State

MTA wants multiyear use of reserves

In its Feb. 11 editorial, The Bee claimed that Modesto City Schools holds a reserve of $60 million. If this was accurate, our current budget woes would be far less daunting.

In fact, the district closed last year's books with $43 million in unrestricted reserves. For the 2009-10 school year, a projected $17 million of those reserves will be spent, leaving the district with approximately $26 million in unrestricted reserves to carry into the next school year.

This represents over three times the amount needed for Modesto City Schools to hold the 3 percent reserves ($8 million), which were once required, and are now recommended, by the state.

To accuse union leaders and individuals of advocating an irresponsible reduction of district reserves is unfair and inaccurate. The Modesto Teachers Association has argued and will continue to argue that the district's current reserves should be reduced over a multiyear time-frame to ensure the protection of student programs, as well as employees. This is exactly what the county has done. Modesto City Schools, its policy leaders and its union representatives deserve the same credit.

MEGAN GOWANS and CHARLIE YOUNG

MTA executive director and president, respectively

Modesto

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