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CUSD Begins Swinging $50-Million Budget Ax

Among the plans are laying off up to 399 teachers. See chart below for which subject areas may be affected.

With little comment from school board trustees and none from the public, the picked up its budget ax Wednesday night and began looking for ways to cut $50 million.

With a that covered everything from teacher layoffs to reopening union negotiations to another short-term loan to stave off insolvency, the trustees ripped through their agenda in an hour and 15 minutes.

Jodee Brentlinger, assistant superintendent of personnel services, said the moves would give the district options and flexibility as it attempts to close a.

Trustee Anna Bryson was among the few to comment. She said not only did failed the students, but so did Orange County officials, when the supervisors back to the county treasury.

"We can't really count on anybody at the moment except for our own determination," she said.

Official proposals to reopen negotiations with the three unions in the district -- the teachers’ union, Capistrano Unified Education Association, the non-teaching employees union, California School Employees Association, and the Teamsters -- will return before the trustees at their next meeting in a couple of weeks.

Here are the proposed teacher layoffs. Although most of these employees are working on temporary, one-year contracts, several dozen are not. Because , these teachers and subject areas may be shuffled around.

Kindergarten through Sixth Grade K-6 63.4 Dual Immersion 26 Secondary Education (grades 7-12)  Art 12.8 Business 6 English 47 Math 40.4 Music 22.1 PE 12 Science — life 14.2 Science — physical 6.8 Social science 25.6 World language 7.2 Special Education Services Adapted PE 2 Early intervention 1.8 Psychologists 9.8 Deaf and hard-of-hearing 1 Early childhood special education 4 Mild-moderate 35 Moderate-severe 12 Visually impaired .5 Instructional Support Services Counselors 6 Nurses 2 Teachers on special assignment 31.7 Psychologist on special assignment 1 Speech pathologist on special assignment  1 Certificated Management Positions Director IV, puil services 1 Elementary teaching assistant prinicipals 4 Executive director, elementary and early childhood programs  1 Principal, elementary  1 Total 398.9
Capo mom March 02, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Let's be clear about what we are looking at here. 20% of the teachers in CUSD may be RIFed. 20%!!!! That means if your kids are in classes of 30 students now, those classes will have 36 students next year. The largest cuts will come where we can least afford them-Math, English, Science. And because of the legal mandate for RIF-ing teachers, salaries will continue to increase. CUEA has our kids education in a death spiral.
LeAna Bui March 02, 2012 at 05:10 AM
Turning to attacks and name-calling is not the answer. Anyone who pays attention knew this was coming. The county's decision to divert more money just worsens an already bad situation. With salaries being 85-90% of the budget, I'm sure almost every teacher in CUSD is aware that, if their job is not in jeopardy, their salary is. I am not a fan of unions, or tenure or across-the-board raises, but I am a fan of almost every teacher I've ever met. Sure, they get great vacation and holidays, but they work vey long hours, handle tasks that most of us would run from and many spend their own money to ensure the quality of OUR children's education. This crisis in our local schools is not a crisis created by "them." It has been created by every single one of us - voters, non-voters, parents, teachers, school boards, unions, politicians at all levels. It's ironic that in order for our schools to operate next year, teachers (who are not rich by any means) must take a pay hit, whether it is through layoffs or salary cuts, but news reports are expecting that the Presidential campaign will reach record amounts. The money is out there, we just can't seem to get the money into our schools.........
Penny Arévalo (Editor) March 02, 2012 at 05:44 AM
FYI: Personnel costs make up more than 90 percent of CUSD's budget now, according to the district. At a superintendent's forum in San Clemente recently, Dr. Farley put that number at 92 percent. Last year, it was somewhere around the 85-87 percent range.
Lori Walker March 02, 2012 at 05:50 AM
LeAna, thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate your support! And you are correct about how to get the money to the schools. CAPO is funded less per pupil than most other districts. I have also heard that many dollars are tied up in Sacramento before some trickles down to the schools. It would be interesting if someone did some research on that. Sharon & Capo Mom: allow me to clarify something here. CUSD has apparently just started negotiations with CUEA for next year. CUSD is forced to RIF these teachers because no one has had the opportunity to agree to other adjustments including possible salary, benefits and/or number of work days (i.e., more furlough days). Additionally, teachers who wish to retire will save the school district money and the papers teachers would sign is not even due to CUSD yet. Therefore, they must RIF far more teachers than needed. They can rescind many RIF notices once negotiations are done and retirement paperwork has been processed. Elementary school class size will not be going up to 36. That is against the law and CAPO is seeking a waiver to add one or two more, but not to 36. Also, remember that there are administrators and TOSA's being riffed.... they do not have a classroom right now so that will not cause an increase for those folks.
LeAna Bui March 02, 2012 at 06:34 AM
Hi Penny: I don't doubt you are correct - I used the numbers straight off the CUSD website (which could very well be incorrect in real life), which puts personnel salaries and benefits at approx. 87% of the general fund this year.
Capo Parent Too March 02, 2012 at 07:04 AM
CUSD's budget around 2006 was about 490 million, we've already cut about 100 million from that. Now that were down to about 390, the District needs to cut more than another 10% to 15% from the budget. This is not about the Board of Trustees, the strike (which came about because of an imposed contract, which led to trigger language which was not clearly written). This is a State fiscal crisis which seems to never end. Blame teachers all you want but no one wants to actually pay more to keep our schools funded as they were just a few yard ago and I can understand that if they money will just go back into the general fund.
Capo mom March 02, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Why should we seek to "get money into our schools" when it doesn't to benefit the students?
Lori Walker March 02, 2012 at 02:55 PM
CAPOMOM, it is not just about salaries. We do not even have enough paper! Our supply budget has been severely slashed. Sports and AP programs are being threatened. Bring funds in that are earmarked for computers, supplies, etc. Donors or grant providers could insist funds be used for direct student needs and not salaries as a condition of acceptance. I would be happy with that! Many children would as well!
Capo mom March 02, 2012 at 03:13 PM
It is just about salaries, Lori. For years CUEA has not made an issue about supplies, knowing that teachers can beg (blackmail) parents for paper, kleenex etc. Don't you send out notices to parents requesting supplies from each family? How year years has that gone on? CUSD appropriates earmarked donations and uses the money as it sees fit. I know because I raised money for several specific causes that was just dumped into the general fund never to be seen again. It is why I refuse to be involved in fundraising anymore. Yes sports and AP classes, as well as everything else, is being threatened by CUEA's insatiability. This is nothing new. Student programs are considered an encroachment upon teacher compensation. Giving more money to CUSD is as irresponsible as giving cash to a crackhead.
LeAna Bui March 02, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Capo mom: So you believe our politicians are more deserving of our money than our students?
LeAna Bui March 02, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Lori: I don't believe I'm alone in this thinking (I could be very wrong!!). Many parents in this district are aware of how hard teachers work, but it is not PC in OC to be "pro-union". And I do agree with many that the "union" is shooting itself in the foot sometimes when it tries to protect its members. But I digress....
LeAna Bui March 02, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Capo Mom: So for a minute, let's go with your belief - Capo successfully slashes all salaries and benefits to a "sustainable level" (whatever the heck that is). What then? What do you think is a fair salary for the job teachers do and the education they have?
Janice Pickartz March 02, 2012 at 05:50 PM
no matter how you slice it, CUSD is in big trouble and our kids are suffering.
ChangeforCUSD March 02, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Sharon Maddox-Lopez doesn't have children in CUSD either. According to your comments he shouldn't be involved in CUSD issues either?
Capo mom March 02, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Are we giving money to students now? No, when we give money to CUSD, we are giving it to CUEA.
SJCNative March 02, 2012 at 11:39 PM
We are all hurting in this economy. I would much rather take a salary cut and have employment than have no employment .
LeAna Bui March 02, 2012 at 11:41 PM
I would rather the money go to increase teacher salaries than have a politician use it to buy TV advertising that villianizes another politician.
Pam Sunderman March 02, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Capo Mom refuses to recognize that without the teacher you have no education system. Not sure what she would rather spend the money on. Perhaps more programs? They won't be very successful without teachers. Or she would prefer that teachers pay for lower class sizes, more programs, up to date technology and better infrastructure. She, on the other hand, has paid enough and refuses to do more. I wonder if she has given up gasoline during this time of higher prices? Or does she expect teachers to pay for that as well?
Pam Sunderman March 02, 2012 at 11:55 PM
That is because everything else that could possibly be cut has been cut. We are now faced with the reality that more revenues will be needed. Percentages can be very misleading. Teachers may well have to take another pay cut and more will be laid off. At some point there will be a limit for that. Then what?
Zoe Fleming March 03, 2012 at 02:29 AM
"Personnel costs" include all the non-teachers at the CUSD offices making HUGE salaries! Cut the fat in district administrative service costs. Lawyers, middle management, assistant directors of this-n-that, PR people, etc.
Capo mom March 03, 2012 at 04:26 AM
More irony since among the largest political donors for this season will be (and for many seasons past have been) teachers' unions. Political contributions for those of us in the private sector, are voluntary. Not so for teachers. Let's ignore these facts for now. I'll remind you of the first post on this thread. "Let's be clear about what we are looking at here. 20% of the teachers in CUSD may be RIFed. 20%!!!! That means if your kids are in classes of 30 students now, those classes will have 36 students next year. The largest cuts will come where we can least afford them-Math, English, Science. And because of the legal mandate for RIF-ing teachers, salaries will continue to increase. CUEA has our kids education in a death spiral."
Pam Sunderman March 03, 2012 at 04:44 AM
So you hold the teachers entirely responsible for the financial crisis. How much of a pay cut would you recommend in order to solve the crisis?
Lori Walker March 03, 2012 at 07:42 AM
Many or those "non teachers" are former teachers. Our administrative staff has already been severely cut. I don't believe that anyone is getting independently wealthy over there. They are all hard working folks and they have had to take on more and more work as others are laid off. I wish we could drop the attorneys. However, with people suing or threatening to do so, we need attorneys. There are just too many legal issues that must be addressed. I fully expect to take a pay cut. As a teacher, I will do what has to be done. I hope it will not be too severe of a cut. We just have to wait and see what happens about that. I do not personally send out letters requesting supplies. Our PTA has handled a lot of that and at the beginning of the year, our office has provided parents with a list of items that could be donated to the classroom (like glue and crayons) but it is donation only. I do not keep track of who donates or who does not. I personally spend approximately $3000 on supplies for my classroom each year. I will not be able to afford to continue with that. I will have to start cutting back as it really is not affordable for me to do that anymore. So, to me, it is about salaries and supplies. We have to cut back on both salaries and supplies.... we just don't have money to continue on!
Lori Walker March 03, 2012 at 07:55 AM
Janice, I am sorry that you think the kids are suffering. All the teachers at my school work very hard. I see learning and growing every day. I see smiles and focused children and many many supportive parents who volunteer in our school. Our test scores are high. When researching California districts of comparable sizes, CAPO has the highest test scores. Our kids are continuing to thrive despite the cut in funds. I truly am sorry if you are seeing something different. I love teaching children and will continue to work hard regardless of the budget crisis. Will it be difficult next year? Yes it will. But I do not blame the school district or CUEA. Our state is in a financial crisis and we must all adjust as best as we can.
M March 03, 2012 at 03:17 PM
There has a lot of emphasis on the students in our district, the students are not and will not be losing out on anything. Currently the district (this is coming from the dist. office) through grant money has implemented a program ADD and SIOP that goes straight to the classroom via teachers.
Lori Walker March 03, 2012 at 07:03 PM
You are correct about that, M. I am a teacher in that program. Teachers are reminded of the best teaching practices while providing resources and ideas for presenting them in the classroom, directly to the children. The program is beneficial to all teachers and students.
Ron Frantz March 05, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Keep doing what we are doing and get the same results, that the definition of insanity. Why doesn't CUSD and SVUSD combine together, secede from the state funding system, other districts have and use local property taxes to fund the combined districts. They are both shrinking in overall student population and we send more dollars out than we get in. Result more teachers in the classroom and fewer administrators running the combined district.

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