Letters to the editor (Oct. 14): Vote YES on Measure T

Community leaders, all the City Council members and Planning Commissioners support the update to the Encinitas Housing Plan in order to allow for smaller, more attainable homes and meet state housing requirements. Across the political spectrum, reasonable people who understand state laws recognize that we have no choice.

Rejecting this ballot initiative will not solve our housing problems. It will bring more McMansions and more lawsuits. Approving Measure T will enable us to move forward to update our zoning codes, tighten design requirements and create effective incentives to steer developers away from density bonus projects and toward actual affordable housing choices.

Contrary to what opponents are saying, Measure T fully complies with Proposition A. The reason the measure is on the ballot is to meet the requirements of Prop A.

Contrary to what opponents are saying, Measure T does not require any housing to be built, and does not circumvent any existing permitting processes that ensure transparency and public review. Affecting only 13 sites, representing less than 1 percent of the land area of Encinitas, Measure T will impose new, publicly vetted design guidelines on any new development on those sites.

Contrary to what opponents are saying, Measure T still requires that affordable units be included in any project of 10 units or more, in accordance with our Inclusionary Housing policy. The state’s Density Bonus Law, which is what many residents are really concerned about, will remain in place regardless of the outcome of the Measure T vote. But because the City has been out of compliance with state housing law for many years, and has agreed to legal settlements requiring adoption of a compliant housing plan, if we do not approve Measure T, we can expect a court to impose this plan or something more impactful on our community at great expense. We can’t afford to let that happen.

Vote yes on Measure T, for the good of the community. Housing choices, obeying the law.

Lisa Shaffer

Deputy Mayor of Encinitas

San Dieguito – Lack of class size maximums was not a wise decision

The California Teachers Association considers the use of pupil/teacher ratios an essential contract provision and has taken the position that smaller class sizes are “key to improving student learning” in all grades because they allow “for the optimum development of a student’s potential and ensure individual attention to each student.”

Yet our board majority approved a teachers’ contract for the San Dieguito Union High School District that does not contain teacher/pupil ratios to protect our students’ class sizes.

Is this a problem? Yes, according to parents whose children are now in classes with 40+ students in them.

The national average for secondary classes is approximately 26.8 per the National Center for Education Statistics. In our district, the average class size for our high schools is already in the mid 30s and per the master schedule for this year, many of our classes are now in the 40s. On page 89 of the current contract, there is a sample “compliant” teaching schedule with a Spanish class of 58 students.

A principal recently sent out a letter acknowledging that the larger classes were taking their “toll” on students and that the larger class sizes would be addressed. And, on a back to school night, a teacher shared that temporary seating had to be brought in for students. But class sizes are still in the 40s. Parents are now being told that the teachers “welcome the larger sizes,” but it’s not just a teacher issue.

I tried to resolve this issue with the union president through emails, and urged the school board to amend the contract through a public comment, yet no action was taken. I then met with an administrator and was told that there was some thought that, at least with respect to AP classes, students should be able to handle the larger classes sizes because it is supposed to be college level instruction. But, our students are not in college. Students get to select colleges based upon their learning needs, many colleges actually have classes smaller than what we’re offering our high school students, and colleges offer free teacher and teacher’s aide hours outside of class for additional and individualized help.

Regardless, shouldn’t the parents and students have had more opportunity for input before the class size maximums were eliminated? Larger classes affect our students’ ability to participate in the limited lab space in science classes, ability to participate verbally in class, obtain individualized attention and much more.

Let’s make sure that the next teachers contract is not approved without pupil/teacher ratios, that there are more transparent discussions about the contract terms generally, and that there is more notice to the public when something this important is eliminated or changed.

Lucile Lynch

Parent of an SDUHSD student

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