Capistrano Unified to Reopen Furlough, Class Size Talks With Unions

The Board of Trustees meets tonight to discuss future contracts, approve a report that says CUSD may not be able to remain solvent in the coming years and OK $100,000 for kindergarten teachers.

To address a budget shortfall which has now grown to $33.5 million next school year at best, the is looking to re-open negotiations with several employee groups, including teachers.

At its meeting Monday night, the Board of Trustees is expected to pass a resolution to reopen contract talks.

For the Capistrano Unified Education Association, the teachers’ union, on the table are:

  • Furlough days
  • Shorter work days
  • Larger classroom sizes in all grades
  • Adjustments in release time (because of larger-size classes, teachers are able to take time away from the classroom a month, which vary by grade;  see the contract, Page 19)
  • Benefits

The district also reserves to open other areas for negotiation as well, states the proposal the trustees will consider.

“Through good faith, collaborative, fact-driven and reality-based negotiations, the district believes that the parties will arrive at mutually acceptable solutions even in these uncertain economic times,” says the proposal.

The ultimate language may allow for contingencies and restorations should the economy improve or worsen, the proposal says.

On the table for the non-teaching employees of the California School Employees Association, such as instructional aides and office help, are:

  • Furlough days
  • Wages
  • Benefits
  • Adjustments in release time

A smaller number of non-teaching employees are members of the Teamsters, such as bus and truck drivers. The district proposes to change their contract with respect to:

  • Furlough days
  • Vacation time
  • Benefits
  • Transportation provisions (the district proposes to amend language that streamlines operations to achieve savings)

Also at the meeting, the trustees are expected to approve an interim report about this year’s budget, saying the district may not be solvent in the coming years.

At the same time, the district will give kindergarten teachers a slight raise because they have been teaching more minutes than their memorandum of understanding with the district calls for.  

The trustees will consider a new memorandum that will reflect their current day of 303 minutes daily, instead of the 291 minutes it currently says kindergarten teachers work. The extra 12 minutes a day translates into $179,000 more a year in total salaries paid out, but will be offset by $98,000 the district receives in class-size reduction revenue from the state.

The board meets at 7 p.m. Monday at the district headquarters, 33122 Valle Road in San Juan Capistrano.

Pam Sunderman March 12, 2012 at 06:00 PM
concerned parent, Teachers do expect to be paid for their work. I am sorry that you think this is all they think about when it comes to their profession. I agree that the goal of educating seems to have been overshadowed by money and politics...however that is not on the part of the teachers. They just want to do their job, meet the needs of their students, and be able to support their families. I am assuming that you think that a cut in teacher's pay is all that is needed to solve the financial woes of CUSD. How much more do you think will be necessary? And at what point will you feel that teachers have taken enough cuts to prove that they care enough about education?
Pam Sunderman March 12, 2012 at 06:02 PM
concerned parent...the board was most likely waiting to see what the revenues from the state would be so that they knew how much of a pay cut they will be asking their employees to take. This seems to be very responsible behavior. Not only can't we re-wind time...we can't see into the future.
concerned parent March 12, 2012 at 06:11 PM
jollygirl, that's ridiculous. They already knew it was going to be in the tens of millions of dollars. And they don't know exact dollars now any more than they did months ago.How is it responsible to wait this long? And unfortunately, the board of two years ago was absolutely correct when it saw into the future and took drastic action. Seriously, could this district be managed more poorly?
Just a Mom March 12, 2012 at 06:56 PM
And the parents just keep having to pick up the work of the teachers more and more every year. They now expect it. How did the teachers of the 1970's teach 30 kids without any volunteers? Oh yeah...Unions! Stop the madness and start teaching.
Capo Parent March 12, 2012 at 06:57 PM
JG Your comment that we can't see into the future is misleading. That's the whole idea of projections. You also gloss over a double standard. CUSD can restore millions without waiting to see if revenues really justify and support the give backs, but CUSD has to wait to see what the revenue is before making major cuts to salaries & benefits. Since the new board has come into power they have given back millions without waiting to see if revenes really justified or supported the give backs. As we now know, the give backs have increased CUSD's deficit over a two year period by an additional $20 million dollars per the figures provided by Penny. Since salaries & benefits now make up 92% of CUSD's budget per Farley, and since the other 8% of the budget has been cut to the bone and beyond (try bone marrow), CUSD has no choice but to significantly cut salaries & benefits. Maybe this time the unions will go on strike with the goal of saving CUSD millions of dollars. I know, I'm just engaging in wishful thinking.
Just a Mom March 12, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Penny, did you take into account all the holidays, winter break, thanksgiving break, spring break and all those minimum days due to teacher conferences when you calculated the extra hours the kinder teachers worked?
Penny Arévalo (Editor) March 12, 2012 at 07:04 PM
The agenda item provides the math: 12 minutes a day x five days a week x 36 weeks.
Capo Parent March 12, 2012 at 07:22 PM
The news only gets better. State revenue was down 3.2% in February. Now the politiicans and everyone else that relies on gov't funding is waiting for the March & April revenue numbers, hoping and praying that they will be equal to or great than what has been projected (there ya go JG, another "projection.").. http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/03/california-revenues-32-percent-shy-in-february.html
Pam Sunderman March 12, 2012 at 07:41 PM
These comments remind me of my favorite parable about the old man, the boy and the donkey. No matter what is done there will always be critics. For today I am worn out...have to let the usual suspects debate this among themselves. I am comforted by the fact that the teachers are in their classrooms doing their best, the volunteers are there helping out because they know they make a difference and are appreciated, the kids are there and doing well with the needed support of their parents, and the graduates are there contributing to society and, hopefully, some are considering the teaching profession and are not too discouraged by any comments they may read on these pages.
concernedparent March 12, 2012 at 08:21 PM
To clarify, I was commenting on what the unions do for education ( I really do want someone to provide solid evidence of what the unions do for my kids). I can individually see the value of a teacher, and of course, it is a job and should therefore be compensated. In tough economic times (which is more of a California tax issue, an entire topic on its own) where the salaries of teachers or administrative personnel are tied to the State revenues and union contracts, there seems to be no wiggle room for correction and in the mix of money and politics the main objective of schooling is lost. The parents, by the way, are happy to volunteer because they have a vested interest, the education of their children. This in a sense, is a fringe benefit of being a teacher....many hands to help them.
Capo Parent March 12, 2012 at 08:23 PM
JG I thought you were going to tell us about the parable about the union, a board and the jacka**. I think you're worn out from trying to defend the indefensible. I hope the teachers are in their classrooms teaching, that's what they get paid for. As for those looking at the teaching at public K-12 in CA, if you want a job were you get paid on how long you work, and not based on how you perfrom, then public school teaching is for you.
OC Mom March 12, 2012 at 08:53 PM
I can't believe I'm defending the teachers, but as a child of the 1970's in elementary school if I had disrupted the class or mouthed off to the teacher I would have been paddled by the principal and then grounded or spanked again at home. Teachers in the 1970's were for the most part dealing with 2 parent families with usually a stay at home mom. Things were very different back then and the break down of our society and failure of parents to take responsibility for their child's behavior leads to a lot of chaos in the classroom.
PC March 12, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Wake Up JG... Your in a nightmare. The teachers lack of control over the union has bankrupt the schools. Wake up and get the teachers to work with community not the unions
Capo Parent March 12, 2012 at 09:55 PM
OC Mom You're correct. Also remember, teachers did not have to deal with students that did not speak English. If the students couldn't speak English, too bad. Teachers could concentrate on teaching and not have to worry if students didn't understand what he or she was saying. They also didn't have to deal with assimilating special needs students.
Capo Parent March 12, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Here's an excellent and very sobering article from another blog Capistrano Unified School District’s financial outlook is getting bleaker by the day. It seems that every agenda contains an item that discusses additional compensation to the staff. With 90 percent (or 92 percent according to Supt. Farley) of the CUSD budget funding salaries and benefits, every dollar that is given to the staff has to be cut from the students. According to the Feb. 13, 2012, agenda the district was anticipating a $30-million shortfall, with an additional shortfall of $18 million if the tax initiative fails, and another $2 million if the proposed cuts to transportation funding are replaced by a revenue-limit reduction for a total of $50 million. Less than 30 days later, per the March 12 agenda, the district is now citing a potential shortfall of $33.5 million, or a shortfall of $51 million if the tax initiative does not pass. Whether or not the district remains financially solvent appears to be entirely up to the CUSD unions.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) March 12, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Which is why I put "which has now grown to $33.5 million next school year at best" in the lead.
Capo Parent March 12, 2012 at 10:45 PM
Agenda item #4 is a Memorandum of Understanding with CUEA (the Teachers Union). Per the MOU, "the October 2011 tentative agreement between the CUEA and the District included a provision that the parties would continue to meet until an equitable resolution was reached regarding the kindergarten instructional minutes." The agreement reached: We need to fairly compensate the kindergarten teachers for the additional 12 minutes they are teaching – 12 minutes! The Cost? $179,000. While taxpayers think about the last time their boss paid them for 12 extra minutes of work, consider some of the following information currently listed on the CUEA website under "Contract Close-Up." K-5 teachers are required to be "on the job 7 hours per day including 35 minutes for duty-free lunch." Everyone should take some time to read the entire CUEA contract to fully understand why there is no money left in CUSD. Classroom teachers are to be present at their respective assignments and to remain on duty to the District a minimum of time as follows: In elementary schools, grades K-5 and Special Day Class/ Infant/pre K Programs: Seven hours per day, inclusive of a minimum 35-minute duty-free lunch.
Capo Parent March 12, 2012 at 10:46 PM
In middle schools, grades 6-7-8: Fifteen minutes prior to the commencement of the first period of the day, excluding zero period, to 15 minutes after the dismissal of the school day. In high schools, grades 9-12: Fifteen minutes prior to commencement of the first period of the day, excluding zero period. Seven hours per day, exclusive of the 35-minute duty-free lunch period and inclusive of passing time. Class Size and Release Time Depending on your specific situation and your current class size, you may be eligible to receive additional planning time. (What does this mean? Extra days off with pay.) Personal Necessity Days – There Are 7 One of the major contract changes effective in 2011-12 is the addition of 4 more "PN" days. Three "No-Tell" Personal Necessity Days New contract language was adopted last spring allowing for three (3) "No Tell" days. Refer to Article 10.3.3 in the CUEA/CUSD Contract now online at the CUEA website. There is no restriction as to when those days may be taken. Keep in mind that these 3 days are part of the 7 PN days allowed per year as enumerated in Article 10.3. Class Size Release (time off if class size goes beyond the negotiated size) Due to shrinking resources, the demand to release teachers for either on-site or off-site conferences has significantly decreased over the last year. This has increased the availability of substitutes.
Capo Parent March 12, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Teachers should not experience substitute shortages to utilize maximum class size release day(s) due to them. Elementary Class Size Maximum Kindergarten: 33 or more 4th/5th Grade: 34 students or more Middle and High School Class Size Maximum English, science, math, history, and foreign language teachers: 36 or more High School: 37 or more CUSD pays the full-time salary of the CUEA Union President from the general fund. This position offers NOTHING to the students, so why isn't the union reimbursing the district for this cost?
Capo Parent March 12, 2012 at 10:52 PM
If the above information is correct, kindergarten teachers in CUSD only have to teach 5.55 hours per day, yet for pension purposes they are considered to work full time. Wow, what a gig.
curious March 13, 2012 at 12:01 AM
what's the talk about a "Golden Handshake"? What does that mean? It is supposed to help the CUSD save money by offering incentives to teachers so they retire?
Penny Arévalo (Editor) March 13, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Lori Walker March 13, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Okay. Since I am a Kindergarten Teacher, I will clarify the situation. Most K teachers will tell you that we have actually been working much more than 12 minutes per day. We agreed to accept the 12 minutes so we could settle the issue and move forward. I truly wish I worked 5.5 hours per day. I do not. I have duty daily, before and after the student day, every day. Not only must I teach those extra minutes, I also have to plan for them. Planning requires additional time after school. I am supposed to have a 20 minute break during the day but, remember I have Kindergarten. I escort them to their snack tables and must wait until they are settled in and have their snacks, jackets, whatever they need. I return prior to recess ending to make sure they line up properly and they do not run. I return to teaching for more hours. After the last dismissal, I still have to wait to make sure all are picked up. I cannot just leave them alone. Then.... by this time it is around 1:30 (and my day started around 7:30 or so), I finally take my LUNCH break. Trust me that is a long time to wait! After that, I am NOT finished. I have wonderful parent volunteers but I still have papers to grade, more prep to do and I need to make sure everything is ready to go for the morning. I have SST's, IEP's and all sorts of meetings, team planning and more. Many Many days I arrive at 7:30 and leave at 5:30 or 6. And I often bring work home!! My day is long but I still LOVE it! :-)
Lori Walker March 13, 2012 at 02:08 AM
And one more thing, if you happen to see me on the computer, I am emailing parents,, writing our monthly newsletter, creating curriculum, submitting test data, etc. I do not use my school computer for personal use. I am not allowed to. I do not want to get into arguments with anyone... I am just telling you what we do. This job has never been "part time" for me and it never will be!! :-)
triton truth March 13, 2012 at 02:33 AM
I think we should talk about the exhorbitant salary paid to Superintendent Farley- approx $300,000 a year PLUS big benefits ! And a 5 YEAR CONTRACT =$1.5 MILLION even if he gets fired ! THAT"S where your education dollars are being wasted ! PLUS how much was paid out in the past 6 years to to the other 5 Superintendents that either quit or were fired ????Time to investigate this and leave the poor teachers alone.
Capo mom March 13, 2012 at 03:53 AM
Teachers tell us how much of "their own time" they spend doing work out of the classroom. Yet during this budget crisis, they are demanding to be paid for an additional 12 minutes a day. Something doesn't smell right.
Capo Parent March 13, 2012 at 04:27 AM
Don't disagree, Farley's been a supreme disappointment. Farley and other administrators are grossly over paid compared to the teachers and other employees. Unfortuantely, all CUSD employees are going to have to take big hits to cover a $33 million to $51 million deficit that apparently keeps growing on a weekly basis.
OC Mom March 13, 2012 at 05:53 AM
Sounds like a good idea to me CP. Why not take some of the millions in dues that they use to put very liberal leaning propositions on the ballots? Most of the time these measures they fund have nothing to do with education or children.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) March 13, 2012 at 05:54 AM
New budget story up: http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/articles/capo-unified-budget-you-can-t-get-there-from-here-without-new-contracts-with-the-unions
OC Mom March 13, 2012 at 06:52 AM
Thank you for your dedicated service to the children. It's helpful to have this kind of clarification of what a day is like for a Kindergarten teacher. My husband is a salaried middle manager who works your same hours most days and works 12 to 14 hours days at month end and when there are meetings. He takes his lunch and eats while working most days. Unfortunately, he occassionally has to go to the office for a few hours on a weekend or take a late night call also. He doesn't get the Summers off and will never have a pension. Whether he likes it or not Social Security taxes are deducted from his paycheck. He does have a Bachelor's Degree and he has to continually stay up on new developments in his field. This is the reality of a lot of folks with kids in CUSD. Everyone in CUSD isn't a real estate mogul, Doctor, Lawyer or successful business owner. Many are struggling just to be middle class. When the economy changed there was a lot more competition for jobs. That means that in non Union jobs you work the hours necessary or you lose your job because your performance lags. That also means that a lot of folks have taken paycuts because the supply of available jobs is low and the number of workers high. I do believe that teaching is a demanding job and it is an important job. You are helping shape the next generation. We are facing tough times though and something must be done to balance the CUSD budget. I agree with triton truth who said Administrator pay is too high.


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