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May 1, 2008 / Ben Chun

Pink Slip Rescinded

I didn’t write about this when it happened but I, along with 500ish other people, got the paperwork in March telling me that my services would not be required by SFUSD next year.

Yesterday I got the happy letter telling me to ignore the previous letters.

Personal outcome for the moment notwithstanding, this is a ridiculous situation. I don’t actually know enough about state politics to really understand the details that lead up to the immediate crisis (keywords: Proposition 13, Vehicle License Fee, California Budget Process) but I do know that it’s insane to run institutions designed to serve the basic needs of children — education, health care, food — on a roller-coaster of funding. I’m glad San Francisco has a “Rainy Day Fund” (2003’s Proposition G) that seems to be set to stave off the worst of the immediate problems. But this money is limited and it seems unlikely that the pool will be refilled before it is emptied.

Coming up in June there’s an election in which the good people of San Francisco have the opportunity to vote for a parcel tax (Proposition A) that will fund schools. This seems to be the most politically-viable way to get money into the system, and so I encourage you to vote for it. The patchwork pastiche approach to funding public services is aesthetically displeasing to the engineer in me who sees inefficiencies all around, but I don’t see any good alternatives that get the job done. I realize there is no way to build a perfect airplane from the ground up while it’s already flying along, however clumsily.

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