I-Spy Contest: Win a BIke
Identify the locations of these three images and email email@example.com to be entered into a raffle to win a bike. The contest closes on Thursday, Aug. 6 at 5 p.m.
Livett resigns from school board
Alison Livett’s June 30 resignation from the Carpinteria Unified School District’s board of education left a hole that awaits filling. Livett, who was elected in 2012, announced last week that she and her husband are moving to Oregon.
The board must appoint a replacement within 60 days, and that person will serve out Livett’s term, which ends in December of 2016. Eligible applicants are required to live in the Carpinteria area of the district; the five-member board includes one Summerland seat.
Interested applicants can pick up forms and learn more at the district office, 1400 Linden Ave. Applications are due back to the district by Aug. 14.
CUSD ends year in the red, projects surplus for 2015-2016
CUSD moves out of the red and into the black
By Lea Boyd
Carpinteria Unified School District will end this fiscal year requiring an $878,000 scoop into its reserves but expects to sit pretty next year with a budget surplus of $443,000. In a unanimous vote at a June 25 meeting, the CUSD Board of Education adopted a 2015-2016 budget that anticipates $22.58 million in revenues, including a $1.2 million one-time windfall from the state.
“The state is really flush right now,” said Assistant Superintendent Cindy Abbott in her budget presentation to the school board on June 23. California’s budget, which was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on June 24, includes massive public school funding boosts.
Long and acrimonious negotiations between the district and the teachers union recently led to a 4 percent teacher raise that went into effect retroactively for 2014-2015. The salary hike nearly doubled the district’s deficit for the budget closing this month, but it still leaves CUSD with more than triple the state-required reserves of 3 percent of the operating budget.
“I’m always amazed that the state thinks that an adequate reserve for a school district our size is $750,000,” said Board President Andy Sheaffer. Reserves at the close of 2015-2016 are anticipated to be $3.2 million, or 11.63 percent.
A controversial state law mandates that school districts maintain reserves of no more than twice the standard of 3 percent after the state makes a deposit into its education stabilization fund, a savings fund for education that captures state surpluses. That hasn’t happened yet, Abbott said, but it could in 2015-2016, “which would put us in a situation where we’d have to spend our reserves down or do something with them for the year after that.”
Boardmember Terry Hickey Banks asked what the consequences would be should the district refuse the state’s required reserve reduction, to which Abbott joked, “I don’t think I’d look good in orange.”
CUSD’s adopted budget is based on a best guess estimate of 5 percent growth in property tax revenues. Basic Aid districts, in which property tax revenues exceed the state’s funding formula based on average daily attendance, typically have low numbers of socioeconomically challenged students. Abbott described CUSD as “pretty unique” for being a Basic Aid district in which 68 percent of its students qualify for free or reduced meals, are English learners or foster children.
Health insurance premiums have steadily climbed over the last several years, but this year the toll on the district budget only amounts to a 1.4 percent increase due to a switch to an 80/20 plan from higher end 90/10 plan. Insurance coverage will cost $17,555 per teacher.
In 2016/2017, health insurance costs are expected to go up 6 percent. At the bargaining table, it was decided that an increase will be split 50/50 by the district and teachers. The teachers’ portion, however, will be absorbed into their salary schedule and result in a small raise to accommodate for any cost increases.
Under consideration for next year’s budget is the district’s special assignment teachers, whose salaries are no longer covered with restricted funds. Abbott projected a savings of $120,000 by reducing the number of special assignment teachers.
CUSD is also working to provide its own pre-K special education services at Carpinteria Children’s Project at Main instead of using programs operated by Santa Barbara County Education Office. That change could shave about $200,000 off the 2016/2017 budget.
Letters to the editor
Bring back mini golf
Back in the 1930s there was a miniature golf course on the corner where Tony’s Restaurant stood until recently. It was especially appreciated by the beach campers. How about our city or someone constructing a new, innovative miniature golf course on the fenced property between The Spot and the railroad tracks? I think it would be popular and give Carpinteria another recreational attraction.
Nuanced Supreme Court upholds Obamacare
I celebrate the Supreme Court's 6-3 decision upholding Obamacare. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roberts used Justice Antonin Scalia's own words to justify his action. In the past, Scalia had said that things should be viewed in context and not just rely on a simplistic letter of the law interpretation. But here Scalia abrasively derides those that don't follow the letter of the law. Scalia is a very smart, yet egotistical man who is able to argue convincingly for his own strongly held positions. Like an ideologue, he holds to positions in spite of new evidence. His mind is made up, and he bends his arguments to support his preconceived stance.
If Presidents adhered to the letter of the law as Scalia suggests, Thomas Jefferson wouldn't have made the Louisiana Purchase, Abraham Lincoln wouldn't have had authorized a transcontinental railroad or issued the Emancipation Proclamation, Teddy Roosevelt wouldn't have created National Parks, Dwight D. Eisenhower wouldn't have mandated the Interstate Highway system and John F. Kennedy wouldn't have proposed putting a man on the moon. The nation can't wait for Congress to debate endlessly when bold and creative action is needed to meet unanticipated situations.
Mind creek habitat sensitivity
Recently a property owner cleared his land along Carpinteria Creek to plant an avocado orchard. The clearing included removal of or damage to native trees and riparian vegetation down the bank to the creek. Once it was discovered, the owner was found to have violated the city's preservation program to protect the creek, a part of the city's General Plan. The owner is now liable for a mitigation plan, including replacement of native trees and plants—up to five trees or plants for each one damaged or destroyed, bank stabilization before the rains come and trash removal.
This never should have happened. In addition to a costly liability for the property owner, the damage to the creek corridor has compromised bank stabilization in the event of heavy rains, disturbed federally protected habitat for the return of the steelhead trout and destroyed habitat for wildlife dependent on the creekside riparian vegetation. It has been a lose-lose for both the property owner and all of us who value and want to protect our creeks.
How can this be prevented in the future? How are property owners along the creeks, particularly those who do not reside in our town, advised there is a minimum 50 feet protected set-back from the top of creek banks? Whose responsibility is it to inform them and monitor regulations protecting the creeks in Carpinteria?
The Carpinteria Creek Committee has been working to protect the creeks and riparian corridors for almost 25 years. We encourage attendance at the City Environmental Review Committee, Monday, July 6, at 5 p.m. at City Council chambers to express concern and request a plan to prevent this type of violation from occurring in the future.
America the ungrateful
On July 4, many Americans will be celebrating the independence of our nation. There will be parties, barbecues, parades and speeches. However, is America and its history being destroyed from within? After the aftermath to ban the Confederate flag, there are now calls to ban the American flag. What is next? Statues, memorials, war reenactments, our history?
Wake up, America. Silence is surrender.
News in Brief
Relay for Life registration still open
Teams can still mobilize for this year’s Carpinteria Relay for Life, scheduled for July 18, and register by visiting RelayForLife.org/CarpinteriaCA. The American Cancer Society fundraising event is a 24-hour walk around the track at Aliso School from July 18 at 9 a.m. to July 19 at 8 a.m. There will be live music, team booths, a Luminaria remembrance ceremony and a survivor honor ceremony and breakfast. On Sunday morning, teams will walk to Linden Avenue beach for the Paddle Out for Hope event. Teams seek sponsorships prior to the Relay, all with the goal of supporting a cure for cancer. For more information, call 963-1576.
Elder crime trend reported by Sheriff’s Office
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is investigating several recent cases involving elderly victims who were intentionally distracted while their personal property was stolen and wants assistance identifying suspects. On June 22, at approximately 1:30 p.m. at the Ralph’s grocery store located in the 5100 block of Hollister Avenue, a 77-year-old female victim was shopping when several suspects worked together to distract her and steal her wallet out of her purse, which was located in her shopping cart. One suspect talked to the victim while the other reached behind her and stole her wallet.
Surveillance video shows the suspects being dropped off at the store in a black, four-door, late model sedan with tinted windows. The suspects are then seen entering the store, wandering the aisles in search of a victim and committing the crime. The suspects then exit the store and walk into the parking lot.
About 20 minutes later, a third female suspect was seen entering Walgreen’s located in the 5900 block of Calle Real in Goleta. The female suspect was captured on surveillance video purchasing a $500 gift card along with a gift bag and a greeting card using the victim’s stolen credit card. The suspect then attempted to purchase a second $500 gift card, which was declined. The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the crimes of burglary, grand theft person, conspiracy and credit card fraud. If you have information related to this case, contact Deputy Freedman at 681-4101.
Fire department warns about fireworks
Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District issued a release to remind the public that fireworks are illegal in Carpinteria and Summerland areas, including the “safe and sane” variety. The release states: “Every year there are thousands of needless and devastating injuries from illegal fireworks. It is our hope that everyone will do their part to make this a safe holiday weekend for our community.” Public shows are offered in Santa Barbara and Ventura.
County animal services offers answers for animals spooked by fireworks
According to Santa Barbara County Animal Services Department, each year hundreds of animals are lost as a result of noise related to Independence Day celebrations. In an effort to reunite lost pets, animal services will be open on Sunday, July 5 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. for retrieval of lost pets. Ahead of the fireworks display, pet owners can take steps to secure their pets including: ensuring dogs and cats wear tags; keeping pets inside and setting up a quiet spot in a windowless room or kennel; leaving televisions or radios on to distract them; walking them before the show; leaving them at home for the show; and considering having a person stay home with the animal or bringing the animals to a boarding facility. The Santa Barbara Shelter can be reached at 681-5285.
Car-ful consideration: Rods & Roses showcases 200 stunners
Form and function came together on Linden Avenue on June 27 for the 18th Annual Rods & Roses classic car show. Block after block boasted incredible chrome from every era since the birth of the automobile. Folks from around the state savored the eye candy and conversed with other auto aficionados. The car show was followed by Carpinteria’s Independence Parade (Photos by Gary Dobbins, Zeke Hart and Robin Karlsson,)
Carpinteria Independence Parade
Carpinteria rolled up Linden Avenue on June 27 for the annual Independence Parade. Vehicles ranged from tractors to double-decker bicycles and spirited locals of all ages showed their patriotism with sprays of red, white and blue. (Photos by Antony Marchiando)
Sea Glass Festival springs up in Carpinteria
The first ever Carpinteria Sea Glass Festival is in the works for this summer. Coordinated in partnership with the Carpinteria Arts Center, the festival will bring together hundreds of sea glass lovers to celebrate the treasures of the sea on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 29 and 30, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 700 Linden Ave. Dozens of sea glass artisans and experts will offer their original ocean inspired artwork, from sea glass jewelry, home décor, art, accessories and rare sea glass collections, including Krista Hammond’s prize specimen cases for the public to view.
The festival, which also will include music and local food vendors, will benefit the Junior Carpinterian of the Year Scholarship Fund and the Carpinteria Arts Center. Sea glass vendors interested in displaying and selling their works at the festival should visit carpinteriaseaglassfestival.com/vendor-info and submit an application by May 31, 2015. Admission to the Sea Glass Festival is $5, and on Saturday, Aug. 29, a special preview will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. for $15. For more information, visit carpinteriaseaglassfestival.com.