Last week, at the "Operation Educate" meeting organized by the PTA and the teacher's union, PTA president Tammi Suber compared the situation at MPUSD with a rubber band ball: to get to the bottom of the problem, you have to pull out at many strands. Increased class sizes, stagnant salaries for over-extended teachers, decreased services for students. These are all symptoms of the problem.
MPUSD is not alone. These are the same complaints that are heard at North Monterey County, where class sizes are significantly bigger than at MPUSD. Teachers, who have been bearing the brunt of these increases, succeeded in electing two of their own: Daniel Lee in the Salinas City Union District won a decisive victory against incumbent Bob Eggers, and Mike Deckelmann in North Monterey County was the top vote getter, leaving incumbents in the dust.
Diana Jimenez, who was voted out after 16 years, said she wishes the new elected board members all the luck. "It's a lot easier to criticize from the outside," she told me. "They're going to find out that it's not that easy."
And it won't get any easier any time soon: California Controller John Chiang has just announced the state is way behind in projected revenue -- by about $1.5 billion. Translation: trigger cuts are coming.
It'll be interesting to see how these newly elected representatives handle the cuts that are coming their way. Most importantly, it's time for everyone to see that the blame doesn't lay at the feet of the board, the superintendent, or even the legislature.
Now, where the problem lays may be more complicated, it may not even live inside the rubber ball. But I have the funny feeling the Occupiers are onto something.