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Public Begins to Speak Out Against Possible Cuts to Schools

A number of budget-related items were on the Capo Unified's Board of Trustee agenda Monday night.

A few members of the public began to speak out Monday about possible budget cuts – including fewer teachers, campus supervisors and instructional days – the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees may make at its June 27 meeting.

While the last two meetings have gone virtually unattended, Monday's meeting drew maybe 80 people.

The district has to find , when by law, all school districts must have their 2012-13 budget in place. That worst-case scenario anticipates failing.

However, because the district has identified and implemented and expects the current year to end with $3 million to carry over into the next year, the district is now looking to cut $38.3 million, Clark Hampton, deputy superintendent of business services, said at Monday’s trustee meeting.

The board heard several items that dealt with the school district’s bottom line, including:

  • A resolution that would allow the district flexibility to redirect millions of dollars pegged for specific programs to the general fund
  • A budget update
  • A resolution so that the district can borrow money from various funds into the general fund

Although the staff reports did not detail any proposed cuts, Trustee Lynn Hatton referenced the possibility of shortening the school year.

“Education cannot resemble what it used to resemble, based on what we’ve been given, not what we’ve created, but what we’ve been given,” Hatton said. “We have to have fewer days in class because we don’t have the funding to educate the kids in as many days as we used to.”

The school district and the various unions are in negotiations, and although “what happens in negotiations is relatively confidential and needs to stay at the negotiating table” – as Superintendent Joseph Farley put it – the teachers’ union has .

Negotiations

According to the latest information, the Capistrano Unified Education Association is proposing class sizes increase by 1.5 students across the board, freezing automatic salary advances for half a year and ending the school year end 15 days sooner, should Brown’s tax measure fail.

The school district is proposing two extra students per class, freezing the step-in-column increases for half a year, shortening the school year by 13 days and making up the rest in a salary reduction.

Parent Robert Reidel of Mission Viejo said if the district is not receiving enough money from the state Legislature, the trustees should be doing something about it, rather than just reacting.

“Why aren’t you going to Sacramento yourselves and say, ‘We demand our fair share?’ ” he asked.

But parent Julie Collier said no matter what hand the state deals the district, the trustees have a duty to the children.

“Students needs and best interests should be given your highest and utmost priority,” she said. “Whatever you’re given by the state, it’s your responsibility to make sure kids are given the highest priority. If that means tough negotiations, then we expect that.”

A student speaks

Before the meeting got started in earnest, middle school student Sophia Rea addressed the board on a number of budget issues, including the cutting of campus supervisors, a decision the board made .

“Do not short-change my education that way. We need staff on campus to stay safe,” she said, adding that she also doesn’t agree with furlough days.

“I believe in good education and cutting a lot of days of school isn’t going to help me. I’m asking the board to consider a pay cut instead of cutting my education,” she said.

The budget update was just a file-and-receive report. However, the board did need to take action on a move to allow the district the flexibility to “sweep” so-called Tier III funds, which are normally tied to specific programs, into the general fund so they can be spent elsewhere.

Julie Hatchel, assistant superintendent of education, said the district will maintain the programs traditionally funded by these monies at “minimal” levels.

But Trustee Addonizio said she wanted more information.

“We might just do away with these programs. Minimal support, I don’t’ know what that means,” she said, later adding to applause from the audience that the purpose of a public hearing is to communicate clearly with the public.

Trustee John Alpay noted, however, that the resolution wasn’t ending or curtailing any programs themselves. It only gives the district flexibility to do that, should officials desire.

Farley agreed.

“We will return when we adopt this budget with specific amounts that we believe we can safely transfer to the general fund,” he said.

The board approved the resolution 4-2, with trustees Addonizio and Sue Palazzo against and Trustee Anna Bryson absent to attend an Orange County Republican Party function

There was no discussion on the district borrowing funds from itself. The motion passed, 5-1, with Addonizio opposed.

Yeparoo June 13, 2012 at 04:35 AM
@Holly Telford - Ok, all points well said. Out Of curiosity, if you were a Capo teacher with seniority, how would you vote: (A) An across the board 6% salary reduction for all teachers, or (B) Lay off 120 teachers?
shelly June 13, 2012 at 06:14 AM
Teachers are taking a pay cut with furlough days. We should all help with the shortfall. All for one and one for all. For the kids! Parents, teachers, administrators, staff taxpayers all helping for the kiddos and education. Value education! Many teachers are parents and all are taxpayers. So if teachers take a cut which they are parents and taxpayers should be willing to help also. Teamwork!
bbq June 13, 2012 at 07:24 AM
Shelly, There you are! "For the kids" - ha, ha, ha ,ha! Right, it's all for the kids. NO NEW TAXES!!!!!!!! Shelly!
shelly June 13, 2012 at 03:03 PM
BBQ, It is for the kids. The teachers are taking a cut. Are you? Are you not being paid or contributing thousands of dollars above the taxes you pay to help the kids of CUSD during this economic crisis that was not caused by them or the teachers. Teachers are by taking a huge cut. Southcountynative, I can disagree with your kids if I do not agree with them. I feel differently and so do my kids. So if my son posts the same as me are you going to agree with him simply because he is a kid? There is not enough money coming to us from the state. We are paid less per kid which our district and our PTSA has advocated to get changed for years. The state is in a mess. Kids are in school now. Programs are going to be cut, class sizes increased, school year shortened. So if it is truly for the kids then help. Everybody! pull together as a community, stop pointing fingers and help.
shelly June 13, 2012 at 03:03 PM
BBQ, It is for the kids. The teachers are taking a cut. Are you? Are you not being paid or contributing thousands of dollars above the taxes you pay to help the kids of CUSD during this economic crisis that was not caused by them or the teachers. Teachers are by taking a huge cut. Southcountynative, I can disagree with your kids if I do not agree with them. I feel differently and so do my kids. So if my son posts the same as me are you going to agree with him simply because he is a kid? There is not enough money coming to us from the state. We are paid less per kid which our district and our PTSA has advocated to get changed for years. The state is in a mess. Kids are in school now. Programs are going to be cut, class sizes increased, school year shortened. So if it is truly for the kids then help. Everybody! pull together as a community, stop pointing fingers and help.
Yeparoo June 13, 2012 at 03:21 PM
@Shelly - wondering what your thoughts are on Gov Brown's proposal to bar state workers from retiring and drawing a pension in addition to taking an additional state job. So he wants to so away with collecting a pension while working and collecting a salary at the same time. Do you support the Governor's reform idea? http://m.sacbee.com/sacramento/db_99761/contentdetail.htm?contentguid=xM8tEeBG
Capo Parent Too June 13, 2012 at 05:11 PM
But to be fair, my understanding of the meeting is that out of 80 of the attendees, only a dozen or so were there for the budget items. Yes, there may have been more than usual, but probably as many as the usual people who comment here with the same issues. Irvine School District, which is doing very well, is going to cut four days next year. I wish we could put all of this in perspective, such as the fact that some of the poorest Districts (by income) get more per student funding than we do. And we face yet more cuts. Just imagine if we got $9,900 per student? Our budget would be in the high $400 million! Our money does not stay local, we are a donor County, we keep getting our budget cut and the further cut to the Teacher's pay (In the form of salary freezes, furlough days, class size and reduction in pay), all are being considered. By the way, anyone check how many instruction days OPA has? 7) New Boston Local School District, Ohio >Median household income: $18,604 >Pct. households earning $200,000+: 0% >Pct. households earning less than $10,000: 16.9% (90th) >Expenditure per student: $9,962 >Pct. local funding: 34% http://www.alternet.org/story/155824/the_10_richest_--_and_poorest_--_school_districts_in_america/?page=5
Yeparoo June 13, 2012 at 06:18 PM
@ Capo Parent Too - Somewhere in Ohio their is a "donor county." Wonder how they feel about New Boston getting more? So if you follow your logic of CUSD not getting their fair share, what do you want to cut from districts like LA and Oakland to give to CUSD? Meals, ELL, supplies or extra security? Here is what you are up against: http://www.advancementproject.org/home Please be specific what you want to cut from the "Disadvantaged" districts to give to the "Suburban" districts.
bbq June 13, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Shelly, Yes, I have taken a cut. I've taken a $50,000 per year cut for the last two years. I also have to pay $1100 per month for a high deductible healthcare plan and that keeps going up. I also pay higher taxes to the state & federal government because I own a small business. So yes, I have taken a cut. Shelly. NO NEW TAXES!!!!!!!!!!
randy June 13, 2012 at 06:54 PM
I have taken paycuts for 4 years and paid less taxes because of income reduction even the state tried to raise taxes but did not take enough. Millions got haircut, kids and schools suffer because of that. No new taxes. Someone critcized me yesterday that Brown's new tax initative proposal to Califorians is for "rich". True? One mentioned it is for those taxpayers who earn $250k or higher will pick up that tab.
Capo Parent Too June 13, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Yeparoo, Ah yes, so I must want to take from the disadvantaged! Nice try and I should have made myself more clear, I should have known better. We live an area with a higher median income, higher cost of living and yet our cost per student is less. But the blame goes to the teachers and the school board who has to make these very draconian cuts. I see lots of finger pointing without putting any of this into context. It is just far more complicated and right now I see people lining themselves up to try to take over the board for their own gain, again. More reformers, again. The balance is gone, it's not either or here, but a lot of people wanting to blame the union and a newer board on bad contracts and an even worse economy. It's going to get better people and it's easier to restore teaching days than it is to restore pay.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) June 13, 2012 at 09:09 PM
Why do you say it's easier? The district restored last school year both furlough days AND salary. I didn't sense in reading many internal documents that one was logistically easier than the other. In fact, there were more concerns voiced about the calendar already being set and communication with parents. So what exactly is easier about it? I don't mean that in a snappy way. I really want to know why you consider it easy.
Capo mom June 13, 2012 at 09:20 PM
I think CP2 means that furlough days give the union more leverage for restoration. What is being proposed is 3 weeks of furlough days. I don't know many families that can handle that without pain. There is an attitude on the union's part that they aren't going endure any hardship without inflicting equal or greater damage back on the community. CUEA is gambling that parents won't be able to handle all the furlough days and will force a different solution. And that might be what happens. But it may not the solution CUEA hopes.
bbq June 13, 2012 at 09:26 PM
I am so disgusted by the union antics that I hope we go into state receivership and somehow, some way, the slate can be wiped clean and a new system built from the bottom up.
shelly June 13, 2012 at 09:27 PM
yeparoo, I agree that people shouldn't retire and then take a salary from the state. Not sure why this is relevant on this comment board. I thought we were talking about education. I am a parent, Yeparoo.
shelly June 13, 2012 at 09:32 PM
southcountynative, I understand that your child spoke at the meeting. It does take a lot to speak in public. It is my biggest fear. My kids were home doing homework and end of the year projects. Everybody took cuts. Including teachers. Furlough days are cuts now and before. I am just saying that everyone should help during this crisis if it is about the kids.
randy June 13, 2012 at 09:40 PM
Bbq, I know...that's something I learned about Hawaii state receivership if I'm not mistaken. The state government requires teachers to work more days, I believe. All istands public schools are managed by the state in Honolulu area. I think it is a cost effective for residents and beneficial for students despite their education. I couldn't find how many days students are going to have there in 2012 - 2013. No furloughs?
Yeparoo June 13, 2012 at 09:53 PM
@Shelly, Smile !!! One point of agreement. Remember the old saying, "A dollar saved is a dollar earned?" This is a dollar that goes back into the general fund to take pressure off of education cuts. One small step, one large step for mankind !! Just not enough for a beer summit yet !! Pension reform doesn't have to be all bad. People are counting on it, so need to get rid of the abuse. Okay, now Jerry Brown also wants California to come into compliance with the 1996 Welfare Reform Act signed into law by Bill Clinton (As of last night's reporting). CA has actively ignored the federal law mandating several changes to the way welfare is distributed and who gets to stay on it. You may have heard that CA has 33% of the welfare customers, but only 12% of the population. Bringing CA into compliance with the 1996 Clinton reform will save us billions with a capital "B." Even though this is 16 years after something should have been done, I think this would help help mitigate cuts to Education (as does Gov Brown) starting next year. Do you support Gov Brown's attempt to bring CA into compliance with the 1996 Welfare Reform Act?
Penny Arévalo (Editor) June 13, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Latest story. Read the PDF yourself for CUSD's own description of how things are going. http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/articles/state-advances-money-to-cash-strapped-cusd
bbq June 13, 2012 at 10:20 PM
Shelly, It definitely is NOT for the kids. If it were FOR the kids, the teachers would take the pay cuts rather than the furlough days. It is ALL about the teachers salaries and pensions!
shelly June 13, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Yeparoo, I think we are commenting about the CUSD budget. Are you trying to make it political?
Yeparoo June 13, 2012 at 11:51 PM
@Shelly, Funding comes from Sacramento. They decide where to allocate money. If less money is allocated to wasteful spending, they can allocate more to education. I can't believe I just typed that. It's like a 5th grade explanation. Oh well, you should be heartened. John Perez gave Governor Brown the 'tall man' and said he should go away with his crazy idea. No requirements for Welfare recipients to try to even look for a job. At least not this year. Have fun helping your favorite teachers pack their belongings. Maybe bring cookies and explain the whole evil corporation thing to them. Sorry to confuse you with the whole 'dollar saved is a like a tax dollar raised' scenario.
Capo Parent Too June 14, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Penny, I don't know, I really don't, it's what I've heard. I hate to be cynical and think that it's done to put a hardship on parents, which it is exactly that. I know it would be difficult for my family. But it is easier to tack on days on the end of the school year than to restore pay, at least in my mind. I never said it would be easier on families. None of this is easier for anyone.
shelly June 14, 2012 at 05:35 AM
yeparoo, So you think we should all have fun watching programs being cut and teachers being laid off. No, I don't think I will celebrate anyone losing a job. Our economy tanked not because of teachers or middle income workers but if it makes you feel better to blame them go ahead. All the conservative pundits do. Blame everybody else except those who caused the problem and insist that others fix it. Again with the insults. No, I am not in fifth grade. This discussion is about school funding. Even if the tax dollar is saved if it does not come to education or our district it does not do a whole lot of good for the children in school now. I understand that you feel compelled to speak down to me but that is okay if that is how you must converse. You do not know me so I do not take it personally. Kids are in school now. As a parent I am willing to contribute, pay more taxes, volunteer, do whatever to help the schools of my community. I totally get it that some on this blog feel differently but I know many who feel the same as me. I see them everyday at our children's schools helping. We feel part of a community. We come together for all of our children. We are busy raising our children in this chaos. We are concerned about what happens today, next week and next year and we will be right there stepping up.
bbq June 14, 2012 at 07:45 AM
Shelly said: "Our economy tanked not because of teachers or middle income workers..." Wow, Shelly - so now "middle income workers" are exempt from being at fault. Previously you told us that EVERYBODY was at fault for the economy "tanking" except the teachers and the kids. Thank You! Now you can see that we, "middle income workers" are not at fault, so you should have some compassion for us and not forcefully insist that we pay more in taxes. Here is an idea - CUSD/ CUEA should open a bank account where donations can be made directly by anyone and everyone who wants to contribute to the budget shortfall. Since I have heard from you and others who have posted on these boards that we who are against paying more taxes are in the minority, then I suppose the majority will contribute to the fund and the budget problem will be solved. What do you think of that?
OC Mom June 14, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Thanks SCN. I just received an email today from Trustee Palazzo (the only Trustee to respond to my email) advising me to attend and speak out at tomorrow's meeting.
Frieda Wales June 14, 2012 at 06:59 PM
They don't believe in the kids. This district cannot be helped! No new taxes. No bad teachers. No unions. No furlough days.
Frieda Wales June 14, 2012 at 07:01 PM
No bad anything! Decades of bad boards and unions have destroyed Capo Unified. The kids suffer.
Frieda Wales June 14, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Don't trust Capo Unified!
southcountynative July 21, 2013 at 09:27 PM
@ Frieda @Shelly this is an old topic - but the campus being safe - well what that girl reported was true. See she was forced to ride a bus with a child who horrifically hurt other children.. you will see that in a recent or future story. No suspension.. a child who was obviously abused and took on the abuser way - hurt tiny children. I cannot describe the incompetency of Marco staff at this moment. The failure to report - the distinct obvious abuse of a child is lawfully unacceptable.

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