:1 and 14.9:1.
3. Enrollment is declining across the three districts.

And the alternative is to combine the three districts. Yes, Carmel and PG will suffer in the short term but the long term gains by consolidating services and administration far outweigh the short term loses.

The bottom line is the Peninsula is SMALL and to have three distinct school districts for this few students is ridiculous. All the schools on the Peninsula are old and difficult to maintain in compliance with State construction standards.

As a wider community, we need to stop keeping up with the Jones' and focus on the word community and what it means.
Commentary Part 2

Monterey, CA

#66 Oct 25, 2010
A problem that most are having with Measure 8 - is this: What does Measure 8 really mean?

Answer: A very large taxpayer bond to finance schools.

Reality: a stopgap that does not improve education outside of physical comfort.

Issue: The MPUSD must maintain compliance with the California Building codes. Right now, every school in the District fails to meet the California Building Standards (Title 24) in multiple areas. Many of these are issues that also fail the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) such as thresholds, water fountain heights, etc.

Problem: MPUSD has known of these areas for years. The buildings are over 40 to 60 years old. Mesaure 8 will be used to remedy many of hte problems. HOWEVER - that is ONLY true if it is managed with fiscal responsibility. Marilyn Sheppard and the School Board HAVE NOT shown an ability to successfully generate and execute either a strategic or short-term vision for how to solve any problems over the past 10 years.

Recommendation: Do not pass measure 8 however support local leadership (i.e., mayors and planners in Seaside, Monterey, Marina and Sand City) to present an alternative plan that can be called before a special board in the Spring.

Conclusion: MPUSD has shown little initiative or ability to think of alternatives except to ask for more money and hold everyone responsible fo rthe problems then themselves. DO NOT give them millions of more dollars to support their quick fixes and fancy ideas. WE need real leadership to stand up and say what is truly wrong and take the LEADERSHIP to fix it.
Measure P funds mismanged

Monterey, CA

#67 Oct 25, 2010
What happens if the Measure P funds are mismanged and the schools do not come into compliance with California Building Standards (NOTE: justification for the Measure).

For the last two months dozens of people have talked about how something must be done regardless of management. Both the Monterey Herald and the Montereey Weekly endorsed Measure P but read what they said. While endorsements are usually categorical both of theirs specifically cited management issues with MPUSD (though overridden by the educational issues).

That is fine. It is just $110 million dollars of taxpayer monies.

The risk of mismanagement is tremendously high in this school district. MPUSD has shown an uncanny ability to squandor resources first after BRAC and military closure of Fort Ord, then in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and lately over the past three years. Ask a corporate risk manager (or Las Vegas if you prefer) if they would take this $110 million bet.

Propoents are right - this is about our children and future. And if MPUSD is accountable then great! But what happens if that does not occur?

Measure P is a half thought out concept with no implementation methodology presented by MPUSD to the voters. THIS may be the one shot to make a difference.

Taking the emotional baggage of educating children aside, this is an economics decision. And it honestly would have been an easy one had the School Board showed an inclination to properly manage the publics trust the last 15 years. Sadly it has not. And thus we are left with a grasping of straws.

Measure P will not attract new teachers (pay and respect do that) nor make schools look like the glossy Facilities Master Plans without an added $100-150 Million of matching State funds (which are not available).

But Measure P may lead more future residents to look at other districts to place their children if it fails to raise test scores.

Short term wins versus long-term improvement. Measure P sounds nice but even MPUSD has not shown once in their many meetings that they can provide eitehr to this community.
Colton Parent

Monterey, CA

#68 Oct 25, 2010
Thanks for the sharing you thoughts " A Different Alternative"

No way Carmel and PG join this mess. It would downgrade their school system.

A larger district should have economies of scale working for them in reducing overhead expenses, but the MPUSD does not realize them. A larger district also means trying to accomodate three cities with diverse needs. The compromise here means that nobody ends up with what they want.

A better idea may be to break up the district. Montery parents would like a system such as Pacific Grove's district. Seaside wants more funds catering to the bilingual and cultural challenges they face. Marina wants to accomodate all the new growth they will see from Fort Ord in the next few years.

All the needs are valid and different. Three efficient and focused districts are superior to one big mess where no group is satisfied.
now we aretalking

Pacific Grove, CA

#69 Oct 25, 2010
Bingo!!!!!!!!!! And the first step in making that happen is REJECTING this bond measure. If it passes Shepherd will be in total control for at LEAST three more years!

Salinas, CA

#70 Oct 25, 2010
now we aretalking wrote:
Bingo!!!!!!!!!! And the first step in making that happen is REJECTING this bond measure. If it passes Shepherd will be in total control for at LEAST three more years!
Not sure if I am correct on this maybe someone can put me straight. If the bond passes then I do not think Marina could leave the district because of the debt that would be owed and they would then have to sort major financial issues out. It could then stop the district breaking apart right?

Pacific Grove, CA

#71 Oct 25, 2010
James- that's a good question but you know, if there's a will there is a way, right?
Mr B

Salinas, CA

#72 Mar 31, 2011
OK there are alot of accusations that MPUSD's schools are not in compliance with state building codes, but we have yet to see anyone provide any backup to these claims. I've tried to find something myself, but do not know where to look. Can someone provide a link? I'm having trouble believing all these accusations.
Helter skelter

Salinas, CA

#73 Apr 25, 2011
Mr B wrote:
OK there are alot of accusations that MPUSD's schools are not in compliance with state building codes, but we have yet to see anyone provide any backup to these claims. I've tried to find something myself, but do not know where to look. Can someone provide a link? I'm having trouble believing all these accusations.
MPUSD are not in compliance with new ADA and Title 24. However many other districts in California are in the same boat.
School districts have a certain number of years to get all of the old schools up to code.
As these schools are 30 to 50 years old, some are even older, there are many issues that have to be addressed.
The bond money is supposed to get all of the schools compliant, and by doing so there goes your $110 million in the blink of an eye.
Needs to get done by State law and for the safety for all stepping on an MPUSD campus. They are all looking very shabby and dirty too.
As for building code violations? Not when they were built, however, there are many safety issues today. That's what happens when you don't keep up with routine maintenance and don't have the number of staff needed to do the maintenance.
Was there a specific issue you wanted to look up? I might be able to give you a link if you can tell me what you are looking for.

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