Bouquets and Brickbats: Paso board should try a parcel tax

Given what’s at stake for Paso Robles public schools, we would like to see voters have the opportunity to say yea or nay to an $8-per-month parcel tax. But this week, the Paso school board voted 3-2 — with two members absent — to pass on putting a tax measure on the June ballot.

Instead, the board will continue to look at cost-cutting measures, such as requiring teachers to take five furlough days per year. We have nothing against furlough days; we believe they make good fiscal sense in some situations. But we’re not sure how they would work in a K-12 school setting. If teachers have to take an additional five days off, what will that mean for their students? Will they be herded into an auditorium and shown movies all day? Required to run laps? Or forced to write, “My teacher’s on furlough and all I got is this lousy sheet of paper” 583 times?

On a serious note, we don’t believe that classroom teachers are expendable. Massive layoffs and/or furloughs should be a last resort.

Shame on district leaders who are so quick to assume that Paso Robles citizens would not accept a modest parcel tax in this time of crisis. But we believe in second chances; we’ll toss the school board a better-late-than-never bouquet and an “A” in civics if it reconsiders in time for the November election.

Kelly Gearhart’s Ohio ‘makeover’

Could we have been wrong about Kelly Gearhart? Here we thought the deadbeat developer had slunk off to self-imposed exile in Wadsworth, Ohio, never to be heard from again.

But no! He’s been turning his attentions to the revitalization of the struggling Ohio community, starting with replacing windows in several of the red-brick 1940s buildings. His creditors in California must be happy to hear that!

We considered sending Kelly a California-dreamin’ bouquet to wish him luck on his new project. But on second thought, we’re shipping him a load of SLO-made, recession-era brickbats. Maybe he can put them to good use on some of those down-and-out-buildings he’s rehabbing.

Embezzlement rates an extra bop

We sympathize with anyone who gets bilked out of hard-earned money, particularly in these awful times. But embezzling from AYSO — the popular youth soccer organization — is especially low.

Douglas Andrew Smith of Los Osos was sentenced to 90 days in jail after pleading no contest to the crime, and he’ll have to pay back the $24,000 he embezzled from the Paso Robles AYSO. That’s entirely appropriate, but not quite enough. For this brand of soccer hooliganism, we’re showing Smith a red card and tossing him a deflated brickbat to boot.