Union Democrat staff

Putting students first

To the Editor:

This is in response to the recent letter submitted by Domenic Torchia regarding school mergers.

Placing the practicality of a school merger aside, it is clear that Mr. Torchia's heart is in the right place in his attempt to look out for the best interest of the students of Tuolumne County. School employees should do everything in their power to continually improve our student's education and learning environment.

The employees of the Summerville High School District (which includes Connections Visual and Performing Arts Academy charter) have stepped up and done exactly that. The management staff took a five-day payroll reduction in the 2009-10 school year to avoid cuts that our students would feel. The following year the entire staff took a three- to five-day payroll reduction in order to retain the widest variety of electives and other activities available to our students.

We at Summerville High School District put our students first and make personal concessions to salvage the variety of options available to our students. At no point in time has the district been at risk of closing due to financial difficulties. The minimum required cash reserve level for our size school district is 4 percent. We have maintained a reserve of well over 20 percent for a number of years. This large reserve is the result of both sound fiscal management and of our Summerville employees pulling together to keep our district on solid financial ground in the midst of the state's economic crisis.

It is my hope that the membership of TuCCURE refrain from making sensational and unfounded statements that target our local schools in the future.

Tonya Midget

Chief Business Official,

Summerville UHSD