Mayor Sam's Quarter Million Dollar Raid...

A Letter from Roy Byrnes MD, former SJC Mayor

Mayor Sam Allevato wants you San Juan taxpayers to fork out over $225,000 a year to pay for a Deputy Sheriff as “School Resource Officer” (SRO) for the Capistrano Unified School District. I disagree. Why doesn’t CUSD pay for its own SRO? Nope, says Mayor Sam!

Much as I respect our good Mayor, I think he’s off the reservation on this one. There is absolutely no reason for us to shell-out a quarter million to pay for a school position that could be paid out of CUSD’s massive $374 million annual budget.
“But the SRO does an important job”, says Sam. I agree, yes siree! The SRO is a part of the anti-truant and anti-gang program, and is an asset to the schools in many ways. I commend the program and the excellent Deputies who serve. But these are all school functions. The gang and truancy issues are CUSD’s responsibility. All of the Deputies on the City payroll should be patrolling the city streets to serve the anti-crime needs of all citizens.

But doesn’t the anti-crime work of the SRO benefit the City as a whole? Only marginally! Besides, only a
minority of the students at the high school are actually residents of San Juan Capistrano. Most live in Ladera Ranch. You might as well say that the City should pay the salaries of the math teachers since we all will suffer if graduates are so mathematically deficient that they can’t make change in the stores. Mayor Sam’s logic is just as tenuous. He keeps saying that we need this program, but he can give no good reason why the City should pay for it and not the school district. Sam acts like a member of the school board, not a member of the San Juan City Council. His leadership results in a gift of your money from the City to the school district. This is wrong. This is illegal. I object.

Last May, I requested that the City Council direct our City Manager to meet with the school district in order to get them to pay for some of the cost of the SRO. Mayor Allevato took personal action to insure that this never happened. He's a skilled politico and knows how to bury things. Why are retired police Lieutenant Allevato and Sheriff Sandra Hutchins both determined that cities such as San Juan, Dana Point, Mission Viejo, San Clemente, should pay for school deputies? The reason isn’t "cherchez la femme"; it’s “follow the money.”

I don’t have absolute proof but I offer some logical reasons to understand why Sheriff Sandra Hutchins and Mayor Allevato are so determined that cities pay for the school SRO programs. If the CUSD were to take over the job of supplying campus police services, 10 or 12 officers might be required. In that event, the CFO of CUSD would take less than 3 minutes to ask, “Why am I paying the OC Sheriff  $225,000 per deputy when, by forming our own school security force, I can get the needed service at half that sum?" Were this to happen, Sheriff Hutchins would lose her very effective and lucrative “Deputy Rental Service”. Mayor Allevato wants to prevent this at all costs – your costs! A trained Deputy with 5 to 10 years of experience is a hugely valuable individual, over-qualified and wasted on assignment as an SRO. CUSD should hire, train, supervise and pay individuals for work with students. This is a complex problem with county-wide implications. I have tried to interest Mayor Allevato in finding a solution but he has resisted. He is determined that the citizens of San Juan should pay this annual unfair charge. I object!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

" The gang and truancy issues are CUSD’s responsibility." How so? It is the parent's responsibility by state law to send their children to school and the school district does not have the authority to enforce this. They cannot issue a citation, they cannot compel compliance. Regarding gang issues being within the district's area of responsibility... please clarify. How so? How does the school prevent gang activity... with their army of math, science and english teachers? Your solution is to have the district, which is financially unable to afford anything other than the state mandated level of education, to pay for the training of individual to enforce state law?

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