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Letter to the Editor: Yes on Measure G

A letter to the editor supporting Newark Unified's proposed $63 million school bond measure, but with caution.

Letter to the Editor: Yes on Measure G

After receiving the Pro Measure G info: 'Prepared', 'On Track', 'Right on Target,’ I wrote the superintendent and school board, basically saying that I thought it wrong to give people a rose-colored vision of our schools.

Some examples:

  • The fact that there is no longer any electives at Newark Junior High (not mentioned), and that Newark schools have not provided my kids (8th and 6th grade) with any music (except my 13-year-old had Band for a couple of years, now canceled), art, drama, Spanish, Mandarin
  • Newark elementary schools can only afford 40 minutes per week with a PE teacher and 60 minutes per week with a science teacher; there are no computers, or no technicians to operate whatever old computers are available... 

This is translated in the brochures with NUSD “focuses on providing top-quality education, with a strong emphasis on science, math, reading and writing”

It is very irritating to read if you live in the reality.

The pictures used in the brochures are stock pictures from a happier alternative reality school, while some photos from the reality in our schools would have illustrated school needs better.

Also, in Contra Costa Times on Oct. 31 ( http://WWW.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_19234303) it was reported that Newark, is one of four districts in the East Bay that can only afford 175 school days since two years ago (Fremont has 180 while Union City has 175), and might now take away five more days! We can't even afford to keep schools open!

I don't know why our board and superintendent want to sugar-coat the message (“Everything is great. We just need to do some improvements on our buildings...”).

I think they owe it to our kids, and to us as parents or voters, to give us the straight talk.

As it is, there is the niche of people, who always grumbles about taxes and government, who are just taking any excuse to avoid any tax, who will do so again. More forthright information would make it harder to be against school support.

As a parent, I urge Newark residents to support the schools, vote yes on G, but keep administrators and school board accountable. As I understand it, to vote no on G would result in further cuts in the classroom (I can't imagine what's left to cut!).

To parents, I want to say, there are a lot of you out there putting in endless hours trying to make a difference in our schools and fundraising for copy paper for the teachers at the junior high, but things are not going to change with Jamba Juice and pizza fundraisers.

The kids in Newark are always going to be underfunded compared to Orinda and Los Altos if there is no political change. Put some of your energy into change.

We should be out there with the Occupy people, because our children are not getting a fair shake and their future is in our hands right now. 

Let us organize and do something about it.

Birgitta Bower ( sosnewark.org - Save Our Schools), Newark

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