Typically public servants put on the polite brave face and tell their constituents not to worry. Everything will work out OK. But if our school superintendent is sugar-coating anything this time, we better listen closely, even if his words aren't easy to hear.


"The Governor's newest proposed budget is devastating to us," HUSD superintendent Mark McKinney writes in his monthly column that appears on this page of the Hesperia Star. "Budget reductions are being crafted in such a way that they appear to pit employee groups against one another so as to prevent a united opposition to the severe cuts that are being made to education."


Not exactly rosy words.


In fact, McKinney writes, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposals could mean the school district's budget deficit would now increase from $8 million to as much as $13 million. Ouch. But the district is doing what it can to remedy the situation. And it won't be pretty.


"Because our district is committed to providing a quality education to the children in our care, we are already laying the groundwork for possible reductions in salaries, benefits, programs, services and people," according to McKinney.


By its definition, public education depends on tax dollars to survive. But if you live by taxation be prepared to die or at least face severe cuts by taxation. With the state in historic disarray, we in Hesperia along others throughout the state face an unprecedented and very difficult situation.


It would be unfortunate if the school board decided to change direction at this time. With the guidance of McKinney and district staff, the board is considering painful but necessary options for getting the district out of this difficult time. Now is the time to hunker down and do whatever it takes to keep our school district's long-range needs in mind.


There's no sugar-coating it this time. These days are tough. Create the right plan and stick to it.