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Principals have wishes for measure money

Retaining programs, teachers top lists
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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Local principals are hoping to maintain staff and programs if a measure on November’s ballot passes. Measure L is proposed to “preserve reading, math, and science instruction, maintain hands-on science programs, classes and labs, maintain reading and language programs for all students and attract and retain qualified teachers” in the Auburn Union School District, according to election documents. The measure would bring in $4 million over five years for schools in the Auburn Union School District. The money would come from a $59 tax on parcels within the school district, paid through property taxes. Exemptions include seniors and those on small fixed incomes. No money would go to administrators’ salaries, according to election documents. Residents with multiple parcels would only have to pay the tax on one of the parcels, according to Douglas Crancer, assistant superintendent of business and facilities with the district. The district’s school principals said last week they have basic wish lists for the money the measure would bring if it does pass. Suzanne Flint, principal at Rock Creek Elementary School, said retaining her staff members is the most important thing she wants to do. “We have a wonderful science teacher who comes over and teaches our fourth and fifth grade kids,” Flint said. “With all the financial problems, I worry about losing her.” Flint said the school also has a librarian who comes to the campus once a week, and the school is scrambling to keep her. Maintaining staff would also send a message to teachers hoping to work in the district, Flint said. “It’s nice when people are applying for positions in our district to know it’s a position that is going to last,” she said. Additional technology for the classrooms and basic supplies like paper and pencils for students are also on Flint’s wish list, she said. Randy Ittner, principal at E.V. Cain Charter Middle School, said he doesn’t want to lose classes, especially with the school’s new S.T.E.M. Charter status. “If the budget crisis keeps going, we are going to lose electives,” Ittner said. “I don’t want to lose those because it fits with what we are trying to do.” Ittner said he also doesn’t want to lose teachers or the band program. “Are we going to be able to afford that with the way the budget is going?” Ittner asked. Ittner said having a librarian on campus as well as having a counselor available to students every day would also be on his wish list. The school’s current counselor only has funding to be on campus two or three days every week. Ittner said, for him, Measure L would not be about gaining anything, but keeping what the school has. “The way the state budget is going, it might just (help us) keep what we have, and we won’t lose anything,” he said. “It’s just a positive culture (at E.V. Cain) right now, and I want to keep that going.” Sam Schug, principal of Auburn Elementary School, said he has some definite wish list items. “There are a couple real specific things I’m looking to do with this,” Schug said. “One is to keep our class sizes low. We are below 24 (students per class) this year. Class size is a big deal. The second part is keeping my quality teachers.” Schug also said he would like to have a library that is open every day. “Libraries have taken a hit over the last couple of years,” he said. “We are currently able to fund our library (being) open two days a week.” Schug also said he wants to make sure the school’s fifth grade band continues. The school did not have a band program last year, but has been able to have one this year. “It is an optional (program), but to have that option here over the years has been nice,” he said. Schug said although the campus computer lab is open every day, general classroom teachers have to provide computer assistance rather than a computer-specific teacher. Being able to employ a teacher solely for the computer lab is on his wish list, Schug said. Scott Pickett, principal of Skyridge Elementary School, said he is also concerned with just maintaining the staff and programs he currently has. Pickett said he wants to continue to be able to fund a part-time science teacher, who comes to the campus three days a week for fourth and fifth grade classes. “We have some strong science scores in the district, and it’s because of that program,” Pickett said. Pickett said no other Skyridge programs are being threatened by cuts, but without continued funding, the science program might not exist as it does now. “I don’t know what would end up happening with that program,” he said. Crancer said it is not known now how the money from Measure L would be split among the school sites. The final decision would go before the district’s board of trustees after being reviewed by the independent oversight committee set up to monitor money gained through the measure. Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com