Don’t shoot your school board members

Florida incident reminds us that they’re the good guys

The television clip last week of a disturbed man in Panama City, Fla., shooting at school board members was truly horrifying. It’s amazing that nobody but the shooter was killed, or even injured.

The shooting reminds us that it’s important to remember that school board members are the good guys, even when we don’t agree with them. They work hard for little but the satisfaction of knowing they’re contributing to their community, especially its children.

Emphasis on that word “hard.” It’s becoming increasingly evident that, as dreary as things are for California schools, next year probably will be worse. Not only are they facing an additional $2.2 billion reduction in revenues because of lower state tax revenues, but they can also expect to lose most or all of their federal stimulus funding.

As Governor-elect Jerry Brown told a group of educators last week, “Please sit down when you read the stories on the budget” that will appear following its release on Jan. 10.

So far the Chico Unified School District has shut down several schools, allowed K-3 class sizes to grow from 20 to 30, eliminated non-core classes such as fine arts, and asked teachers to take cuts in salary and pay more for health insurance. That won’t be enough next year, and the school board will have to make some tough decisions.

The district’s current trustees are all smart, dedicated people who care about children and education. They will need our support next year. They deserve to get it.