[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Cloudy
Cloudy
59°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
April 24
1962 - SCV residents vote to connect to State Water Project, creating CLWA [story]


The Good Long Road | Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, Feb 7, 2015

JenniferFischerTelemundo came to Val Verde Thursday night. They weren’t there to cover the potential expansion of the Chiquita Canyon Landfill, which would have been a perfectly reasonable reason for them to be there. Nor were they there to cover a sensational act of violence or a sexy story of fraud or something like that. (Frankly, Val Verde doesn’t have any of those and hasn’t had any in a long time).

Instead, they were there to cover a potential challenge the community might be facing soon – a challenge that, when many in the community heard of it, they assumed it must be a rumor or the exaggeration of a busybody.

But Thursday night, the transportation manager of the Castaic Union School District and two bus drivers spoke at a Val Verde Civic Association meeting and expressed how potentially real the challenge is.

The Castaic Union School District is facing budget challenges, as is common in so many communities; education funding across the United States remains quite low in comparison to other government funding areas.

The result of these funding challenges is that there is a very real threat to school bus service for families in Val Verde. It was confirmed that approximately 200 of our students use this bus service daily to get to Live Oak Elementary School and Castaic Middle School, and that bus service to Val Verde is seriously in consideration of being cut for the 2015-2016 school year.

Many of these parents do not have a car, or they work hours that don’t afford them the luxury of being able to take their kids to school.

The Val Verde Civic Association is estimating that 70 percent of the families whose 200 children attend Castaic schools fall into this category. That’s approximately 140 kids who will be denied transportation to school because a school district can’t balance its own budget.

When a budget is tight and we consider cutting bus service, we have certainly decided that providing every child with an education is a low priority. It tells the children of Val Verde they are not important; their needs don’t matter.

Certainly, unforeseen issues arise, and yes, the district is facing a fiscal crisis. But cutting these kids’ education out of the budget is an unacceptable solution.

The Castaic Union School District is holding a budget meeting Feb. 19 at 6:30 p.m. Meetings like this are typically held at the district offices, but this meeting might be moved to a new location. Next week, I will make sure I write an updated commentary about this issue with the meeting location so that Val Verde, Castaic and other Santa Clarita Valley residents can attend and hear exactly how school funds are being spent and why the district feels there may not be enough funds for proper busing for its students and can voice their feelings about the issue.

I believe as a community, we must make it clear that our children must come first, not last. I believe that we can encourage the district to find other ways to manage their fiscal crisis.

I also believe this is not an issue unique to Castaic or Val Verde. For me, it reflects a larger nationwide issue in which education funding continues to rank low on our priority list. This must change, too. Our children deserve better.

Portions of this commentary were pulled from the Val Verde Civic Association meeting on Feb. 5 and were used with permission.

 

Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

17 Comments

  1. Steven Lee says:

    Wow! I would think the right to a free education would also include the transportation to get there. I am told that the superintendent is getting 180,000 a year. Is this true? To manage four schools? Did he just take a 30,000 raise in the mist of all this? These are the rumors I am hearing. That is how the system works of late, the teachers take more students than they should have in a classroom, the bus drivers get laid off, and those who never enter the classroom give themselves raises. It happens all over the United States.
    Great Article.

  2. Sara Jones says:

    May I suggest the possibility of the VVCA using a portion of the funds they receive from CLF to partially fund the school districts bus service.

    Just a friendly thought or suggestion as I am not familiar with all the issues in VV.

  3. Josh says:

    Maybe the money that town gets from the dump can cover the cost.
    I didn’t know any communities had bus service anymore but it sure seems like this one community is always complaining! All Democrats I guess, hands out, adding for more

  4. Annette Uthe says:

    While the state funds your district’s children’s education, that is no longer the case for their school bus transportation. I’m no longer up to date on the figures, but only children in the most intensive programs have reimbursement from the state for transportation, therefore the dollars to pay for school bus transportation comes from the general fund. Unfortunate, isn’t it?

  5. Tessa Lucero says:

    Not a new issue in the SCV…Hart district cut school bus service for the majority of their students back in the early 2000s. JHS students got bus service only if they lived more than 3 miles from school. High school students only got bussed under extreme circumstances. And the parents had to pay for the school bus service. We live near Sand/Soledad and were told that our 11 year old daughter was expected to walk 2.9 miles to Sierra Vista, along one of the busiest roads in Santa Clarita, crossing two major arteries, on a road that has had repeated instances of attempted child abduction. I’m surprised Val Verde still has bus service, at least for middle school students.

  6. Natalie says:

    When they cut the bus services in Junior high in the 90’s, that’s when I started cutting school to avoid public transportation and weirdos on the way to and from school. It’s unfortunate that transportation is not considered part of part of free and fair education.

  7. Greg Kimura says:

    For those who don’t know, I’m the President of the VVCA. Our treasury has a little over $200, so my organization cannot provide financial assistance.

    Some facts that should be considered:
    1. The distance the grade school kids will have to walk is 3.5 miles with most of it on roads with no sidewalks. It’s not reasonable to ask kids from 5 – 12 years old to walk these roads and that distance. Google maps says this should take 1 hour 7 minutes one way.

    2. The middle school is even further at 4.1 miles if they cut through Sloan Canyon a dirt road with lots of ruts. I wouldn’t want my kids walking on Del Valle or Hasley Canyon, so this doesn’t seem feasible either. Google maps says this should take 1 hour 25 minutes one way.

    3. If parents are forced to drive their kids to school, are the parents who currently drive their kids willing to endure more traffic from 120 kids at Live Oak or another 80 kids at CMS?

    4. Traffic is already horrendous now. Add that many more cars and it’s definitely going to be worse.

  8. Ramon Hamilton says:

    Sara Jones, that would be a great option, except the Val Verde Civic Association (VVCA) receives zero dollars from Chiquita Canyon Landfill (CCL). The VVCA is a volunteer organization with less than $100 in reserves. Source: I am a board member of the VVCA.

    The money goes directly to the Community Benefits Funding Committee (CBFC). The CBFC, as with many legal entities, sets a budget for it’s fiscal year, and earmarks the money for where it should be spent. The CBFC also polls the community, so they can get a gauge on what the community wants/needs. This issue came up within the past few weeks, well after the community was polled and CBFC decisions were made as to how the money should be spent.

    That being said, the CBFC is wanting to help out. However, the cost of the bus service, as provided by the Castaic School District Superintendent is $650K per year. The CBFC receives approximately $350k per year, which means it would not be able to cover the full cost. Additionally, it would mean that if all CBFC money went to the bus service, there would be no funds for additional community benefits.

    In sum, the CBFC doesn’t have enough to cover the cost, and has already decided where money should be spent prior to this issue arising. The VVCA receives zero dollars from CCL, and has less than $100 in reserves.

    Josh, the explanation I just gave should answer your first comment. CBFC does not have enough to cover the service. Cost is $650K, CBFC receives approximately $350K.

    Josh, I’m honestly not sure what the data is on how many communities have bus service, but it’s irrelevant. All children deserve to be educated. Do you agree with that? If not, please stop reading my comment. This means all kids. Those who have means to get to school without a bus service, and those that do not. It should be a number one priority for Americans to support EVERY child getting an education. If you disagree, please explain why you feel every child in this country is not deserving of an education?

    If we cannot find a way to make sure every child gets educated in this country, regardless of their financial situation, then we have truly failed ourselves as a nation, and have no right to complain when other nations prosper and we continue to decline.

    Lastly, Josh, I believe that education is not a handout. It is a necessity that all Americans deserve. If asking for every child to be educated in this country is similar to asking for a handout, then I’m truly at a loss for words. Prioritizing education means making sure all kids get to school and learn.Our kids deserve that, but I will always listen to a difference of opinion.

    Annette, yes it is very unfortunate.

    Tessa, thanks for your comment. I’m sorry for your situation, and honestly wish you did not have to be placed in that situation. I went to school in one of the wealthiest communities in Massachusetts. The suburb of Belmont. The town in which Mitt Romney lives in now. When I was a kid, and till this day, they have bus service. Not because the parents can’t afford it, but because the parents should not have to deal with the burden of whether or not their kid gets an education. Additionally, I also went to school in what was one of the poorest communities in Boston, the South End, back in the 80’s. My school was literally a 20 minute walk, and they offered bus service. This was mainly due to safety. This should be the case everywhere, including where you live.

    In sum, I don’t understand why some people find it hard to grasp that all kids deserve an education, without the burden being placed on the families. Transporting kids to school is the first step towards ensuring each child gets an education. There are also safety benefits that go along with school bus service. Some families legitimately cannot get their kids to school without the assistance of a bus service hence being denied an education. Please support Val Verde and all communities across America. Educating our kids, which starts with getting them to a school, needs to be a priority across this land.

  9. Stayci Donihue says:

    I think it should be noted that this service is NOT FREE. CUSD charges 325.00 for 1 student to ride the bus. Also, I would like to add, that as a REPUBLICAN living in Castaic, I think the Val Verde community and others affected by this have every reason to be upset.

    • Laura says:

      Stayci, an additional note. Not every child that rides the bus pays. If the student qualifies for free or reduced lunches, they ride for a discount or free, depending on the situation. Even with the amount of money that has recently been charged, the district is only changing a small percentage of what it costs to bus the children. It’s the lack of funding from the state that has forced all other districts in the community to cat transportation to students with the exception of special education.

  10. David Barlavi, Esq. says:

    Lunacy. Great heads up. Keep us posted.

  11. Abigail says:

    Thank you Stayci for setting the record straight. Many of the parents in Val Verde do pay for this bus service. One single mother I know pays $550 per year for her two kids. What has CUSD done with that money? Val Verde and Paradise Ranch are NOT looking for a hand out. However, it is very obvious someone has seriously mismanaged the money that has been assigned to CUSD – paid for by all of us in our taxes. I suggest starting at the top instead of at the bottom. They are being paid large salaries to screw it all up. The people who mismanaged the money should be held accountable. Cut salaries at the top and see if they start to make things work again.

  12. Ramon Hamilton says:

    Thanks, Greg Kimura for providing the correct amount of the VVCA’s funds.

  13. Lee Jones says:

    Jennifer Fischer,
    This article is a good way to politically create an up rising that might get some attention from a wealthy easily influenced individual that financial assistance could potentially be lured from; but I think you are underestimating the public’s intelligence, hence Stayci’s comment on how the transportation is funded by the students guardians let alone the bond that was just given to CUSD last year which has/had a $22,000,000 general fund to be distributed appropriately. Unfortunately the leaders in charge of these funds count on the short attention span of the general public which allows these leaders to spend and distribute money in an unorganized and irresponsible manner. Let’s not lose sight of the subject of the conversation at hand; I believe that you are aware of the points that I am making and also believe that you were persuaded to write this article, by what ever means, by the Castaic School District themselves. We all know that small groups have made the most dramatic changes in American history, so if we can dilute the truth and present the subjects of Val Verde with the issue of their children being denied transportation, then we will create an uprising that will hopefully get the attention of the state that line our pockets with even more.
    Is this how you want to pursue your career in journalism?
    Sincerely,
    Lee

  14. Greg Kimura says:

    At the Feb 3rd Castaic School District Board Meeting, the room was not only SRO, but there were people outside the building trying to hear what was going on inside. There are a lot of people whose livelihood will be affected by the Board’s decision.

    The next Board meeting is scheduled for Feb 19th. I think even more people will attend (or at least try to get in). Each group is fighting for their part of the budget and their survival. I heard that the deficit is -$1.4M and they must send a balanced budget to the state. That means cuts are inevitable and will happen. The question is where are they going to cut?

  15. Steven Lee says:

    I am told that the superintendent of Castaic makes 180,000; that is 45,000 per school. They have four schools. In comparison Lausd superintendent makes 330,000 for over 900 schools. That is roughly 367.00 per school. A big difference. Maybe Castaic should be incorporated into a bigger school district due to the theft of the taxes that pay for schools.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: LETTERS (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Monday, Apr 16, 2018
The best way to fight kidney disease is to find it before trouble starts. But if you’ve already been diagnosed, Medicare can help you make informed decisions about your care.
Thursday, Apr 12, 2018
In 2016, California voters went to the polls and made it clear they wanted elected state officials to spend more money on school construction and passed Proposition 51 to invest $9 billion to upgrade aging buildings, build new schools where needed and build Career Technical Education (CTE) facilities to support better CTE programs.
Wednesday, Apr 11, 2018
Despite voter approval of construction funds in 2016, school districts are struggling to explain to their communities why the state is refusing to release the majority of the money.
Tuesday, Apr 3, 2018
“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” — Frank Lloyd Wright
Monday, Apr 2, 2018
Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste and the City Council invite residents to celebrate the 25th Annual Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, which officially kicks off April 19.
Friday, Mar 16, 2018
Quentin Kopp, retired judge and Bay Area politician, was once chairman of the High-Speed Rail Authority and helped sell the bullet train to voters. He’s now suing to stop it, saying, "The litigation, which is pending, will result, I am confident, in the termination of the High-Speed Rail Authority's deceiving plan."

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1962 - SCV residents vote to connect to State Water Project, creating CLWA [story]
Applications are now open for the summer 2018 LA County Arts Internship Program, which will provide 179 university and community college students with paid on-the-job experience at more than 100 arts organizations across LA County this summer.
County Expands Summer Arts Internships for College Students
The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner has identified the man killed in a solo crash on Sierra Highway between Santa Clarita and Agua Dulce early Sunday morning as Brandon Scott Isaman, 31, of Palmdale.
Coroner ID’s Palmdale Man Killed in Solo Crash
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a Pine Mountain man on weapons and drug charges Thursday, an out-of-town resident for alleged possession of methamphetamine and a zip gun Friday night, and two locals for alleged possession of heroin for sale on Saturday morning.
SCV Crime Beat: Arrests for Heroin, Meth, Homemade Gun
With summer just around the corner, the city of Santa Clarita will hold a summer swim lesson assessment at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center, 20850 Centre Pointe Parkway, on Thursday, April 26, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
April 26, May 5: City to Hold Summer Swim Lesson Assessments
Aerospace, defense and industrial markets manufacturing firm Ducommun Incorporated has completed the acquisition of Certified Thermoplastics Co., LLC, based in Santa Clarita, for an undisclosed price.
SCV High-Tech Plastics Firm Bought Out by Ducommun
Santa Clarita-based MS Restaurant Management will open a new McDonald's restaurant franchise on The Old Road at Magic Mountain Parkway, and will hold job fairs Friday, April 27 and Friday, May 11 to hire as many as 100 employees.
April 27, May 11: Job Fairs at New SCV McDonald’s Restaurant
The city of Santa Clarita received applications from eight local residents for an open position available on the city’s Planning Commission, and the City Council will make its choice during its meeting at City Hall Tuesday night.
8 Applicants Vie for Seat on Planning Commission
The city of Santa Clarita has updated the list of productions shooting in the city and the Santa Clarita Valley the week of April 23-29.
‘NCIS,’ 3 Commercials Now Filming in Santa Clarita
Members of the California Legislature today commemorated the 103rd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, even as the United States continues to turn a blind eye to the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians, Senator Scott Wilk (R-Antelope Valley) said Monday.
California Legislature Marks 103rd Anniversary of Armenian Genocide
College of the Canyons freshman Takaira Beard earned an individual conference title in the women's high jump with a leap of 1.54m during the Western State Conference Prelims hosted by Santa Monica College on Friday.
COC Freshman Takes Home Individual Western State Conference Title
Here is a list of Santa Clarita arts-related events for April 26-28:
April 26-28: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
Whiff, Inc., the leader in personalized fragrance creation and perfume discovery releases details of their exclusive partnership with Olympian, Pro Soccer player, and fashion and beauty entrepreneur Lauren Sesselmann.
Whiff, Inc. Partners with Santa Clarita Blue Heat’s Lauren Sesselmann
There is a perception that academic conferences for tax educators are filled with arcane terminology and jargon that only an Internal Revenue Service agent could love. But not if California State University, Northridge’s Monica Gianni has her way.
May 4: Tax Development Conference at CSUN
In light of two days and 25 innings of mostly forgettable baseball, Master's catcher Ryan Bricker summed up the weekend the best he could.
Mustangs Fall to Westmont in Golden State Athletic Conference Finale
Get a sneak peek of Mark LeVang & Friends, the group who will be performing at Taste of the Town.
April 24: Community Pints, Taste of the Town Sneak Peek
Lancaster won its first extra-inning game of 2018 on Sunday, beating Inland Empire, 9-8, in 11 innings. Forrest Wall came through in the top of the 11th with an RBI single, and Alan Trejo sealed the victory with a diving catch to end the game.
JetHawks Win First Extra-Inning Game of 2018
Here is the Valencia (Zone 5) Crime Information and Public Safety Report for the Week of April 9-15:
Crime Blotter: Grand Theft Auto, Petty Theft, Shoplifting in Valencia
1986 - COC board votes to allow Argentine cliff swallows to nest forever on sides of buildings [story]
Veterans of the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival stage were honored Saturday night as the city celebrated the festival’s silver anniversary at William S. Hart Park in Newhall.
Stars Share Spotlight as Cowboy Festival Turns 25
1974 - Gov. Ronald Reagan speaks at dedication of COC's first permanent building, the William G. Bonelli Instructional Resource Center [story]
1994 - Valencia Mercedes co-owner Eddie Murray sets MLB record for switch-hit home runs in games (11 times) [story]
A 25-year-old woman has been charged with shooting her boyfriend to death in the parking lot of a Canoga Park bar, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.
Newhall Woman Charged with Murder of Boyfriend
The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts will host the legendary rapper Kurtis Walker, aka Kurtis Blow, as part of its visiting artist series, on Monday and Tuesday, April 23 and 24, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day.
Rapper Kurtis Blow Is CalArts’ Visiting Artist for Music
The five filmmakers selected for California State University, Northridge’s 28th annual Senior Film Showcase on May 2 are women, and their stories reflect the rich diversity of perspectives that make up America.
May 2: CSUN to Spotlight Hollywood’s Future Filmmakers
The CalArts School of Theater presented the graduating class of the Acting Program in a bi-coastal Actors Showcase at the Colony Theater in Burbank on Monday, April 16.
CalArts Actors Showcase Celebrates Graduating Class
TMU coach Zach Schroeder has said for weeks that this week's track meet in Azusa, California, would be crucial as far as Mustangs advancing to NAIA nationals.
Two Mustangs Qualify for NAIA Track Nationals
Heath Holder delivered four shutout innings in the first start of his professional career, but the JetHawks dropped the series opener to the Inland Empire 66ers, 8-3, on Thursday night at San Manuel Stadium.
Holder Strong in Season Debut, But JetHawks Fall 8-3
Santa Clarita-based Carnival Corporation and plc, the world’s largest leisure travel company, has made several key senior executive appointments and promotions to serve its multiple brands and business units globally.
Carnival Names New Execs for 4 Cruise Lines
The Saugus Union School District has set its 2018 open house schedule to provide opportunities for Saugus parents to visit their children’s classrooms to view the amazing work accomplished this school year.
Saugus School District Slates 2018 Open House Events
SCV Kids Consignment, part of the LA Kids Consignment family of sales, continues its spring sale Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22 in Castaic from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.
April 21-22: SCV Kids Consignment Spring Sale in Castaic
The Castaic Union School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved a three-percent raise and a bonus for its educators at last week’s board meeting.
Board of Trustees Grants Castaic Educators a Raise
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, April 24, starting at 9:30 a.m.
April 24: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Good seats are still available but going fast for the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival's 25th-anniversary gala celebration at Hart Hall on Saturday, April 21 from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
April 21: Gala Celebrates Cowboy Festival 25th Anniversary
The Final Environmental Assessment, draft Decision Notice, and Finding of No Significant Impact for the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Plan are complete, and a 45-day official objection period begins Friday before one of three options is chosen.
Forest Service Asks Public’s Input on San Gabriel Mountains Monument Plan
A Stevenson Ranch resident is missing more than $9,000 in jewelry, and suspects her roommates, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station Deputy Kevin Duxbury reported in a post on the station's Facebook page
Grand Theft Prompts Victim to Suspect Roommates