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Teachers, Class Sizes Saved: Capo Passes $372-Million Budget

The fiscal year 2011-12 budget is in the black, but Capistrano Unified School District could face drastic cuts if the state Legislature is wrong about its optimistic revenue projections.

Updated at 8:20 a.m. June 30.

With budget in the black for now, class sizes next year are to remain the same, and hundreds of temporary teachers whose contracts expired in February will likely be rehired.

On the heels of the state Legislature passing a budget based on rosy revenue projections, the district's board of trustees passed its own budget Wednesday that anticipates the same kind of funding as it received in the 2010-11 school year. The new fiscal year starts Friday.

Of the , 320 are likely to be hired back, said Jodee Brentlinger, assistant superintendent of personnel services. Because of declining enrollment and some families choosing to enroll their children into , 28 will likely lose their jobs permanently.

The $372 million budget passed 4-2, with Trustees Ellen Addonizio and Sue Palazzo voting against and Trustee Lynn Hatton absent. District spokesman Marcus Walton said Hatton was on vacation.

“We can’t endure any more cuts. Otherwise, we’re not doing education any longer,” said Vice President Gary Pritchard.

But the district may have to make cuts as soon as February. The state’s budget is predicated on a growth economy but has built-in “triggers” for cuts if the revenues don’t flow. If the state comes up $2 billion short, it will start cutting school funding.

In a worst-case scenario, Capo may ultimately face making $17 million in cuts in February, said Ron Lebs, deputy superintendent of business and support services. When asked how the district could do that, Lebs said he didn’t know.

“In some way, shape or form, we would have to do that,” he told the board.

The trigger will allow school districts to shorten their school year by seven days. However, Superintendent Joseph Farley said that whether the school year is shortened is subject to negotiations with the district’s various employee groups.

“We’re taking it one semester at a time, and that’s unprecedented,” Farley said. “These are unprecedented fiscal times … I can’t even imagine cutting further than what we already have done, and it’s the same for every other district in the state.”

Lebs added that seven furlough days wouldn’t cover the cuts needed. The district would have to shorten the academic year by 12 days to achieve a $16-7 million savings.

“We’re sort of stuck here with our hands tied,” said Trustee John Alpay.

Because of declining enrollment, the district will receive less overall funding than it did this year, Lebs said. To balance things out, the 2011-12 budget dips into a deferred maintenance fund to transfer $2 million to the general fund.

Only about $400,000 will remain to handle big-ticket maintenance issues such as roof repairs, work to heating and air-conditioning units, asphalt replacement and asbestos abatement.

Addonizio said she wondered if that was enough money to “deal with our aging campuses.”

Farley replied: “It’s what we’ve lived off the last few years of this fiscal crisis.”

The board will hear an update about the budget in August.

Also on Wednesday, the board unanimously agreed to take out as much as $85 million in two short-term loans to help with cash-flow issues. Lebs explained that the source of the district’s revenues are property taxes, which are only doled out two times a year, creating problems meeting payroll.

He anticipates a $60 million in bridge financing in the fall and possibly another loan in spring.

In other board news, the board:

  • Performed an evaluation of Superintendent Joseph Farley in closed session. The board directed the staff to provide more data, but it was not disclosed what board members wanted.
  • In open session, four members of the public and one middle school principal, Carrie Bertini of in San Juan Capistrano, sang Farley’s praises.  “What a difference a year makes,” said Kim Anderson, who heads the legislative team for the Capistrano Unified Council PTSA. Since coming aboard in July, Farley has been accessible and singularly focused on students, she said.
  • Unanimously approved  in Aliso Viejo as the site for a new charter school, Community Roots Academy. The and plans to open with a kindergarten, first- and second-grade classes.
  • Named at beginning July 1. He replaces Charles Salter, who has resigned.
  • Voted 4-2 to have President Jack Brick to replace Trustee Lynn Hatton as the CUSD representative on the governing board of Capistrano-Laguna Beach Regional Occupational Program. Hatton resigned earlier in the month to avoid an "." One of Hatton's two educational-services companies has had contracts with Laguna Beach Unified School District in the last 1½ years.
Shripathi Kamath July 02, 2011 at 01:00 AM
"Before commenting I suggest doing a little research." OK go ahead, I'll wait. " If CUSD becomes insolvent is taken over by the State.... that must be repaid in the future." I take that to mean "there will be no money" "There also wrong about 7 day reduction...... whether or not the schools remain open." Is this your new conspiracy? That the teachers union is trying to wreck the union-friendly CUSD so that they can ... wait, what can they do when there is no money, and no union-friendly board to help them? If there is NO money, owing something to someone is not going to matter. Bernie Madoff owes a lot of money. The feds/State of NY/some admins have seized his assets. Guess what? People he swindled are *still* not going to see all their dimes. If our teachers in CUSD are *that* stupid to wreck the union-friendly board, and not negotiate, then we have a bigger concern. That they are educating our children. "As for using my comments, they are too logical and rational for your use" Fair enough. Can I please borrow your dictionary then, so that I may get used to the new meanings of those words? "I suggest staying with your confusing and not to witty comments." One suggestion at a time, please.
Shripathi Kamath July 02, 2011 at 01:00 AM
"SK may feel differently when his paycheck bounces. But you won't?" "No, I won't feel differently." So why do you think I might?
Shripathi Kamath July 02, 2011 at 01:10 AM
@jg, I perhaps need to apologize to cp and cm for my flippancy, but I cannot figure out what cp and cm's beef is. cp said that the board did what it could because it had no other choice. cm is concerned about my paycheck, and I do not understand how someone (read: union thugs) is going to reap some untold profits if there is no money? They discard historical evidence that Penny's article contains: that some 300 people who were let go are going to be re-hired. To me, that says that those 300 were once laid off. And I do not see why, should the situation worsen, the same or more of it is not available. Going insolvent is not in anyone's interest, not the state's, not the teachers', not the unions, not the union-friendly portion of the board, not the union-opposed portion of the board, not the students, not the parents, ... When I probe them, I get concerns raised about my paycheck, or get homework assignments to write to Jerry Brown.
Capo mom July 02, 2011 at 01:25 AM
I believe it or not -I worry about teachers' paychecks. I want the best education for students in CUSD. That means we need more good teachers in CUSD. That is my beef.
Shripathi Kamath July 02, 2011 at 01:34 AM
"I believe it or not -I worry about teachers' paychecks. I want the best education for students in CUSD. That means we need more good teachers in CUSD. That is my beef." No, that'd be your dreams and desires. Your beef would be with what is preventing that from happening. For example, your beef with wanting more good teachers in CUSD would be something like "we do not have enough money to pay the ones we have, and we need more money, and X is preventing that from happening" It would be nice if you could discuss X in this specific context. The CUSD board kicked the can down the road, and the immediate impact is we get more teachers in CUSD. We also get a risk trigger next year. Now what is it that the CUSD board should have done instead of approving the budget 4-2? They have to have a budget by law, and they passed one.
Capo mom July 02, 2011 at 03:21 AM
They have to have a budget by law, and they passed one. -Yes they did and they have demonstrated their compliance. I am sure we need good teachers but not convinced we need more money. I am willing to be persuaded. Show me how putting more money into the system will give us the best teachers.
Shripathi Kamath July 02, 2011 at 04:09 AM
"I am sure we need good teachers but not convinced we need more money. " OK, so you are not convinced. If you can elaborate why not, with evidence, perhaps it can be explored further. "I am willing to be persuaded. " I am not convinced that you are, or at least I am not convinced that I can persuade you, yet. We do not have a common basis of understanding yet to indulge in that. Besides, I have seen others make persuasive arguments, and you ignore them. That is, you ignore their arguments altogether, and change topics. I am not even sure it is worth my time yet. "Show me how putting more money into the system will give us the best teachers." I do not see why I should. I do not see you answering any of my questions on-topic, and I do not feel compelled to go off-topic to answer yours.
Capo mom July 02, 2011 at 05:15 AM
Ok fine SK, then what you are saying is that it's not worth your time (hard to believe since you post so much) and you have no answer so there is no point in discussing this with you. In that case, pass the Redenbacher's no salt or butter please.
Shripathi Kamath July 02, 2011 at 05:36 AM
"Ok fine SK, then what you are saying is that it's not worth your time (hard to believe since you post so much) and you have no answer so there is no point in discussing this with you." No, I am not saying that at all. But thank you for validating what I *was* saying.
shelly July 02, 2011 at 05:45 AM
Why wouldn't putting more money into the system help? Class sizes and numerous programs have been cut in the last few years because of less money so in order to just restore what we had before the economy collapsed due to faulty loans and irresponsible business practices and lower tax revenues we would need more money than we have now.
Capo Parent July 06, 2011 at 05:04 AM
Money isn't always the answer. Continuing to put more money into an operation and making it larger generally creates a certain amount of waste and inefficiency. Given the very tough finanical times faced by many, education, like the general public and other enterprises needs to make do with less money. Bleeding Peter to pay Paul is not the answer.
shelly July 06, 2011 at 03:31 PM
No one is saying to put more money in to make it larger. Put money in to save the existing class sizes and programs. The businesses and banks that caused the economy to fail receive tax cuts and education and our children receive less as a result. Education is the solution not the problem.
Capo Parent July 06, 2011 at 03:56 PM
Wall Street and the financial markets should have been severly punished for what happen, and should have paid dearly. I was very disappointed the Demos did not take more aggressive actions against those Wall Street and financial market players/individuals who caused or contributed to the great financial melt down and the Great Recession. These players should have been made to pay back billions if not trillions. Alas, the Demos failed us just like the Repubs before them. Given how CTA pushed AB114 through at the very end (legislators got the bill 20 mins before the vote on the bill), it is clear education in CA is controlled in large part by CTA and its affilate unions. Education in CA doesn't need more money, especially from an already overburden public. What education needs is to be radically reshaped and streamlined. Get rid of tenure, reward good teachers, get rid of mediocre and poor teachers, get rid of unnecessary layers of bureacracy, resturct special ed so that all children get the same level of funding (why should the average, normal child be discriminated against), thus getting more education dollars in the classroom without putting more money into education.
Pam Sunderman July 06, 2011 at 04:34 PM
Perhaps you can share with us what good teaching and bad teaching look like. And please don't leave out specifics that define a mediocre teacher. Making this about partisan politics is passing the buck. It is very difficult to accomplish anything at all when one side refuses to engage.
Shripathi Kamath July 06, 2011 at 04:48 PM
Oh shush, jollygirl! It is one thing that cp does not get it, but how can you not get that it is the Demos fault? Bush the Younger may have been a Republican President, but he was a RINO. Their candidate for POTUS was McCain, who supported the bailouts. He was a RINO. Their House leader Boehner cried (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5LlhM8FWpE), begging for the GOP to vote for the bailout, and he was a RINO. The Senate which has basically been filibuster happy blocking anything voted for the bailouts. Double RINOs. And the GOP today, which has blocked or opposed every single financial market regulation targeted to prevent the meltdown from happening again? RI,, wait true constitutional patriots who believe in the free market, individual responsibility and all that good stuff. It is easy to tell who is a poor teacher. Poor teachers are those that are not good teachers. Who are good teachers? Teachers who want nothing but the best for our children. What is best for our children? Having good teachers and not having bad teachers. Use common sense, and eliminate two layers of bureaucracy like it was Layer Cake --great performance by Daniel Craig in that one, but I digress.
Capo Parent July 06, 2011 at 05:34 PM
Jollygirl Leaving aside SK's lame attempt to be witty, I will give you an example of a poor/mediocre teacher. During the past school year, the teachers assigned to teach a AP statistics class announced to her class of the beginning of the school year that she hated statistics. Needless to say, the class was a disaster for most of the students who were "lucky" to be in the class. Many tutors made a small fortune trying to help students in that class stay afloat. A good or great teacher will kindle in his or her students a desire or passion to learn so that the student succeeds and achieves beyond what the students thought possible. One example of such a teacher is Robert Picazo at Tesoro.
Capo Parent July 06, 2011 at 05:43 PM
SK I suggest you leave the art of being witty and comedic to the experts. In response to the morsels of substance you did post, both the demos and the repubs bear responsibility for the financial mass we had to deal with the last several years. Of the two, I believe the repubs bear a much greater responsibility for the financial calamity mess we are in. In my opinion George W. Is one of the worst presents the United States has ever had. While George W. was president and the repubs controlled Congress they needlessly embroiled us in Iraq, failed to properly take care of Afghanistan, and where on watch while the financial calamity on Wall Street unfolded. Though many would disagree, Obama has been a marked improvement. Now, go back and each your cake. :)
Shripathi Kamath July 06, 2011 at 05:44 PM
" I will give you an example of a poor/mediocre teacher. During the past school year, the teachers assigned to teach a AP statistics class announced to her class of the beginning of the school year that she hated statistics. Needless to say, the class was a disaster for most of the students who were "lucky" to be in the class." I thought you were going to provide a measure of determining who is a poor/mediocre teacher. This is more of the Demos were responsible for the bailouts speech. Anecdotal evidence of someone's like/dislike for a subject does not constitute a measure of someone's abilities. Many adults today say "I hate math". Should that disqualify them from their jobs? From being a good parent who cares about their kids' education? OK fine. We should have an oath for teachers. If they say "I hate xxx", they are bad teachers. Is that it? PS I love the way you put "lucky" in quotes like that.
Shripathi Kamath July 06, 2011 at 05:51 PM
"I suggest you leave the art of being witty and comedic to the experts" OK, but Twain is dead and he isn't coming back, and I was not engaging in the art. Should I feel so inclined, I'll dole out fair warning. In the meantime, I'll comment as I deem fit even if it is not OK with you. "Of the two, I believe the repubs bear a much greater responsibility for the financial calamity mess we are in" It is puzzling then why you first carefully singled out only the Demos in your diatribe. "Though many would disagree, Obama has been a marked improvement." Well, count me as one of those many. He is just a polished version of Bush the Younger. A polished door knob would have been a marked improvement.
Pam Sunderman July 06, 2011 at 06:34 PM
Parent...and who reported to you that the teacher "hates statistics?" Surely you aren't suggesting that one comment taken out of context and from the viewpoint of a high school student is a valid way to judge the effectiveness of a teacher. And who doesn't hate statistics? There are many things we don't like. Perhaps the unreported part of that statement was "...but they help us to identify trends, keep track of progress, etc. Statistics are not fun for all but it is crucial to understand them." Teachers are people...there is no way to guarantee that every student will love and be inspired by every teacher. I'm a little unclear about the tie in to the economy. To me these are 2 separate issues with people who want vouchers using the economy to bash public schools. CUSD is a great district with great teachers. Parents have always been very supportive. Now a few people with an agenda are attempting to make the case that this is not true.
Shripathi Kamath July 06, 2011 at 07:24 PM
"And who doesn't hate statistics?" [raises hands, frantically waving, seeking for the teacher to notice him] Me. I love statistics. Nothing like a scientific study backed by statistical analysis. It was only through the use of statistics that Des McHale demonstrated that the average human has one breast and one testicle. "CUSD is a great district with great teachers. Parents have always been very supportive." I agree, these heated Patch discussions often belie that.
shelly July 06, 2011 at 09:23 PM
Capo Parent, How do you indentify a good teacher vs. a bad teacher. Specifically how would you measure this? Anecdotal experience is not an answer because you may think a teacher is bad and I may think a teacher is good. For example a friend told me one of my son's teachers was the bad. This teacher turned out to be one of the best teachers my son has had because according to my son she taught him how to study and be a productive student. He is a sophomore in high school and she was his 4th grade teacher yet he still says this about her because she made such an impact. This teacher is demanding and for my son she was an excellent teacher. But for my friend she was too demanding for her son. P.S. I think SK is witty and find levity in his remarks which I need because I take myself a little too serious at times. His remarks bite both ways and I may not always like them but I always find them somewhat funny and intelligent. Thank goodness for freedom of speech.
shelly July 06, 2011 at 09:38 PM
Education funding has been cut. No one is asking for more money although as technology changes you need to invest more but right now many are asking to simply maintain the funding education has had. Also, almost everything becomes more expensive as time goes by so why wouldn't education? Investing in the children of your nation is important and should be a priority and not be "streamlined". Technology changes instantly and to keep up with it we as a nation should invest in and value our children's education. And the CTA is made up of teachers who are fully invested in education. That's what they do and what they have chose as a career. To educate. Teachers are not the bad guys and they did not bring down the economy. What has happened to the funding is a result of what others did to our economy and not a result of what we pay teachers in salaries and benefits. Teachers were and are not the cause of deficits but they could help provide the answer in the citizens they educate who go out and possibly "save the world".
Pam Sunderman July 06, 2011 at 10:05 PM
I agree Shelly. One of my child's worst teachers (IMHO) was beloved by many parents. and voted teacher of the year by her peers. Her style was not a good match for my child...but my child learned to stand up for herself (respectfully) and also learned that her worth is better determined by herself than by anyone else. She was also better prepared when she had future personality conflicts. I know this teacher meant well. School prepares students for much more than college or a test. They learn interpersonal skills that are equally valid. Even a very poor teacher of my son's found her nitch in another grade level. He had a terrrible experience with her in fifth grade (as did the rest of the class) and when he got to high school...lo and behold...he found himself in her class again. I offered to intercede and he insisted that it would be fine. It was. Students will have to deal with all kinds in life. And they won't always have the best experience. Administrators and peer intervention are the people who need to oversee teachers...and union representation oversees them. It is a good system...not perfect. Nothing is.
Capo mom July 08, 2011 at 04:36 PM
"And who doesn't hate statistics? " That is an alarming statement from an educator. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/01/14/0910967107
Shripathi Kamath July 08, 2011 at 05:17 PM
Good example of the use of statistics, cm. The study indicates that if female math teachers are anxious about math, then it affects girls adversely in their math skills. But as the study indicates, it did not conduct one for male math teachers, so we do not know what impact that has. Further the study was restricted to elementary schools. So, what are we to make of this? That CUSD should hire more male teachers?
Capo mom July 08, 2011 at 07:34 PM
Well, I'll push for use of precise communication before we start in on the math. Here I posted a study (and a pretty interesting one too), not statistics. It demonstrates that female elementary teachers communicate and share their own math anxiety to girls in their class. An apropos response to jollygirl's statement, since she is or was an elementary school teacher. I am still laughing at your previous post that claims that you love statistics and "through the use of statistics that Des McHale demonstrated that the average human has one breast and one testicle." First most humans, whether they are male or female, have 2 breasts. So you are wrong in terms the basic math and basic anatomy. Second, those who don't understand statistics frequently misuse statistical terms and vocabulary to mislead; as the use of the word "average" does in your post above. (There is your problem with language again.) If you love statistics, you know what I mean. If you don't know what I mean, I'd suggest some instruction. But don't get it from jollygirl.
Shripathi Kamath July 08, 2011 at 09:12 PM
"Well, I'll push for use of precise communication before we start in on the math" If you must, please go ahead, but I understand the math. Precisely. "It demonstrates that female elementary teachers communicate and share their own math anxiety to girls in their class. An apropos response to jollygirl's statement, since she is or was an elementary school teacher." Indeed, so what are we to conclude from this? That CUSD should hire male teachers, even though we do not what anxiety in male teachers is supposed to do? "I am still laughing at your previous post that claims that you love statistics and "through the use of statistics that Des McHale demonstrated that the average human has one breast and one testicle." First most humans, whether they are male or female, have 2 breasts. So you are wrong in terms the basic math and basic anatomy." Oh, so you got the joke, and then didn't get that it was supposed to be a joke. Got it! "If you love statistics, you know what I mean. If you don't know what I mean, I'd suggest some instruction." I do love statistics, I said so myself. If I did not love statistics, why would I want instruction? But I still do not know what you mean.
OC Mom July 28, 2011 at 05:15 PM
CapoMom, That's because the Governor of Wisconsin took action and wasn't in the back pocket of the Unions. Unfortunately, we have Governor Moonbeam who only cares about Government employees, Unions and the votes he can get from those he takes care of.
southerncalimom August 10, 2011 at 04:56 AM
If a math teacher announced that they "hated math" at the beginning of a class, in my opinion they should be fired! Teach what you love and love what you teach! Learn to communicate your subject well. A good teacher is not only interested in their subject, they spend the necessary time to learn to communicate it well.

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