By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
As gesture of solidarity with district employees who are losing wages due to furloughs, members of the Garden Grove Unified School District Board of Education may be cutting their own pay.
On Tuesday night, Board President Bob Harden asked if it would be possible for members of the school board to donate some of their stipend, specifically the portion they are paid during board meetings, back to the district.
Harden said, “Everybody in this district has taken a hit in this district as a result of the budget problems except for five people [members of the school board].”
While Harden recognized that the sum, $35 a month per member, would by no means solve any budget problems, he said that he felt it was important to show solidarity in hard times.
The budget situation in the State of California has greatly impacted the way that public education functions. Unpaid furlough days have been instituted in Garden Grove and across the state as schools on every level struggle to keep themselves afloat.
The stipend that is paid to board members is actually lower than what it should be, as the school board has voted many times to not raise the amount that members are paid. According to Superintendent Laura Schwalm, the stipend is $50 short of what it should be.
Board member KimOanh Nguyen-Lam said that she felt the gesture should be more than just a symbol, that maybe the money could go towards a student scholarship.
Schwalm said she would look into what is allowed and that there would be future discussion of the topic to iron out details and amounts.
Also, the formation of the Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee was approved Tuesday. There were 13 applicants appointed to the CBOC, which will have it’s first meeting after the first of the new year.
The members are John Bankston, Nicholas Constantino, Larry Dabalak, Ferdinand Faustino, Kent Freeman, Lac T. Nguyen, Earl Smith and Jeffery Trader in the citizens at-large category; Barbara Barker and Lila Held in the senior citizen group representatives category, Keith Drohan and Ted Stevens Jr. in the Parent Teacher Association category and Daniel McLeith as a business representative.
This all-volunteer group’s job is the make sure that all bond funds are used in the appropriate manner, for school repairs.
Measure A was passed by district voters on June 8 and authorizes $250 million in bonds to provide for modernization and infrastructure maintenance to school facilities.