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Union takes heat for Measure S stance

Parents, community members continue to voice support for $270 million bond measure.

March 16, 2011|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com

The Glendale Teachers Assn. leadership came under heavy public criticism this week for its opposition to Measure S, a $270-million general obligation bond that would fund facility improvements and technology upgrades throughout the school district.

The union leadership voted in January to oppose Measure S on the grounds that Glendale Unified officials declined to guarantee that from $19 to $20 million in general money freed up by the bond would be spent on teacher staffing. They also have argued that pushing a bond measure would make a parcel tax — which typically comes with fewer spending restrictions — politically unattainable in the future.

But Measure S supporters contend that potentially drastic state education funding cuts may cripple the district, and so time is of the essence in securing at least one source of revenue that would be independent of what happens in Sacramento.

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“I know [union leaders] say it is for the kids, I get that; but it often doesn’t sound that way,” Franklin Elementary School parent Amiee Klem said. “For GTA, you need to get with the program and work with the parents and the kids and the board of education, or at least sound like you are, because it doesn’t sound that way to most of us.”

The bond has garnered endorsements from dozens of elected officials, parent groups, civic organizations, teachers and prominent community leaders.

If passed, Measure S would build on Measure K, a $186-million bond approved in 1997 that financed several major projects, including the refurbishment of Clark Magnet High School. The new bond would be phased in just as Measure K is paid off, meaning the add-on to local property taxes would remain the same through 2050, about $46 per $100,000 of assessed property value, according to the school district.

On Tuesday, Glendale Teachers Assn. President Tami Carlson again called on district officials to commit to maintaining class sizes.

“Measure S money cannot be used to reduce class sizes, to pay for teachers, and these are some of the things I think people are confused about and I just want this board to clarify so our community members can have a well-informed vote,” Carlson said.

There is nothing more important in a child’s classroom then a teacher who can provide one-on-one time, she added.

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