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T R I B U N E S erving B ixBy K nollS , C alifornia H eigHtS , l oS C erritoS , W rigley VOL. 32 NO. 51 and tHe Your Weekly Community Newspaper C ity of S ignal H ill May 27, 2011 Signal Hill budget Local teachers and families rally at Longfellow workshop highlights Elementary to speak out against education cuts both successes and newer concerns Steven Piper Staff Writer CJ Dablo Staff Writer Yes, Signal Hill presented a few fat numbers that mark another balanced budget for the city’s next fiscal year. Yet, Tuesday night’s budget workshop made it clear that the Council will still have to determine how they’ll manage increased costs and which programs and services will be essential to keep. “We used to say, ‘Is it nice or necessary?’ I think now we’ve been using the term, ‘Is it nice or absolutely necessary?” said Councilmember Michael Noll at the May 24 meeting at the Council Chambers. The good news: following a Council mandate to cut two percent from the budget starting in the fiscal year of 2009-2010, the City has so far saved $1.2 million, according to a staff report. Signal Hill has saved money in a few areas highlighted at the evening workshop. They’ve initiated a hiring freeze on non-police staff positions. They’ve now required employees to contribute part of their paychecks to their retirement benefits. They have not offered cost-of-living adjustment increases to the City personnel for the last two years. The revenues for the City are also up. The estimated revenue is $16.4 million for Fiscal Year 2011-2012, which is 10 percent more than the estimated $14.9-million revenue projected for Fiscal Year 20102011, according to a report by Maida Alcantara, Signal Hill’s finance director. This revenue projection includes a more positive outlook for city sales-tax revenues. The According to Educate Our State, a nonprofit organization composed of parents concerned about education in the budget-cut-ridden state of California, the state currently ranks last in teacher-to-student ratio, librarian-to-student ratio, and guidance-counselor-tostudent ratio. Also, more than 30 percent of California students do not graduate from high school. In order to address the obstacles facing the status of education, 20-plus education rallies were organized last Tuesday by Educate our State, parents and community members. Locally, a rally named “Wake Up California!” was hosted at Longfellow Elementary School in Bixby Knolls. “The goal [of the rally was] to increase awareness of the crisis facing California public schools and the need for our legislators to pass the revenue extension measures to secure school funding,” said event organizer Lisa Lindsay. Another goal of “Wake Up Califor- director reported that those revenues are projected to be almost 9 percent more in 2011-2012 than what was projected for the current fiscal year. The bad news: the City Council will soon need to make key decisions that will affect the city’s services. The Water Replenishment District (WRD) has increased fees to the City by 64 percent since 2008. The public works department has projected a budget of $789,800 for the program that ensures compliance with environmental standards for managing the waste that gets into the storm drain. And last, but not least, Steven Piper/Signal Tribune the future of a childcare proEducators, parents and students showed up at Longfellow Elementary Tuesday afternoon to adgram is on the line. dress the obstacles the Long Beach Unified School District is facing. Even in a 2.2-square-mile city, the numbers still affect the nia!,” according to Lindsay, is independent…It was dreamed nia. Coincidentally, California quality of life of the people who to showcase the parental and up by parents that want their also has the eighth largest depend on its services, even community support for educa- voices heard…This is about economy in the world. “Our down to the littlest residents tion across the state. all children in California.” Ac- own Long Beach Unified who call Signal Hill their home. At Tuesday’s rally, Megan cording to Kerr, one in eight School District (LBUSD) is A few parents joined the Kerr, the emcee for the event, children in the country are edworkshop to voice their consee education page 11 said, “This rally is completely ucated by the state of Califorcern that Kids Kamp, a childcare program targeted towards kindergarten through fifthgrade students, may soon shut Steven Piper down. According to a city report, the staff weighed a few Staff Writer options and eventually recommended to the Council to close If locals’ summer vacation down Kids Kamp and then explans are still in the works, then pand what is now an informal utilizing JetBlue’s new, sea“drop-in” after-school program sonal route to Anchorage, that is free of charge to parents. Alaska out of Long Beach AirNo before-school care would port (LGB) might be worth takbe available under this proing advantage of. The gram. About 15 kids attend inaugural flight to the airline’s Kids Kamp in the current fiscal new destination was Monday year. Six years ago, about 47 afternoon, and one-way tickets kids participated in the prowill be as low as $119 each gram. way until Friday, Oct. 29. According to the report Commemorating the airfrom Pilar Alcivar-McCoy, diline’s new route to the last rector of community services, Steven Piper/Signal Tribune frontier, numerous commufamilies have chosen to use At Monday’s inaugural ceremony celebrating JetBlue’s first flight from Long Beach to Anchorage, nity representative were in atAlaska, Dan Sullivan, mayor of Anchorage, said his state has the largest population of certified pisee budget page 11 see Jetblue page 9 lots in the country. JetBlue Airlines makes its inaugural flight from LGB to Anchorage

Signal Tribune Issue 3251

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