Phil Tabera


NAME:  Phil Tabera
HOMETOWN:  Salinas
PROFESSION:  Board member, Salinas Union High School District; Past President, California Latino School Boards Association

Hello, my name is Phil Tabera, and I hope people get involved, get educated and be a part of the change.”

Phil Tabera knows first-hand that getting involved and getting your voice heard make a difference.

“In the 70’s, I was a part of the Mexican American Youth Organization.  Part of what was going on at that time was the Chicano Movement—students in Los Angeles walking out over under-representation of Mexican American teachers, counselors and administrators,” he said. “We too staged a walkout at Alisal High School. Today, I’m proud to say, there is a greater representation at that school."

Tabera has made it a priority to right what he believes are the wrongs in his community.

“The only way to change things is to get involved and know what’s going on.”

Tabera is currently a school board member for the Salinas Union High School District. For years, like other districts, its budget decreased – but not anymore.

About eight years ago, the district adopted performance based budgeting—allocating financial resources based on how well programs perform. Now it is no longer in financial ruin.

“Everybody’s taking a hit, but it’s far less severe here,” said Tabera. “It saved us, but the most positive about this is that people are involved—administrators, staff members, teachers—they’re making decisions. They’re engaged.”

The California Forward Action Fund is proposing that the state also adopt performance-based budgeting in its measure for the 2012 ballot: the Government Performance and Accountability Act.

“I think this is a good idea because various agencies will be making their own recommendations, they’ll be a part of the process. To me, that’s important—they’re a part of it, they own it and they’ve got to live with it,” said Tabera.

Performance-based budgeting has worked so well in the Salinas Union High School District, Tabera suggested it to the California Latino School Boards Association, of which is he is past president.

“Sometimes, the hardest thing to do is something simple,” he said. But, “I know this is a model for other districts. They just have to be forward thinking.”