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The Task of Slashing the School Budget Begins Tonight

The Capistrano Unified School District's Board of Trustees will consider starting the process to layoff 399 teachers, increase class sizes and cut salaries.

The process of cutting $50 million from the begins tonight, with six items designed as money-savers, including increasing classroom sizes for kindergarten-third grades and reopening negotiations with the unions.

In addition, the Board of Trustees will consider taking out another multimillion-dollar, short-term loan to keep the district solvent while it waits for money slated to be spent this year arrives next fiscal year.

The district anticipates – and that’s only if the in sales taxes and high-come wage earners.

Voters will go to the polls to decide that in November, but school districts must pass their 2012-13 budget by June 30. To budget for the worst-case scenario, Capo Unified must find $48 million in cuts from a budget that is already “over 90 percent personnel,” according to staff reports.

“Therefore, the district must continue to consider every option to ensure it develops and adopts a balanced budget by June 30,” the agenda reads.


The trustees will consider asking the state for a waiver so that the district may increase class sizes beyond what state law allows. The proposal is to add two more students to kindergarten classes, taking the numbers from 31- to 33 students, and one more student in first-third, from 30 to 31.

With class-size increases comes fewer teachers, and the trustees will consider a “precautionary” item to reduce the number of teachers by 399.

“With personnel costs now exceeding 90 percent of the district’s total budget, the district must consider all options available in an effort to provide maximum flexibility during the budget development process,” states the trustees’ agenda. “This includes preparing for the worst-case scenario.”

Last year, the . However, funding stayed flat this year, so the district did not make the changes.


The district is proposing to reopen negotiations with the teachers’ union, Capistrano Unified Education Association, the non-teaching employees union, California School Employees Association and the Teamsters.

“The district is submitting its proposal so that the 2012-13 negotiations can be addressed within the context of current district and state economic challenges,” the agenda items read.

The resolution the trustees will consider say the district wants to discuss the length of work year, salary reductions and benefit reductions.


The board will also consider taking out a new short-term loan, borrowing from the county $12.66 million, to be paid back in increments crossing fiscal years, by October at the latest, according to the agenda.

The county is offering the financing after it , saying the state would make them whole. Capistrano Unified bore the brunt of decision with nearly $19 million put on hold. 

The in a financial vehicle called Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes (or TRANs), which pools together many school districts to seek out more favorable terms, to cross fiscal years.

With the county’s offer, however, that loan was reduced to $12.5 million, said Marcus Walton, CUSD communications manager. So between the two loans, the district is borrowing about $25 million to cover shortfalls from this school year that the state will plug next school year.

The district’s TRAN was sold Feb. 23, Walton said.

The district already took out a $75-million TRAN loan this year, which will be paid back in full by May, school officials have said, leaving the district in a financial lurch by June if the trustees do not approve the short-term loans.

The board meets at 7 tonight at the district's headquarters, 33122 Valle Road in San Juan Capistrano.

cusd mom March 06, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Leana, Please let me know where in the private sector, people are getting raises. My husband and I are dying to know so we can apply.....lol. Please let me know where we can get insurance for next to nothing as well..... Impoverished areas??? In CUSD? Are you kidding? Have you been so San Juan or parts of San Clemente? Or are you locked away in your sterile gated community somewhere in south county....
Capo mom March 06, 2012 at 06:24 PM
And in the interest of accuracy, I think the correct name for the method of comparison being used is actually simile, not analogy. ; ) But if the shoe fits, by all means .....
Capo mom March 06, 2012 at 09:52 PM
LeAna, 60% of CUSD high schools are under a gang injunction. And it's not iPhone vs Droid, Beemer vs MBZ or Rolex vs Patek Philippe. Pull your head out of your ..... neighborhood.
LeAna Bui March 06, 2012 at 10:26 PM
I shoudl have known - get in the gutter with the rats and you're gonna get a disease. I never should have engaged CUSD Mom and I regret it. Unfortunately, CUSD Mom, you have failed to answer one constructive question. You are exactly what is wrong with our school system. I'm not sure you know what an "impoverished area" is. Yes, we have areas of CUSD where there are poor communities. However, if you want to see an impoverished area, try getting out of OC and seeing the real world. I can promise you - the poorest areas of OC do not compare to the poorest areas of Riverside or San Bernardino counties. By the way, you might be able to get a raise if you actually worked at your job. Both my husband and I have had raises 4 of the last 5 years and bonuses as well. Wonder what you're doing wrong???
LeAna Bui March 06, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Hi Penny: Unfortunately, while the number of comments may help your website, the quality of the discussion is nil. It is rather disappointing. I honestly believe you would increase the quality of the discussion if people were required to blog under their real names. I wish the Patch would consider such a requirement........
Penny Arévalo (Editor) March 06, 2012 at 10:37 PM
I don't disagree with you about requiring people to comment under their real name. Patch is a nationwide operation owned by AOL. I do not have the power to change the rules (although I can put it in the electronic suggestion box). However, LeAnna, I have to caution you: "By the way, you might be able to get a raise if you actually worked at your job. Both my husband and I have had raises 4 of the last 5 years and bonuses as well. Wonder what you're doing wrong???" This is the kind of discourse that I've been actively steering people away from. Focus on the subject. Not each other.
LeAna Bui March 06, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Penny: I completely agree with you as my other post states. As I said, I regret engaging CUSD Mom and I won't be doing so any further. you can remove my post if that helps to improve this discussion, however, I doubt it will. Good luck.
Pam Sunderman March 07, 2012 at 12:45 AM
Penny, I find it interesting that you specifically single out LeAna and quote her comment when I have never seen you be that specific with any of the other posters. Her remark seems less insulting than crackhead remarks.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) March 07, 2012 at 12:53 AM
JG, Sorry you're having a tough time with the policy. We don't allow individuals who are not public figures to be singled out for attack. It's not about the level of offense (people choose to be offended at different rates). It happens to be the target. Maligning a profession, though distasteful to you and many, is connected to the topic. It stands. Singling out an individual for ridicule is not allowed at all. The comment remains because CUSD mom is OK with it. She'll be chiming in soon with her own take on it. LeAna's comments are getting very close to the Patch line, and all of the readers need to know it. Others are so far past the line, I take them out immediately. Had CUSD mom felt greatly offended, I would have just deleted it, as I have other comments that were clearly out of line. For the record, as of Feb. 20 (when I returned from training as an official Patch employee), I do take screen shots of comments I delete.
Pam Sunderman March 07, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Actually I would appreciate it if you would stick to the policy for all commenters. Some posters are frequently belittling to others and not a word is said. LeAna responded in kind to capo mom about getting a raise. Why not admonish them both? What a shame that a lack of self restraint is ruining this forum. It could be an opportunity for constructive discourse.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) March 07, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Capo mom has been admonished (and has had comments deleted). CUSD mom has allowed the comment to remain to serve as an example. That's enough of about speech policing, a role I don't relish. I'm pretty close to a First Amendment absolutist, personally. Basically, stick to the subject at hand and don't target other respondents here. That's the last word here.
Capo mom March 07, 2012 at 02:13 AM
I have never discussed my salary status on Patch or in any public forum, except to say that I have one. The only salaries that are relevant to CUSD budget issues are those of CUSD employees.
RSM Dad March 07, 2012 at 02:42 AM
The unionistas really need to quit whining. They can't dispute the facts, they can't dispute the budget deficit, and you can't dispute where the cuts are gonna come from. But start at the top of the union tree and lay them off first. Seems fair to me.
LeAna Bui March 07, 2012 at 03:43 AM
And, again, RSM Dad, you fail to answer a single question. Just deragatory comments about others. If we get rid of Vicki Soderberg, who then heads the union? Are you suggestion nobody?
Capo mom March 07, 2012 at 05:39 AM
RSM Dad, How does it go? If the facts support you, pound the facts. If the facts aren't on your side, pound the law. If neither support your argument, pound the table. Vicky Soderberg is an idiot,no doubt. But getting rid of her won't kill the snake,she'll just be replaced with someone similar. The problem is the lack of institutional accountability from top to bottom.
shelly March 07, 2012 at 05:45 AM
RSM Dad, What are the facts that "they can't dispute". The fact that we do not pay enough to cover our children's education so that it will be slashed. The fact that people whine over the thought of pitching in to help and throw our teachers under the bus because it is easy to blame the workers. The fact that several on this blog expect others to do what they are not willing to do themselves which is help instead of blame others and expect others to pay to save education. We all caused this budget deficit. We all caused the economy to tank. It was not the teachers fault but ours, the public and corporations and banks. I doubt generations before us would sit back and whined at and blamed the people who actually do the work. They would have pulled together and pitched in.
cusd mom March 07, 2012 at 07:51 AM
Just for the record, Penny, I was offended by LeAna's comments, but I felt it was important that they remain to demonstrate the unfortunate elitist attitude of some of the people living in this district. It is difficult for them to really understand the financial hardships many have had to endure. They remain oblivious to the fact that in some of the nicest areas of our community (Ladera Ranch, Coto, Talega) there are a very high number of short sales and foreclosures, as well as people living way beyond their means. The Orange County Board of Education reports that over 3000 students in CUSD are considered homeless. We are in a financial crisis no doubt and there is no way people are going to step up and pitch in to the tune of 30 million dollars for this district. (Sorry Shelly) That does not make me a "teacher hater." I am just dealing with reality.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) March 07, 2012 at 08:04 AM
CUSD mom, by OK with it, I meant OK with it standing. You directed me to leave it, and i have. But thanks for bringing the conversation back to the topic, and I'm hopeful we've left the personal attacks behind!
shelly March 08, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Penny, so you police the commets? I am not a public employee and have never complained about the insults. Here is one from CUSD mom. Oh, by the way, I work all the time. I am a mom. cusd mom 9:20 am on Wednesday, November 2, 2011 "I strongly suspect the majority of rational people in this state do not think like Shelly. This state is becoming a welfare supporter of retired state employees and it will only get worse before it gets better. Shelly, I would strongly suggest you get yourself a job because I strongly suspect you haven't worked in years. You need to see the way things are out here." .
Penny Arévalo (Editor) March 08, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Unfortunately yes. Wish you could all stick to the rules. Reprinting: We understand that everyone has different opinions, but Patch will make the sole determination as to whether Content is acceptable for the Service. (Someone has to be in charge, right?) Without limitation, you agree that you will not post or transmit to other users anything that contains Content that: is defamatory, abusive, obscene, profane or offensive; infringes or violates another party's intellectual property rights (such as music, videos, photos or other materials for which you do not have written authority from the owner of such materials to post on the Service); violates any party’s right of publicity or right of privacy; is threatening, harassing or that promotes racism, bigotry, hatred or physical harm of any kind against any group or individual; promotes or encourages violence; is inaccurate, false or misleading in any way; is illegal or promotes any illegal activities; promotes illegal or unauthorized copying of another person's copyrighted work or links to them or providing information to circumvent security measures;
Penny Arévalo (Editor) March 08, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Continuing the rules: contains “masked” profanity (e.g., F@&#) contains software viruses or any other computer code, files or programs designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer software or hardware or telecommunications equipment; or contains any advertising, promotional materials, "junk mail," "spam," "chain letters," "pyramid schemes," or any other form of solicitation. Instead of trying to memorize all that, you might boil it down to three main policies: “Keep it clean,” “Don’t try to trick people,” and “Treat others as you’d like to be treated.” Easy, right?
Penny Arévalo (Editor) March 08, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Shelly, as I've said somewhere here, people choose to be offended at different rates. Someone has to be a final arbiter. I consider the libel training I have had. Suggesting that people don't think like you and that you should get a job, while perhaps not nice, isn't anything coming close to making an accusation about your character. Now if only I had a dime for all the times I had to tell everyone to discuss the topic at hand and not each other, and then I could spend more time reporting! :-)
shelly March 08, 2012 at 02:47 PM
cusd mom March 08, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Shelly, Sorry I insulted you back in November. However, it is extremely obvious that your not being in the workforce has made you idealistic about the way things are in our district. You should feel extremely grateful that your husband has a good job and you have escaped the economic reality that has hit several of us. You have constantly hinted in your posts that because we are in south orange county, we all have money to burn and can easily open our wallets to fix this 30-50 million dollar problem. That is not going to happen when many of us are struggling to keep our heads above water, and yes that does include the teachers. Again, I am not anti-teacher, but unfortunately, they cannot escape the cuts that are coming.
LeAna Bui March 08, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Unfortunately, Penny, now you've painted yourself into a corner. According to you, you are the sole arbiter, yet CUSD Mom was given the final word on keeping my "offensive" post up. In one case, you allowed the offended person to decide, in others you decided regardless of how many were offended. Since it now has been shown that CUSD Mom has made comments very much like mine, it seems she has been as offensive as I have (Thank you, Shelly for posting that!). The only difference between CUSD Mom and me is that I don't hide behind a screen name. Everyone knows who I am. And I continue to stand by my comments and not remove them. People like CUSD Mom, Capo Mom, RSM Dad all come onto this discussions, make their deragory comments, but fail to engage in any meaningful discussion. I've agreed with them about certain aspects of the union and yet they still refuse to engage in meaningful discussion. That is the primary problem.
Pam Sunderman March 08, 2012 at 05:47 PM
I see no mention of a policy permitting the maligning of a group. Using the analogy (or simile) of crackhead to describe teachers is certainly offensive...so perhaps cusd mom could refrain from that one in the interests of civil discourse. And disclosing the salary of someone could certainly come under Violating her right of privacy (and yes I am well aware of the fact that teachers salaries are public record...although the method used by the OCR is far from accurate). What else will you allow people to post from their trips through google land. I am in full support of civil and respectful comments. I believe this forum has been hijacked by people who have no interest in the opinions of others...or even in listening to someone who disagrees with them.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) March 08, 2012 at 06:42 PM
LeAna, I most certainly have not backed myself in the corner. We've already gone over this here and on the phone. Your comment came dangerously close to the line. Therefore, I did consult with CUSD mom, but I have the final say. The comments against Shelly don't even come close. Comments clearly over the line get deleted as soon as possible. JG, I've already discussed this as well. When in doubt, I fall back on my training in libel law. You cannot libel a group. There are no class-action defamation lawsuits. I police personal attacks. As editor, I am given some discretion, just as you probably had some discretion in how you ran your classroom (within certain parameters). Publicly discussing public employee salaries is fair game. I have no comment about the OC Register. Guys, I'm going to put on my "teacher" or "mom" voice and say, if you can't discuss the actual subject, then I'll have to close this thread down. We've beaten the comments-about-comments theme to death. At best, CUSD has cut $30 million. Discuss that, please.
Pam Sunderman March 08, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Penny, you posted the guidelines. And now you object to my comments on them. By all means take your ball and go home. It is my ultimate responsibility whether I subject myself to insults when I post here. But why have guidelines if you get to choose which ones you follow? Please note that only a few people are willing to subject themselves to the abuse they receive on your boards when the subject of CUSD comes up. Perhaps LeAna is right. Requiring people to post under their real names has certainly cut down on the vitriol at the OCR.
Pam Sunderman March 08, 2012 at 07:23 PM
CUSD mom, teachers are well aware they cannot escape the cuts (both past and future). They are in those overcrowded classrooms every day and see how their ability to meet the needs of each student are getting harder and harder. They see the cuts to programs. They pay the same taxes as everyone else and the same high prices for gas and commodities. They do not exist in a vacuum and they hear and read every how they are considered to be privileged and greedy and entitled...simply because their paycheck comes from a public entity. They are willing to do their part and they have been doing so. It's really time to step back and look for solutions rather scapegoats
Penny Arévalo (Editor) March 08, 2012 at 08:31 PM
JG, I don't believe I've taken issue with anything you've said here. Not sure where you got that. But, for the third time in this thread, offense is often in the eye of the beholder. I look at, according to Patch policy, content that "defamatory, abusive, obscene, profane or offensive." Offense is a sliding scale with a moving line. LeAna got too close to that line, which she readily admits. Capo mom did not in her November comments to Shelly. Because of the subjectivity of offense, I also look at for the defamatory, abusive, obscene and profane. Saying teachers are like (simile!) crackheads (or teachers are the crackheads of school finance -- analogy) is colorful language that may offend some, but is not defamatory, profane, obscene or abusive. I'm confident any court in the nation would back me up on that, especially given the context of political speech. JG, I hope you don't pick up your ball and go home. You're usually one of the few people who do stay on topic, and you are cordial. Because we have exhausted the rules here, at least I can refer people back to this thread when they have questions about why I allow some comments to remain and occasionally delete others.


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