Pasadena Devours The Future

School district cuts teachers — and doesn’t disclose the truth.

An article in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports that Pasadena Unified School District will “cut teachers, security guards, assistant principals and more due to budget woes.”

See if you can locate anything in the article that explains why the district is making the cuts.

Next, look at the First Interim Reports filed by PUSD for 2017–18 and 2012–13. There you will see that spending on unfunded pension promises grew 144 percent over that period. Not surprisingly, spending on Certificated Teacher Salaries grew only 5 percent over that period.

Next, look at the PUSD website. See if you can find anything that discloses that rapidly growing spending on unfunded pension promises is crowding out other expenditures. Executives of corporations and non-profits would get in serious trouble if they issued statements with similar misleading non-disclosures.

Next, look at a letter to PUSD from the LA County Office of Education. See if you can find anything there that discloses that a significant reason for PUSD’s financial problems is exploding spending on unfunded pension costs.

French economist Thomas Piketty describes debt as “devouring the future.” That’s certainly true of pension debt, which is incurred for services already rendered and is a dead-weight cost on school districts. This year it will devour $22 million at PUSD that could’ve been used to pay more to current teachers. That pension debt exists because of unethical actions by elected officials and the board of the State Teachers’ Retirement System, as explained here.

Needless to say, government officials should tell the truth and be held to at least the same standards we expect of non-government officials.

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