Letters to the Editor

An old story in education

EDITOR: Reading the April 25 article “Impasse declared in teacher negotiations” returned me to my childhood being the child of two teachers whose friends were teachers and relatives who were teachers as well. Within this collection of teachers were also school principals, administrators and even a district superintendent. Needless to say the dinner conversations at our home always involved schools, kids, parents and, yes, school finances.

Sadly, the article describing the impasse between teachers and WSCUHSD is a chronic recurrent problem in the state of California. The story is unfortunately history repeating itself. Administrators face too many needs and not enough money. The budget constraints fall on the financial shoulders of teacher salaries until they exsanguinate and reach a breaking point as has been the case with west county teachers, being well below state average in pay in a region where cost of living is well above state average.

Negotiations are typically a stalemate as neither side has the resources to reach a win-win agreement. Mediation typically leads to either a compromise where neither party is satisfied with the result, or teachers are forced to strike, which may unfortunately be their best option.

If the needs of teachers are not met in full, we can expect our best and most experienced teachers to leave for greener pastures, being replaced with inexperienced or less desirable teachers who are budget-friendly. As schools decline in performance, parents steer their students out of district or into private school education. Once parents are paying for private school tuition, the public schools lose the personal and financial support of their community.

I would hope the WSCUHSD administrators can find a way to stop the bleeding by prioritizing teacher salaries in the short term and considering seeking external funding through a combination of small money fundraising and large money fiscal infusion at the voter’s booth to further address teacher salary deficits, taking into consideration advances for the future.

West county has a broad range of people, but on average, this is an affluent community that has the resources and incentive to support the public high schools, provided it occurs before their reputation regresses beyond recovery.

Kent Talcott

Sebastopol

The beer, booze and bong mile

EDITOR: Some marketing genuis decided it wasn't enough to sponsor some races and then have a drink or two afterward. (“IPA 10K on tap for Barlow,” May 2) Instead let’s “Make America great again one drunk at a time.” Drinking and driving is dangerous. Are you telling me that running a mile while drinking every quarter-mile is healthy?

And the hope is this will attract worldwide interest to Sebastopol — as what? A laughing-stock?

What’s next? A 10K for winedrinkers with a tasting table every mile? And a marathon for stoners with a bong table every mile? Beer, booze and bongs ... the three Bs. What could go wrong with this image?

Neil Davis

Sebastopol

Wildfires are dangerous

EDITOR: Wildfires can be extremely difficult to put out or control. Wildfires can be enormous in size and may quickly change directions. They can move over six mph and can jump over natural gaps such as rivers and roads. I am Kylee Bauman, and my classmate Libby Jaffe and I from Brook Haven middle school have both recently been assigned to inform the public about an environmental issue we are having right now in our world. We chose to do ours on wildfires because of all the devastation from the Tubbs fire in 2017. Those fires helped us to realize what we see on the news is a real problem, and we need to make a change sooner than later.

Liberty Jaffe and Kylee Bauman

Sebastopol

CORRECTIONS

The May 2 article on Salli Rasberry’s death contained some factual errors. Rasberry died at her Sebastopol residence, not in Freestone. She and her husband moved back to Sebastopol in 2010 after living for several years in Florida. Also she was inspired to change her name to Rasberry not from Lou Gottlieb, but from Bill Wheeler, who named his own daughter Rasberry. And, finally, we misspelled Rasberry in the jump headline and second photo. Our sincere apologies.

In the May 2 story on “The teachers’ revolt in west county,” we misstated the number of “basic aid” — or community funded — school districts in California as 30. There are actually 102 of them, according to EdSource.

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