Waiting for the perfect decision isn’t the answer. It’s important to get things done, and some are. Jeff Baarstad, PhD, Deputy Superintendent of the Conejo Valley Unified School District and chair of their budget committee, has embraced the challenge: “It’s incumbent upon the leaders of public agencies to focus on providing the highest quality services possible with the tax dollars we’re provided. We must be crystal clear about the core services we’ve been commissioned to provide and place the lion’s share of our resources behind those services. That boils down to a qualified and caring teacher, in a clean, comfortable and safe classroom, with a reasonable class size, and access to the materials and supplies necessary to give students the knowledge and skills necessary for success in college and careers. That happens in a classroom on a school campus.”
Working non-stop since the spring of 2009 with parents, teachers, classified support workers, counselors and psychologists, school board members and administrators, they’ve reduced their expenses nearly 15%. Their priorities are clear—classroom instruction first, the student’s campus experience second, district support services third and central administrative office last. Dr. Barrstad warns, “We recognize the core reason we exist as a public school district. Focusing on our classroom priorities is the right way to proceed, but no one should minimize the impact that reducing non-school support services may have on classroom instruction.”
America is also attracting a new breed of candidate dissatisfied with the direction our country is going. John Davidson, running in the Republican primary for the 23rd Congressional District, brings his 25 years of business experience to his campaign priorities. He’s got his focus on smaller, not bigger government: “This out of control government spending is the first thing that must be addressed in Congress. In the business world, when you spend money you don’t have, you don’t have a business anymore. I’m running for Congress to stop the deficit spending and balance this budget, without new taxes, by cutting wasteful spending and focusing on our priorities.”
Support administrators taking on the challenge, and when you vote, send a message to Washington that we want leaders to care enough to cut budgets responsibly. We need smaller more efficient government, not more government.