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April 18, 2021



I totally disagree and I don't see any reason for your list. Russian? Arabic? My earlier comment is not related to teaching Italian or anything else for that matter.


How much damage is the Board willing to inflict on the teachers for an issue that has nothing to do with them. The teachers don't manage the budget.

It looks as though too many families left the district (ADA) during COVID and contributed to the economic crash.

Easy answer- Pay the teachers the $2000 per person in COVID money from the state and a 2% raise. Then figure out how to get through the next few years.

When a district is broke, it needs All Hands on Deck to get through the problem.

This is about tomorrow, not today.

The amount in question is so little that the teachers should take it personally as the mismanagement has nothing to do with them.

New taxes from home sales are booming, salaries at other districts are rising, the state has a surplus, WTF happened at BSD?

How many teachers will the BSD lose from its current staff and how many new teachers will stay away as taking a job in BSD will be seen as a risk.

The SMUHSD's Finance Legend Liz McManus is retired. Hire her as a consultant to balance the books and put a budget plan in place.

An advanced Board and Superintendent would never attempt such a "bait and switch," but these kids have no experience and are about to do long term damage to the BSD.

Jeff Osberg


Top 28 people in the district are not classroom teachers. That's a lot of money that is not in the classroom, wouldn't you say?

Also, @hollyroller stop the madness with the quotation marks and Italian is a great language and program that should continue. Get an app for the other ones you mentioned.


I think the Covid shutdown has shown that private schools and home schooling are fine options to public education.


Private Schools and Home School are great options to public schools, but the exodus from BSD schools could cause lasting damage that is already in progress.

The BSD fiscal scenario is a product of families leaving its schools. When the local population begins to abandon its schools (for whatever reasons) who are funded by Average Daily Attendance (ADA), then the system starts to collapse and other problems start to manifest.

A strong factor in home values is access to high quality schools. When the schools collapse, next go property values. John Horgan recently wrote of the disparity of funding on the Peninsula and the home values were in direct comparison to the funding elements. While Burlingame’s state funding for schools is low, it has been the identity of the BSD schools that captures financial and personal support from local families .

Private schools and homeschooling are available only for those who can afford it which is usually not the upper middle class. Private school tuition on the peninsula is well above $45,000 (cheaper options are available- but why bother) and sacrificing an income to home school is far more expensive.

On the contrary, when a wealthy area engages and supports its public schools, the properly values continue to climb as well as the education and options for the students and families.

Wealthy real estate does not equal quality schools. The public needs to create, run, and constantly manage and upgrade those schools, otherwise the schools will be captured by others or fall into disrepair.

The BSD Schools are being captured by “other interests.” The current Superintendent and Board Members do not seem to be vested in the identity of Burlingame when making decisions regarding schools.

A look back in time would find all the decisions regarding the BSD schools and Burlingame High School were based on what was best for Burlingame. In the 1980’s BHS was saved from closure BECAUSE the residents of Burlingame who would not allow the SMUHSD to close THEIR school. BHS had programs, courses, sports, etc that were not available at any other schools. The BHS Band was connected to both the music programs of the BSD and to the town.

The Carpetbaggers have move here to enjoy what has been created (housing, schools, parks, etc) but have no idea how decisions were made to create and maintain this excellence.

BHS is losing its identity as Burlingame’s High School. Its becoming just another school in the district. Its history and traditions are vanishing as it’s referenced and managed just like any other school. BHS was NEVER just like any other school.

The decisions at BSD are beginning to look like those at any other school. The Italian Language program is a part of the identity at BIS. Individuals who decided to cut this program don’t understand its history, value, and connections to BHS.

Giving BSD teachers salary raises in a time of uncertainty is a vote of confidence and security in the people who teach our children.

The negligence that created the problems are shifting the financial uncertainty from the district level to the teachers themselves. This is not an investment in Burlingame’s identity or best interest.

The continued failure to produce Burlingame centered decisions for Burlingame schools will render Burlingame just like anywhere else.

Families did not move here because it was just like anywhere else. Burlingame had the look, feel, and identity of a small town with great schools, sports, activities, and so much more. The more we do things “like any other place” the more we lose the identity of being Burlingame.

School boards and district leaders who fail to listen to facts or their constituents are sacrificing the spirit and identity of their schools.


My cynicism and pessimism comes from seeing things like that list of administrative positions and salaries. The ONLY way (and I mean the only way) to effectively fix the education problem is to fire 90% of the people on the list and start over. No more money for any public education until that is thoroughly fixed.

We as a society really don't deserve our high quality of life when we tolerate BS like that.


Dear Mom, my "List" is solely based on he "Way of the World."
Commerce, Human Rights, War, Energy, Climate Change, and Politics.
Italian Language is for Fun. Pizza too.


Living in Burlingame comes with the choice of living in a Bubble, or not.
Please entertain the idea of experiencing life beyond Burlingame.
Italy does not count.
Check out Central/South America.
A Cruise down the Panama Canal does not count either.


If the teachers want more support they should tell the CTA not to support Newsom. Ooops. Too late.


Thank you OneManginiWay. Ditto on everything you said.


Remember when they tore down all those apts in Millbrae to build the BART station? The loss of students (and ADA money) was so serious that the Millbrae school district actually took out ads in the local newspaper encouraging San Bruno families to apply for an interdistrict transfer to Millbrae!
You can't blame all the problems of school district finance on the local administrators (some, yes, but not all). The way CA finances its schools is CRAZY. (How many people have any idea what the difference is between ADA and Basic Aid funding, for instance, and how schools can move from one to the other from year to year, complicating budgeting and planning?)


OneMaginiWay’s post was very good.

Bruce Dickinson

Well folks here we go again, the BSD teachers are up in arms about pay and are using the good ol' "throw spaghetti on the wall and see what sticks" strategy. Luck should have it, you have Superintendent Dickinson to set everyone straight, and some of my longtime fans on this thread know exactly what I mean. For the new fans, all the issues currently facing the district have been pre-identified and a very large part of the blame rests on the PRIOR district administration (the new regime and new Superintendent regime changed in mid-2020) and the rest of the blame rests on the CTA and their enabling Unmasked-foodie-Governor extraordinaire. Yes he's gonna need their help to stay in power, and like good little soldiers the CTA will support their chief bankroller/enabler to the bitter end: Long URL removed since TypePad doesn't like them. You can search for the CTA's endorsement and funding of Newsom's recall effort.

Alas, let's start from the beginning. The only reason why yours truly knows so much is that my granddaughter is in BSD and her mom (my daughter) has an MBA in economics, so we speak the same language. The prior BSD Superintendent was VERY pro-teacher and pro spending. Her claim to fame was the over-priced, over litigated, purchase and opening of Hoover--Bruce Dickinson RAILED against the exorbitant cost of this. It would have been far far cheaper to add classrooms to existing schools than to build a new school and now we are paying the price (don't tell me I didn't warn you). The other claim to fame was a really poor SWUN math program that was a dismal failure. The current administration saw right through all this and started attacking the cost structure of the district while attempt to fix the broken math program. The SWUN program was terrible for teaching math but it was very cheap (because had it had NO textbooks!!). It only took about half the elementary school children to seek private tutoring to get the parents to complain about the program. But guess what? Having a real program means you have to have real text books, which cost a lot of money. So essentially the district short changed math to spend for the Hoover boondoggle at a price 3x-4x adding classrooms to existing schools. And guess what, even pre-Covid the district overbuilt! There were empty classrooms as the demographic analysis was based on the baby boom of 2005-2007, but post the financial crisis, the school population dropped, again a big miscalculation by BSD!

The complaints about an overpaid administration also really rests on the prior administration, which hired all these fluff positions (such as Director of Innovation) which this new admin promptly rectified as the vast majority of the cuts were in admin. Post cuts, the district is running very lean, but guess what? More needs to be cut!

Now you have COVID hit and then you have a classic case of "you reap what you sow". The BSD teachers were up in arms about returning to school in the fall, alleging that things were too dangerous. Hell even on a call with the Board someone called the Board members "Murderers" because they had approved a back-to-school plan for February. Of course, everything was fine and while you did have some isolated cases, the protocols essentially worked..zero super-spreader events. And all this time private schools located in the same communities, somehow figured out it was safe to keep kids in school..but public schools in the same community couldn't...because the CTA and Newsom said it wasn't safe (but its safe for kids in private schools as Gavin's kids can attest to).

Now of course, while all this whining is happening, some public school teachers, who gladly pay their CTA dues, want to earn some extra scratch and form "learning pods" on the side. Hell my daughter even knows one teacher that quit her job just to teach a private learning pod. My daughter also knows of 6 elementary and Jr. high teachers who ran pods on the side, in addition to their teaching duties!! The effect of this is that it leaves a very bad taste in the parents' mouths, so that by January all the school board heard was "put the kids back in school NOW".

So BSD keeps like 98% of its teachers, offers buyouts to some, and slashes its administrators and now due to the way the funding formula works, parents who were sick of the CTA nonsense basically said forget this, I'm sending my kids to private. So now you have enrollment dropping at some pretty alarming rates (5-7% county wide) and you over-infratructued the district with Hoover and guess what you have a funding problem so that if things had continued the way they were, the State of CA would have taken over the district. Remember BSD gets its revenue based upon number of students x attendance days.

As such, there is not a lot of money left over to pay the teachers and to maintain solvency, the teachers in resisting the return to school, lost support of the parents. Forget about what people say, they ultimately vote with their feet and in the Peninsula Private School business, things are booming! And the waitlists are long...meaning if they could, even MORE people would leave BSD if the privates had more room.

The key issue that is crippling these school districts are the pensions and retirement benefits and the CTA has fought hard to keep maximum benefits to deal with challenged funding (tax receipts didn't keep up with inflation due to PROP 13). Why not jettison the cush pension, pay teachers more TODAY, and have them save money in a 401k like everyone else in corporate America to deal with this fat and increasing-tailed liability!?? Of course this is impossible as the CTA is run by very senior, old, and tenured membership!

Given the problems that I've laid out, how would you guys solve this? My recommendation is to ditch the CTA and bust the union (I have many posts on this).

Resident, Hollyroller, MBGA, and HMB are spot on in their comments. BSD is right on the cusp of being a Basic Aid vs a Revenue Limit district. The former is a district that keeps its property taxes, the latter isn't. Because BSD has a high multifamily component, even if it were to keep its property taxes, the formula penalizes the funding due to this components which looks at attendance vs property tax base (vs a Hillsborough which has zero multifamily). Thus BSD actually receives a lower level of funding vs other Peninsula districts because of being in this "in between" state.

Sure we'd all like to pay/keep teachers and invest in the schools, but one has to understand that post COVID and post many students leaving the district, it's gonna be a lot harder to make ends meet.

There you have it folks...nobody cannot accuse me of "calling it as I see it"!

Bruce Dickinson

Joe, my comments seem to have not posted in the post above.


@BD, nice to hear from you. I'm glad I'm paying attention tonight. The commenting issue stems from including long URL links. TypePad has decided it don't like them. So your SacBee link has been replaced by:

"Long URL removed since TypePad doesn't like them. You can search for the CTA's endorsement and funding of Newsom's recall effort."

That appears to have done the trick...at least on Chrome. LMK if you cannot see the lovely insightful comment now.

Bruce Dickinson

All good Joe, thank you! -Bruce D.


And to add injury to injury, watchdog Govern For California writes today:

Dear Legislators,

If we (meaning GFC) are reading the laws about school reserves correctly, California's K-12 schools are being set up for a fall of epic proportions unless they or you save much more from surging revenues.

Under certain conditions likely to be met this year, non-basic aid school districts with more than 2,500 Average Daily Attendance must cap reserves at only 10 percent of expenditures, but 10 percent is just one-sixth of the drop in state revenues — the principal source of school revenues — that Dept. of Finance forecasts over three years from a stock market decline no greater than the declines of 2001 and 2008. In such a decline, after tapping a State-Level School Reserve that (as of July 1) will hold less than five percent of school expenditures, the Legislature would have to choose between not protecting schools or taking funds from state reserves that — as of now — you are planning to fund with less than one-quarter of the forecasted decline, thereby starving other programs.


More Cow Bell...
Less Italian.


Here is the link to the Board Meeting from June 8 2021.

Public Comments about the Italian Program start at 6 minutes 20 seconds.

Public Hearing - Budget Presentation starts at 2 hours 39 minutes 55 seconds.

Public Comments about the Teacher Impasse start at 3 hours 7 minutes 3 seconds.

Board Discussion and Comments start at 3 hours 28 minutes 8 seconds

The entire meeting is worth a watch.



This isn’t about money, it’s about management

There is no doubt that BD knows school funding formulas.
We can debate who cause the financial problem, but that isn't the issue.

The district could have given the teachers the one-time $2000 per person from the state (as intended) and then said, we can’t meet your five percent, but we can give you 1%. The teachers may not have liked that deal, but they would already have $2k in their pockets and would have most likely taken the 1% with a good will promise there would be more in the future. Teachers will work for less money if they believe they are valued.

They would have received the $2k and decided to take a 1% raise-

The administration tied the one-time $2k per teacher money to the 1% to make it an all or nothing deal.
They ONLY get the $2k IF they ACCEPT the 1% deal –
They have NO choice. It’s an ultimatum.

Now there is blood in the water and impasse means an outside party is going to decide. Even if BSD wins, they lose.

Burlingame needs an Education Summit- A meeting of the taxpayers to articulate what they desire in K-12 education. Why should BCE raise money if they are going to get blindsided?

When the state funds cannot cover the described values of the parents, then BCE (or another group) raises the funds and pays for it.

This would cover BHS as well. The Burlingame identity has been gutted from the campus because of external values and priorities. AP European History, a great academic course, was removed because it was too Euro-centric. Where parents included in the discussion to remove this longstanding course? (AP Euro was added at BHS when the external forces wanted to remove 10th grade honors at BHS because it was not fair to the other schools in the district.)

The new Board representation plan should place a single Board member responsible to Burlingame.

La Jolla High School is in the San Diego Unified School District, but the SDUSD knows to not mess with La Jolla’s own schools.

The schools are a big reason why Burlingame is a desirable location.

In the end, it is the Boards that are in charge, not the administration. The Board needs to listen to the LOCAL taxpayers and set the standards for the administration.


The BSD only needs to look down the street to see where things are going.

The SMUHSD should be a solid reference point. After the gutting of BHS and now Mills High School, BHS was the feature of the SM Grand Jury and the two Superintendents credentials are recommended for suspension with further investigations into their actions and negligence by the CTC Educator Misconduct Committee

The SMUHSD Board does nothing.

Deputy Superintendent Black ( $275,000 )and Superintendent Skelly ($320,000) will have their lucrative contracts renewed (again) at the July Board Meeting without question.

Would you hire a doctor or a lawyer with a suspended license (or one pending suspension?)

A Burlingame family, with four children, two years apart would spend a total of 10 years at the high school.

Ask THEM what has changed at BHS from 2011 to 2021. It DID NOT get better!

They sent their last child to private school.


BSD's crashed the West Contra Costa District- see the entire article.

Same issues, then he left.

Duffy told the board last month that the deficit problems started in 2017-18, when Mount-Benites estimated the district needed to cut $12.3 million to pay for salary increases for teachers and other staff members, as well as for other items in a contract settlement reached with its teacher and staff unions in July 2017.

“That was the calculation that turned out to be wrong,” Duffy said



The Daily Journal is following along too:

For his part, McManus doubted assertions from Superintendent Christopher Mount-Benites that the district’s financial footing would slip in coming years, nodding to state budget projections showing California’s school system is flush with tax revenue.

Mount-Benites contended otherwise though, saying that the district is heavily reliant on pandemic relief money to help keep its budget gap slim and that the financial woes will worsen once emergency support stops.

He offered the perspective in the wake of a previous board decision to cut $1.3 million from the budget, comprised mostly of eliminating vacant positions to keep the budget reductions away from the classroom in March.



The Edsource article (above and attached) is from January 2020.

The 2020 article is referencing the disaster that Mount-Benites created in 2017.

He went from West Contra Costa up to West Sacramento and then Burlingame.

West Sacramento to Burlingame? (a very large ladder is needed for that move)

Was there any due diligence performed before this guy was hired?


Eddie Perry

Earlier in the year Mount-Benites said in a board meeting that one of the main reasons BSD is in a financial crisis is due to the fact that alot of the short term funded programs continued after the funding stopped. So instead of dropping the programs when the funding stopped they continued them and now had to pay for them.

Its interesting that in the last two months that this reason has not come up in any budget discussion.

I agree with OneMangini the Board is very weak. Two longtime BSD board members departed earlier in the year, they could see the trainwreck coming.

It will be interesting how this plays out.

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