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Local schools line up for federal dollars

Original post made on Jan 13, 2010

Last week school districts around the state decided whether they would move forward in applying for a piece of $4.35 billion in federal stimulus money, part of a program called "Race to the Top." Many rejected the idea, but both Mountain View school districts opted to stay in the running.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, January 13, 2010, 3:43 PM

Comments (11)

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Posted by Puzzled
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 13, 2010 at 7:13 pm

I'm puzzled as to why the Los Altos School District opted out that early; especially in its current financial situation.

My understanding is that a district could always decide to opt out if it didn't like the strings potentially attached to the monies.

If so, what was the downside to apply?

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 14, 2010 at 6:55 am

Puzzled, one downside of applying for RTTT funds is upsetting the teachers union as they are generally not in favor of RTTT per the article above. What was their stance at LASD?

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Posted by Tamara Logan
a resident of another community
on Jan 14, 2010 at 8:34 am

The LASD Board voted on Monday to continue in the process despite reservations about the terms and likely small amount of funding.

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Posted by Robert
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 14, 2010 at 5:35 pm

"I think it would be very difficult for people in our community to hear that we turned down potential money and (then) we made any cuts from the budget," said trustee Ellen Wheeler.

Boy, she's one to talk. She just gave Ghsyels a $5,000 raise and approved him taking Fridays off so he can fly down to LA to teach at Pepperdine University. All written in to his contract. I just don't understand how a board member like this can talk about money matters and cutting spending when she approves something like that--we basically are paying him to work another job.

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Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Rex Manor
on Jan 15, 2010 at 9:00 am

Why is more tax-payer money always the only solution for these school administrators. They squander money more than they solve problems.

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Posted by Realist
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jan 16, 2010 at 7:53 am

The header should read, "Local Schools Line Up for More US Taxpayers Money while they Plan Strategies for Increased Parcel Taxes."

Subheading should read: No accountability for spending, while teachers salaries in MV lag with no raise in last 4 years.

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Posted by evan
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Jan 17, 2010 at 8:50 am

Another money grab in the making. School district administrators are "up to no good" and should be arrested.

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Posted by Ellen Wheeler
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jan 18, 2010 at 3:54 pm

I appreciate all the thoughtful comments to this story, but feel the need to comment on one. "Robert of Castro City neighborhood," your comment is incorrect. If you'd like to meet to talk about this I am happy to do so. Please call the school district office (526-3552), leave your name and phone number, and say you want to make an appointment to talk with me about this. Thank you.

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Posted by Ed
a resident of Waverly Park
on Jan 18, 2010 at 7:22 pm


How about addressing what exactly is incorrect about Ghysels getting a raise or his teaching at Pepperdine while hired to do a job here in Mountain View? (No need to make an appointment Robert, you'll just get the lawyered up rationale.)

I for one, Ellen, would love to know when exactly Ghysels is leaving? I'd be willing to bet he's with us for three more years depsite the grand plan that was rolled out by Ghysels and the board for a transition of power to take place--and despite the teachers' union being in strong disagreement with it.

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Posted by Mary
a resident of Castro City
on Jan 18, 2010 at 7:56 pm

I'd like to get in on asking the board member a few questions. You just try it at a board meeting and all you get is a blank stare and no response.

So here I go...

Why did you give Ghysels a raise and no one else, particularly in light of his unethical behavior?

When, exactly is Ghysels leaving? What is being done about the conflict of interest that still exists, besides the current arrangement that solves nothing?

What have you done to ensure fair hiring and promotion practices?

What is being done to close the achievement gap since we apparently have so much money to burn on Ghysels while keeping teacher and support staff pay stagnant?

How are you promoting the hiring of ethnic minorities into administration?

Why haven't teachers received a raise in the last 4 years and continue to work without a contract.

Why are beginning teacher being forced to work in temporary positions rather than being granted probation as in every other district and according to law?

Why do administrator salaries climb at a higher rate that teachers? Hec, why are they climbing at all?

I'd also like to know why you approved the following spiked retirement salaries for the last two big wigs that retired.

Modrite Archibeque $132,973.20 annual.
Elenor Yick $129,743.28 annual.

Yeah, yeah, I know, call the office and make an appointment and you'll explain it all to me. Yeah right.

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Posted by Dennis
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 11, 2010 at 11:48 am

It is a sad state of affairs for teachers in that not only are they underpaid and underappreciated. Often they have to take up the slack of lack of discipline and proper care and upbring that parents are failing at. Funding relating to student performance puts a terrible burdon and responsibility on teachers that are already trying their best to educate their students. It is so sad to me to see parents blaming the system or teachers because their child is underachieving. And to you ethnic minority parents that think that every comment about them or their race is racist, well wake up because facts are facts and it is too late to play the blame game. When it comes to test scores and academic achievement it is fact that Asians score the highest, with white, hispanic and blacks going downward in that order. The Asian and white students do better because they study harder, tend to have greater respect for education and teachers, and stay in school instead of dropping out like in the hispanic and black communities. If you want to see the stats, which are really quite alarming, just google any of the many education sites and you will see the reality of what really exists; the school violence in Vallejo, high school age gang violence in virtually all communities consisting of members that are black or hispanic. You don't study or even care about studying if you're out hanging with your bros and smoking crack. As Bill Cosby said it is time for the black and hispanic communities to step up and assume responsibility that their children to stay in school, stay away from gangs, don't get pregnant, respect teachers and the education system, and become responsible members of their community. Yet what response do we get from the black and hispanic communties?, well the same old blame game; blame teachers, the schools, whitey, anyone but themselves. In reality it is the ethnic minorities that are now the true racists. If Martin Luther King could come back today he would be proud of the white achievements in the area of racism, without which Barack Obama never would have achieved presidency. How come Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton aren't in Vallejo or Oakland where black on black murder and crime is out of control, and the importance that black kids put on education is disgustenly low. Wake up black and hispanic leaders and communities, you are your own worst enemy. Stop the gang activity, stay in school, be responsible for your own actions, place getting educated top on your priorities and Californias test scores will improve along with the funding. Smarten up and smarten up now!

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