The Claremont Courier (United States Postal Service 115-180) is published twice weekly by the Courier Graph-ics Corporation at 1420 N. Claremont Blvd., Ste. 205B, Claremont, California 91711-5003. The Courier is anewspaper of general circulation as defined by the political code of the state of California, entered as period-icals matter September 17, 1908 at the post office at Claremont, California under the act of March 3, 1879.Periodicals postage is paid at Claremont, California 91711-5003. Single copy: 75 cents. Annual subscription:$52.00. Annual online subscription: $47. Send all remittances and correspondence about subscriptions, un-delivered copies and changes of address to the Courier, 1420 N. Claremont Blvd., Ste. 205B, Claremont, Cal-ifornia 91711-5003. Telephone: 909-621-4761. Copyright © 2010. Claremont CourierOne hundred and second year, number 52
Claremont COURIER/Wednesday, June 30, 2010
think we hit a nerve. Youalways hope when askinga poll question that it’s in-teresting enough that peoplewill want to respond. We didthat this week.
The poll question was simple. Whatshould the Claremont Unified SchoolDistrict do to balance the upcomingbudgets? The choices were to either usecurrent reserve money or to have teach-ers take furlough days.Normally we have a good week when150 people respond. For a city the sizeof Claremont, that’s a good response. Inan effort to promote it, the poll appearedon page one of the Saturday paper. Itthen took on a life of its own.By noon on Sunday the vote was infavor of furlough days 83-66. After alink went out on a teacher’s Facebookpage Monday morning, the votes shiftedquickly to using reserves. Not wantingto be outdone, reserve supporters added116 votes in about 10 minutes. Nowboth choices had votes in the hundredsand the numbers kept rising.It was at this point that we startedthinking something funny was goingon. We knew some Claremonters hadthe computer skills to artificially skewthese numbers. This clearly was the casewhen the totals reached almost 46,000,well over Clare-mont’s current pop-ulation.Either this issuehad gone statewide,or someone hadhacked our system.Needless to say, thepercentages cur-rently stand at around 50-50, thus thepoll says nothing about what Claremontresidents really think. Or maybe not.You see, the poll question was actu-ally posted on our website last Wednes-day, 4 days before the question appearedin the newspaper and special intereststook over. During that time we had asolid turnout of 90 votes from regularsubscribers wanting to participate.I believe these numbers are more ac-curate and reflected the mood of publicopinion on this issue. In fact, they wereso weighted one way, it was going to bethe topic of this column today.It was not a surprise that the publicvoted 81-9 in favor of teachers takingfurlough days. The mood of taxpayerswho have dealt with a 2-year recessionis all about spending less. Local gov-ernments cannot live beyond theirmeans, while state governments fi-nances are a mess. Even PresidentObama was snubbed at the G-20 Sum-mit by other countries who want to cutdeficits.And CUSD and CFA negotiations arecaught right in the middle. Furloughdays are not uncommon for school dis-tricts and businesses everywhere be-cause they save jobs. This haspersonally touched me and I know ithurts.With the California state budget in aserious state of disrepair, I understandwhy CUSD is hesitant to spend its re-serves. You just don’t know what the fu-ture will bring.Yesterday in a press release State Su-perintendent of Public Instruction JackO’Donnell said the number of schoolsthat cannot meet their financial obliga-tions increased by 38 percent this year.“We are seeing an alarming spike inthe number of school districts that arehaving trouble meeting their financialobligations,” he said. “Schools on thislist are now forced to make terrible de-cisions to cut programs and services thatstudents need or face bankruptcy.”The COURIER has published nu-merous columns supporting the teach-ers’ point of view. I know the teacherswork hard and make sacrifices. Lastweek we ran a column from a Clare-mont teacher stating she had the im-pression that people felt teachers wereinsulated from financial woes and werenot doing their part. “We support ourteachers, but…”I think these initial poll results showmany are feeling that way. So I will fin-ish the sentence. We support our teach-ers, but at this point CUSD must simplyspend less.
Managing Editor Kathryn Dunn con-tributed to this column.
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COURIER online poll brings out specialinterests
by Peter Weinberger
REVISED POLLCOURIER ONLINE
In an effort to try to get an accu-rate and complete vote on this issue,we are creating a new poll and start-ing over. We respectfully request thatpeople vote only one time.