“If the Legislature gives DOE its full funding request, the school system will have enough money to spend about $8,600 per pupil, Fernandez said. The national average is more than $10,000 per pupil, Fernandez said.”- stated in the Pacific Daily News on July 23, 2012. We are pleased that the new Superintendent is on the same page with us. For years, we have been advocating for a fully funded education but year after year our public schools have been underfunded, leaving our children behind. Although the Superintendent’s budget request of $272M still falls short of the national average, it is more than last year’s budget. The jobs of our Para-professionals (or school aides) have been at stake every start of a new school year but if given the requested budget amount, we will be able to get an additional 193 school aides which our schools need. We have said it before, the institutional knowledge of these school aides is critical. They know the kids, they spot trouble in the blink of an eye and they know everyone that should and should not be on campus. In fact, the only time over the last few years that our kids have had safety issues was when we didn’t have enough school aides.