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Tentative Contract with Teachers Means Shorter School Year, Larger Classes

The deal was struck Tuesday, and the trustees signed off Friday.

Representatives from the teachers’ union and the have come to a tentative agreement on a contract for next year, which will result in and a .

The two sides met Tuesday, and according to an email obtained by Patch from Capistrano Unified Education Association President Vicki Soderberg, an agreement was struck. She called an emergency meeting of teachers’ union reps from the various schools for Thursday afternoon.

Then on Friday, the CUSD Board of Trustees met for a special mid-day meeting to discuss negotiations with the teachers’ union. They met for five minutes in closed session, and President Gary Pritchard announced that the trustees “gave direction to staff.”

However, a source close to the negotiations said the trustees did indeed vote on the tentative contract, which calls for, among other things:

  • An increase of 1.5 students on average per class at all grade levels
  • The continuation of a 1.2 percent salary cut already in place
  • The continuation of three unpaid furlough days already in place
  • Five additional unpaid furlough days, to be lopped off at the end of the year
  • A freeze on regular salary step-and-column increases for six months

In addition, if doesn’t pass in November, forcing the district to cut another $18 million, the district will:

  • Cut another 10 days off the academic calendar (unpaid), to be set for the end of the school year
  • Reduce teacher pay by 1.5 percent

However, that pay cut is not set in stone. According to the tentative agreement, shortly after the November election, the two parties will meet again to discuss whether there are ways to avoid the 1.5 percent cut if the temporary taxes don't receive voter approval.

“If no alternative(s) are agreed to on or before Jan. 1, 2013, then the 1.5 percent salary decrease shall continue to be implemented,” according to the tentative contract’s language.

Representatives from CUEA and the school district were not available for comment.

The contract must be ratified by the full membership of the teachers’ union, and then be incorporated into the 2012-13 budget, which is scheduled for trustee approval on June 27.

The district has released few details about the negotiations, other than the , this year. In 2010, the year the teachers went on strike to protest a permanent 10.1 percent cut, the school board’s president, Anna Bryson, was regularly quoted in the local media, and information about the two sides’ goals was widely disseminated.

Asked why the district has released few details this year, Bryson said: “This year CUSD has a different superintendent, board president and board majority.”

The tentative contract also makes other changes, including more "no-tell" personal days off, from three to five of the 10 sick days allowed. In addition, the district has agreed to develop ways to eliminate unnecessary paperwork and streamline duties.

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Yeparoo June 21, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Selfish - Will need magic wand to make $120m debt and Taj Mahal go away. Not sure which one would be easier. Maybe sell the building and split up the debt in 'doggie' bags. At the end of the day, I don't know this idea solves anything. Maybe better to go with ideas like 4 day school week or apply for status as a Basic Aid district. Very sad teachers are being let go. That should have been the last thing done. Retirements could have accommodated the small drop in enrollment.
Yeparoo June 21, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Also, if the district were to create a magnet school program for high achievers, they could probably pull back some students that decide to go to private schools. I think that alone would put the district on a path to focusing the entire system higher academic achievement. Need to purge the lemons too.
CUSD Parents Are Selfish @55h0|35 June 21, 2012 at 02:04 AM
@southcountynative That must be some private school.
Capo Parent June 21, 2012 at 04:22 AM
Selfish Why do you arrogantly assume that if there were vouchers parents would automatically put them in public school? Public schools that are well run and provide an excellent learning experience would excel even with vouchers.
Capo Parent June 21, 2012 at 04:30 AM
Selfish Interesting. I have posted for years that CUSD is too large and cumberson. I do find your proposed district of Coto, Ladera, Los Flores & RSM to be, shall I say, "selfish." You are proposing a district with high to very high income earners. I assume that is why you state such a district would be completely self-sufficient, not requiring any state funding. Since most education funding is funded through the state, I don't see how your proposed district could survive without state funding.
Jim Reardon June 21, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Aside from the "collective bargaining", what is the difference between disbanding CUSD and encouraging charter schools? Assuming that a charter school were to allow collective bargaining by teachers, would knee-jerk bloggers oppose the formation of such schools? Is smaller better, or just better managed? What can be done about management without tearing CUSD apart?
bbq June 21, 2012 at 05:01 AM
Selfish, I am no math whiz, so please explain to me how the $$$ would be saved in smaller districts. Since the state funds the districts, wouldn't the amount funded be the same? Wouldn't there be more administrative positions added since there would be additional districts?
CUSD Parents Are Selfish @55h0|35 June 21, 2012 at 05:11 AM
@capo parent The district of which I dream (Coto, Ladera, Las Flores, RMV) is admittedly totally selfish. For the same reasons we originally moved into this district, that new district would provide the kind of educational opportunities I want for my kids. Most school districts in the state require state funding because their taxes don't fully cover the cost, but a few districts are able to pay the full tab from property tax revenue alone. These "basic aid" districts, like Laguna Beach, are not funded by the state. @ Jim Reardon Disbanding CUSD has nothing to do with charter schools. The new districts would likely have the same unions to deal with and many of the same issues. However, because the district I described above would be self-sufficient the adversarial relationships between the board, parents, the union, & interlopers would be all but erased. The school district as a team rather than rival teams. Take a look at some of the basic aid districts around the state and you'll find much less in-fighting. Maybe it's because those districts are smaller or maybe it's because they are in control of their districts. A better question might be "why keep CUSD together?"
CUSD Parents Are Selfish @55h0|35 June 21, 2012 at 05:21 AM
@bbq You don't need to be a math whiz. If our district could cover its costs with property taxes from the communities in CUSD we wouldn't need funding from the state. Districts that do that are called "basic aid" districts and there are more than a few in the CA. Unfortunately, that isn't possible with our HUGE district. But breaking up CUSD could make that possible for at least some of the towns in the district. All towns would end up in one district or another and at worst they'd be in roughly the same situation as today. Some, however, could thrive in a way that's not possible with CUSD. It would be better if everyone could benefit from such a situation, but that's clearly not possible.
Yeparoo June 21, 2012 at 05:37 AM
" So, sit back and enjoy the slow change." The last time I heard something like this was Clayton Williams' 1990 analogy to bad weather.
Yeparoo June 21, 2012 at 05:52 AM
@ Selfish - Please contact Sen Walters and Asm Harkey and let them know about your break away plan for a Basic Aid district. Also, while you're talking to them, request that OC and SD counties break away from CA and form new state. Together these two counties would be the 21st largest state between Maryland and Wisconsin. With all due respect, I am really surprised that Basic Aid District funding is still allowed in CA given the preference for 'equal' funding and the State's hunger for money. If you are serious, you might want to research Carlsbad to see what they did that helped them convert to a Basic Aid district a few years ago.
CUSD Parents Are Selfish @55h0|35 June 21, 2012 at 01:48 PM
@yeparoo Big problems need big solutions. Small thinking, band aids, and shuffling chairs won't resolve our issues. You, however, may be onto something. Let's ridicule that which we don't understand and if we can do it long enough our kids will be out of the school system. Problem solved.
bbq June 21, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Selfish, Breaking up the district could be the answer provided that the state funds that would be saved on the new basic districts be transferred to the remaining new districts that need it. The costs of all the additional administrators would have to be looked at as well to be sure it is cost effective.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) June 21, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Breaking up the district would create more haves and have-nots. Some areas could become basic-aid-type districts, but others would not. So the problems still exist if you live in San Clemente or San Juan Capistrano and probably Dana Point.
bbq June 21, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Penny, That's why I said the state funds that normally would be allocated to the new basic districts would have to be given to the other districts such as SJ, SC, DP (in addition to what they receive now). In other words, that would mean more $$$ per student for SJ, etc. than they are receiving now. It's doubtful, though, that the state would do the right thing.
CUSD Parents Are Selfish @55h0|35 June 21, 2012 at 09:17 PM
@Penny For now all CUSD town are have-nots, so if basic aid districts raise some of us to be haves what's bad about that? It won't make life in SC, SJC, or DP any worse, but it might make life in other towns better. And wouldn't these towns be better served if they had school boards that more accurately and directly reflected their communities? I cannot imagine a board less reflective of my community than the current board. Wouldn't every other taxpayer in the district be better served if people from EACH of our communities were actually on our school board?
bbq June 21, 2012 at 09:28 PM
Selfish, Only IF the "have-nots" get the extra money that the "haves" previously received from the state (in addition to what they currently get).
CUSD Parents Are Selfish @55h0|35 June 21, 2012 at 09:46 PM
@bbq I'm not sure I understand your "only if..." comment. The new (non-basic aid) districts would get what what they are entitled to based on state guidelines, just as we do today.
Yeparoo June 21, 2012 at 10:09 PM
So Penny, why would Saddleback College be considered a "Basic Aid" District and not CUSD (or SVUSD)? Seems to me the districts share roughly the same geography. I am not sure how IVC fits into the district area, but seems odd to me Saddleback College is and CUSD isn't. Has CUSD ever asked about becoming a "Basic Aid" district? When was the last time a request was made, if ever? Is it time to attempt to gain that status again? Should CUSD attempt every year to gain this status? Does the board need to ask CTA's permission to try? Lariat > News Basic aid funds sustain SOCCCD Funding from local property tax is the only thing standing between the SOCCCD and program cuts By Jason Chung Published: Monday, May 7, 2012 Updated: Thursday, May 10, 2012 23:05 http://www.lariatnews.com/news/basic-aid-funds-sustain-socccd-1.2739146#.T-OXt44vQtY
Penny Arévalo (Editor) June 21, 2012 at 11:17 PM
Not opining, Selfish, just providing facts for people to discuss. :-)
Penny Arévalo (Editor) June 21, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Missed this earlier, Selfish <<Were you there for detention? What a wonderful, short-sighted, thoughtless, not-fixing-the-problem mantra you chant.>> Now you've been warned, too. Just wanted it on the record, because you have turned away from the insults. Please don't go back. Thanks.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) June 21, 2012 at 11:19 PM
I don't cover community college districts, but I don't believe their funding is the same as K-12. I'm sure there are many nuances to the answer, but I don't know what they are.
bbq June 21, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Selfish, What I am saying is this - you said that the RSM, Coto, etc. district would be self sustaining and not require any funds from the state, right? What I am saying is that I think that would be a good idea if, and only if, the state $$$ that previously were spent on the RSM, Coto, etc. students/ schools were then transferred as additional funds to the "have not" schools. Currently CUSD is underfunded by $1600 per child, so IF the state gave extra funds to the "have nots," then the "have nots' would be on a level playing field, yes?
CUSD Parents Are Selfish @55h0|35 June 22, 2012 at 08:12 PM
@Capo Parent I can honestly say I have no idea what you're talking about. You wrote "Why do you arrogantly assume that if there were vouchers parents would automatically put them in public school? Public schools that are well run and provide an excellent learning experience would excel even with vouchers." When did I arrogantly assume, with vouchers, parents would choose public schools? I think, but am not sure, that you meant private schools. The very point of vouchers is to take money out of the public school funding system to allow parents to use that money for PRIVATE schools. That's not arrogance, that's a fact. Now of course not all people would try to put their kids in private schools, but some would and that would further damage the public school funding system. As for "Public schools that are well run and provide an excellent learning experience", these will become fewer and fewer as vouchers drain their funding as well. I think this is just reasonable thinking, but if I'm wrong and this is arrogance, then please forgive me.
Teacher June 28, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Oh boy! The flames that get fanned with erroneous information!! Quite a number of uneducated busy-bodies that have nothing to do but complain. #1 - There is no more more days negotiated for sick or personal time - only one either/or per month. #2 - the anti-public education terrorists that float these sites do so to intentionally inflame for their own benefit, which in the end is about adult convenience and personal profit - not student education. Those that are in between and don't know all the facts, try and find out what it takes to educate 50,000 kids in a school district. and then find the financial backers of those whose goal is to "change" public education and discover what they're real goal is. It isn't about education.
bbq June 28, 2012 at 06:31 AM
Teacher, Good Lord, I hope you are not an English teacher!
Amy Bentley July 10, 2012 at 03:59 PM
Southcountynative- actually I agree with 99 percent of what you say. I work (at home) and pay huge state and federal taxes as well as a person who is self-employed and married in the state of CA (freelance writer and full-time work-at-home-mom with no caregivers or babysitters). I agree we shouldn't pay higher taxes, etc. all of that. I will not give Sacramento one more dollar of my hard-earned paycheck either. Giving money to the state is like tossing it into a black hole. I may (or may not, it depends) support local school bonds, etc. where the $$ goes to my school district and helps my kid, not someone somewhere else. My point was yes, we pay taxes and that should support our schools (in theory) but they don't anymore. Too many people taking from the government and not enough people paying for everything. PTA jog-a-thon funds go right to your school so I feel they are worth supporting. If you don't want to give, don't. No problem. Advocate in some other way, as you do. I pick (carefully) what to give my $$ to. Smaller, local, community charities and causes are often better choices than the large ones which funnel your $$ elsewhere. It's no biggie if you don't like school fundraisers, just please don't pound on those who do give. Maybe that's their way of helping. That's all :)
Silence Dogood July 10, 2012 at 05:40 PM
I know this doesn't work in the "facts don't matter" world of the right wing, but you all pay a far lower percentage of your income in taxes today than EVER before. I understand why you complain, but it's not based in reality.
Silence Dogood July 10, 2012 at 06:42 PM
I would love to see your analysis of what I said. The tax rate for EVERY level of income is at historic lows, so while you may be paying more it would only be because you are making more, not because tax rates are higher, because they're not. You may not like facts, but the fact is EVERYONE in EVERY bracket is paying a lower percentage. ---------------------------------- "You’re entitled to your own opinions. You’re not entitled to your own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan "Facts are stupid things." - Ronald Reagan
Silence Dogood July 11, 2012 at 04:41 AM
@southcountynative I think you're right. I can't complain that the other side ignores facts and then do the same thing myself. Some taxes are higher. Although it was not my intention to imply ALL taxes were lower (I was talking about federal income taxes), I wasn't clear enough. When all things are considered, federal tax, state income tax, registration fees, other state taxes, etc., I would still venture that, upon actual analysis, our overall tax burden is lower now than ever. California has high income tax rates, but raising the state income tax rate a point or two is nothing compared to what you pay in federal income tax. Car registration fees of hundreds of dollars would hardly offset the decreases in personal federal income taxes. Personal quote: "What time should I come over to review your taxes?"

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