Students' needs are underfunded

This is regarding the Times' June 2 article, "West County schools free from state's control."

I'm glad to read that the West Contra Costa school district has paid the $8.1 million final payment on the $29 million initial debit, which ultimately cost the district $47 million with interest.

West County residents and businesses pay two parcel taxes and five bonds to the school district through property taxes. The five bonds require payment by property owners, including seniors, for 30 years. Fewer than five school districts in California, out of approximately 1,000 districts, put such a financial burden on property owners.

Until two years ago, the district paid the entire medical insurance premiums for all employees and their family members.

If employed for five years, the district would continue to pay retirees' medical insurance premiums for life. It appears that now not all retired employees qualify for this benefit.

Medical premiums for my husband and me are nearly $19,000 yearly through my employer; my share is about $8,000, which also is the total premium for a single person.

Medical premiums may be a reason why the school district keeps saying it does not have enough funding for students' needs.

Margaret Judkins

San Pablo

Appalling child poverty statistics

According to Amy Goodman, America's foremost investigative journalist who I listen to on KPFA public radio, child poverty currently stands at 23 percent in the United States. Only Romania climbs higher than this wretched state of affairs in our country -- the richest nation on the planet or in history. I was totally stunned on hearing this.

A wealthy friend sincerely tells me she is "just middle class," and that everyone lucky enough to live in this country "has it pretty good."

She owns, outright, a $1 million house and expressed wounded distress when I told her she couldn't tell me that she is just middle class. I studied sociology and admit she might fit in the upper-middle category. She considers herself a Democrat but holds many conservative notions. She worked for years with very well-to-do property owners.

My travels occasionally take me through parts of East Oakland, where I often feel shock at what I see.

My wealthy friend believes most residents there feel contented domesticity, despite unfortunate occasional murders. Nothing I said about my observations seemed to change her mind. I felt flabbergasted and repelled.

Terry Cochrell

Berkeley

Borenstein shot at wrong target

Daniel Borenstein's indictment of Moraga School District Superintendent Bruce Burns is misdirected and unfair. The two cases he cited occurred in 1994. Burns, an exceptional educator and leader in his second year on the job as district superintendent, has no legal grounds on which to terminate Bill Walters for something done 18 years ago.

Likewise, while Borenstein is right to be disgusted by the actions of the teachers who supported child molester Julie Correa at the expense of her victim, there is nothing Burns can do about it.

Suggesting that he "alert parents so they could judge whether they wanted those three teachers instructing their children" is absurd. Then what?

Even if every parent said "no," Burns couldn't replace those teachers. Can you imagine the additional legal liability and teachers union actions that would invite? Borenstein's ire should have been directed at the school district administration that lured Bill Walters out of retirement five years ago for the Los Perales Elementary School principal job. What could they have been thinking?

Dan Finnane

Moraga

BART escalators don't work in S.F.

Last night on television I saw an advertisement for BART in which someone was walking downstairs between two moving escalators. I'm hoping someone could tell me which downtown San Francisco station was used in that shoot; I've never seen a working escalator in a BART station downtown before.

Neal Esko

Pleasant Hill