Local Voices: Capo Put On Notice

Capistrano Unified has been identified by the California Department of Education as being in "financial jeopardy".

Time for a game of Jeopardy.

Name a school district identified by the California Department of Education that is in "financial jeopardy".

What is Capistrano Unified?

That would be correct.

The Orange County Department of Education has recently met with our school district's Board of Trustees to discuss the severity of the district's financial situation.  The California Department of Education also notified the district it is in "financial jeopardy."  Capistrano Unified is facing a deficit of $50 million. 

The Board of Trustees has made a number of controversial financial decisions over the last two years.  Now it has a more serious one to tackle.  How will it close the gap?

Labor negotiations with the teachers' union are about to begin.  Teaching is a labor intensive business so much of the district's finances are spent on pay.  It will be impossible to close the deficit without pay cuts.

The teachers' union went on strike about two years ago over a 10 percent pay cut.  It has since been partially restored.  It waits to be seen how they will react to an even more serious situation that could result in a greater reduction in pay and layoffs.

The Governor plans to place a tax increase on the ballot.  Should it pass, the State will be in a better position to pay for the deferrals it has promised local school districts.  But are Californians willing to vote themselves a tax increase?

California already has some of the highest taxes in the nation.  Many residents within the boundaries of Capistrano Unified also pay mello roos.  Tax increases don't resonate with our local electorate.  However, the Governor's proposal and perhaps other tax proposals will be on the ballot in a statewide election.  It waits to be seen how the rest of the state will vote.

I don't envy those in the field of education.  California's anti-business climate has made our situation in the recession worse than other states and has slowed our recovery.  School districts have taken it on the chin for a number of years.

Teachers and school district support staff have been on a financial roller coaster for a number of years.  It needs to come to a stop.

Our state legislators need to focus their attention on creating a business friendly climate to restore jobs so people can pay taxes.  This would be the best gift they could give schools to meet their future needs.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Pam Sunderman March 01, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Any CUCFer,,,recovering or otherwise...would know how to spell Mr. Korpi's name. And how would anyone associated in any way with a CUSD employee have an interest in creating mayhem? Do you have a point or are you just here to insult and name call?
ChangeforCUSD March 01, 2012 at 11:08 PM
changeforcusd is not chris korpi. would be honored if it was true
ChangeforCUSD March 01, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Very adult response Sharon. Great way to model for our kids. Maybe we can put out another movie like "not as good as you think?"
Sharon Y. March 02, 2012 at 12:19 AM
I have very good reasons for stating he is not a honorable person, you are entitled to disagree. As for the movie, it was good and made me think a lot about education and the influence unions have on our children, negative influence. Capo is a good example of why union supported TT's are bad for students, what a mess those children first candidates turned out to be....
Capo mom March 02, 2012 at 04:46 AM
Liars lie. Teachers will not take "another" cut. Teachers' salaries have not declined in the OC in the last decade. This year, classroom sizes will be increasing again because of lay offs. However the remaining teachers will see their salaries rise as they have for the last several years. jollygirl, Given these facts, please provide a justification of who is the true beneficiary of public education?
Lori Walker March 02, 2012 at 05:34 AM
Jane, I did read the Fact Finder's report when it was originally presented. It was on the school district website for all to see. It is quite possible that CUEA did not want any changes while the BOT did want changes when they went in to negotiations. But the bottom line is that when the report was presented, CUEA did say they would abide by it with out reservation. The BOT wanted to make additional cuts and CUEA disagreed with that. The BOT then decided to impose and that is what caused teachers to strike. That is what I believe happened. You are entitled to your own opinion on that. As for increasing class size, that is not a CUEA decision. That is a school district and school board decision. CUEA can ask for support for teachers if class size is increased. However, CUEA is not in any position to insist class sizes be decreased and thus save teachers' jobs. Even now, it is CUSD who is requesting a waiver to increase class size (NOT CUEA). Personally, I do believe teachers will take a pay cut next year. But no one knows for sure what will happen. All we know is that our level of state financial support will be less and regardless of our own personal feelings, adjustments will have to be made. Mr. Reardon, I realize my contract states I am paid to work 185 days. However, I am not paid for vacation or holidays. And, I work far, far more that the required amount. Come visit my school in the summer. You may be surprised. I am not the only one there!
Julianna Crisalli March 02, 2012 at 07:45 AM
To all readers—there has been a lot of good conversation within the comments, but I must ask all who comment to please be respectful. This blog does not personally attack any individuals and comments should refrain from that behavior as well. Some comments have crossed a personal line. That is not necessary to get your point across.
Capo mom March 02, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Lori says "As much as we all would have preferred to keep all teachers on staff, this was simply not possible as there wasn't enough funds." You are hysterical. There is enough money to give increases to the teachers who remain. There was enough money to take back the cuts that the union agreed to. There is money when CUEA says so. And then she says "Had the teachers accepted the BOT decision, it would mean that they could lose all bargaining rights in the future. As the economy worsens, we are seeing less and less of those rights " The previous board wasn't threatening anyone's "bargaining rights". That is illegal in California. The economy has worsened for many but not for teachers. Your salary increased last year, right Lori? http://www.ocregister.com/news/school-339746-year-pay.html?appSession=37490133418929&RecordID=8310&PageID=3&PrevPageID=2&cpipage=1&CPIsortType=desc&CPIorderBy=DISTRICT&cbCurrentRecordPosition=3#article-data But it is all for the children, please!
Capo mom March 02, 2012 at 03:42 PM
You'd better look at the settlement agreement again, Lori. Because Flemming's signature is on. Here is true irony. The previous board was working to save teachers' jobs and to prevent CUSD from the disaster we are now facing. The current board is just doing as they are told by CUEA.
Sharon Y. March 02, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Change you live in a glass house, the things tou have said about Mr. Maddox have been untruthful and awful but you have the nerve to lecture me, really?
Capo mom March 02, 2012 at 04:32 PM
jollygirl do you lie because you can't help yourself or because you are a union stooge? You know the election was in 2008, the lawsuit was settled not shortly after the election but over a year later. For grins, why don't you tell us how it should have been handled? And you also know Reardon has only sued the district once, for a Brown Act issue and that he cannot benefit financially from that lawsuit. So which is it; compulsive liar or lying stooge?
Jane Lambson March 02, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Lori: The BOT wanted to make additional cuts to spread out over more teachers’ salaries instead of less over fewer teachers’ salaries. So if they cut a percentage point more than what the CUEA wanted, more teachers’ positions would have been saved. That is why I think the CUEA has established a class warfare from within. But I think at this point, we may just have to agree to disagree. Class sizes…it is negotiated in the collective bargaining agreement, but there will have to be waivers, agreed. Teachers’ pay: We can argue until the end of time what a teacher is worth. Some are teachers, surrogate parents to kids, cheerleaders at their students’ athletic events and performances, and the face of the school. Others can’t wait for 230 pm, so they can get in their cars and bail. They show up just in time for class with little preparation for the day’s activities. And until the teachers’ unions get behind merit pay and performance based incentives, it will continue to spiral into an unresolved debate. But I am going to challenge you on your “I am not paid for vacation or holidays” comment. You are paid in 10 or 12 (your choice) EQUAL installments based upon your YEARLY salary. If it were true that you don’t get paid for holidays, then your April check would be about 75% of your normal gross pay, and your December check (paid in early Jan) would be about 50% because of the holidays.
Jane Lambson March 02, 2012 at 05:41 PM
So yes, you do get paid for holidays. Moreover, you are granted 10 sick days for a ten month period, and most employers grant 7 days for a 260 day work year. In addition, you get to carry them over to the next school year. Sick days are usually a “use them or lose them” in the corporate world, and they don’t get rolled over. And while I don’t doubt that many teachers come in before the school year starts to get their classrooms ready, I will call BS if you say you are there for the entire 9 weeks of the Jul-Aug period. So let’s say you work four weeks during the summer on your own time. That roughly 21 work days added to the 185 school days. That’s 206, which is still fewer than somebody who has four weeks of vacation from a typical job (M-F, 8-5pm). I get that NOBODY wants to take a pay cut because it affects his way of life. But considering the tradeoff between all of these items listed, you still have better than a lot of people in OC and absolutely better than your RIF’ed brethren waiting to get that call saying, “We have a spot for you.” Now, how about the settlement comment? Are you ready to get off that talking point about corrupt BOT’s handing out goodies to campaign contributors?
Pam Sunderman March 02, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Since Lori is in her classroom at the moment let me come to her defense. First, capo mom, you must have missed the moderator's request to refrain from making this personal or being disrespectful. Make yor point without all the insults and condescending asides. Posting someone's personal financial info is about as personal as it gets. Which is why teachers objected to the OCR decision to do so. Now people such as yourself use this info to intimidate on blogs. Pretty appealing behavior. Second, the salary info is misleading as posted. You have no idea whether Lori taught summer school, an after school class or took on some other responsibilities of leadership which require time spent after her regular school day. Teachers get paid for that. Third, Lori is a frequent contributor to the Patch pages. She writes informative and respectful columns on how parents can support the school succes of their child. If you browse through them you will have a better idea of the caliber of person you are attacking. It would be great if you would confine your comments to your own opinions without degrading someone else. And when you address Lori, who posts under her own name, you might even consider coming out of the cave and post under your own. And, yes, before you say it, I am back in that cave as well. I used my own name until I was cyber stalked and threatened by someon you probably know.
Pam Sunderman March 02, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Correction...Appalling behavior....
Jane Lambson March 02, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Well, I guess you are implicitly conceeding that Ken is an AV resident, correct? Are you going to retract all of those other (mis)-statements: "He was not a resident of the area, he's a carpetbagger, etc?" Gotcha!
Pam Sunderman March 02, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Jane, Salary is determined by the contracted time and placement on tha salary schedule, which are both clearly defined in the contract, and it does NOT include holidays or summer. Teachers are paid equal installments as an accounting practice ( which makes it easier on both parties). I won't bother to argue the point of time spent by teachers...that has been done so many times and we will never agree. I know what Lori knows about how much time is spent. So does my family. So does my daughter, who is also a teacher...and so does her husband. I would be happy to compare jobs (and salaries) with anyone who will do it away from an anonymous blog. I believe teachers are completely worth their salaries and more. Sick days...really? Most teachers accrue them and never use them...except for those bad flu years. Some are not so lucky and use them every year...lots of exposure in the classroom until you build up immunities after about 10 years or so. If you question whether teachers are susceptible to more than most...ask a doctor. I can't speak for the private sector...but then neither can you. There is a vast variety of benefits there and I am over hearing people try to lump them all together. These are indeed tough times for everyone...including teachers.
Jane Lambson March 02, 2012 at 06:37 PM
"I can't speak for the private sector...but then neither can you." What are you talking about? I live and breathe in the private sector, and I have teacher friends, so I know about the pay structure of both. What is wrong with comparing sick days in work environments? I am merely suggesting that 10 days is more generous than 7, and teachers work only 10 months versus 12. And you can cash them out at about 75% when you retire. There are plenty of environments where it more dangerous than a classroom. I will look at the collective bargaining agreement to verify your holiday pay comment. At least I will research it; you seem just to shoot your mouth off.
Pam Sunderman March 02, 2012 at 07:06 PM
There were also parents and drive bus who embarrassed themselves. They were in the minority.
Capo mom March 02, 2012 at 07:18 PM
It is a strange world where educators claim the truth is intimidating. PS When you refer to appalling behavior, are we to assume that you are speaking of your aptitude for spelling or your lies?
Pam Sunderman March 02, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Thank you Julianna. I agree. What could be a good resource for discussion is spoiled by the distraction of personal attacks.
Pam Sunderman March 02, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Jane, I am just stating what I know to be true. I have lived the contract for many years and also know just a little about retirement. As for living the private sector...we ALL live the private sector just as we ALL live the public sector. What we do not know, and cannot speak to, are the specifics of salary, work description, value (whatever that is and however you measure it). You cannot speak for every job in the private sector. I try to limit my remarks to the specifics of CUSD since that is the issue here. I am not claiming that teaching is a more dangerous or difficult job than any other. I just speak to my experience. You can also speak to your experience...but you cannot lump the private sector into one giant entity that can be compared to teaching.
Pam Sunderman March 02, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Capo mom, Are you refusing to adhere to Julianna's request for civility? And the truth is never intimidating.
Pam Sunderman March 02, 2012 at 08:02 PM
Capo Mom, Could you post a link to that agreement. I have been unable to find it and you are so good at linking.
Jane Lambson March 02, 2012 at 09:14 PM
All jobs are not created equally, but for a typical middle management position in the private sector, an employee gets 2-5 weeks of vacation and 7 sick days. This is an average, but I have never heard of a job that gets as many as ten days of sick time for a ten month work period. I have never held a full time public sector job, but I have several teacher friends who share their compensation package info with me. I have always worked in the private sector and with the exception of way higher up management, I have never seen deviations from these benefits (vacation and sick). Should we discus the differences in retirement plans? Maybe a different time because your head will explode when you find out how much better teachers have it than most. If your opening comment is something like, "Well, teachers pay for their retirement too and they dont get to collect SS", I will crush that argument like a bug.
Jim Reardon March 02, 2012 at 09:38 PM
The argument that we "all live in the private sector" is becoming increasingly hard to swallow. While once, it was true that public sector jobs were at somewhat of a disadvantage, this situation started to change two decades ago as public sector unions gained influence. Today, the situation has so completely reversed that we live in a two class society. A good private sector job for a professional engineer or middle manager with 4-6 years of college in a responsible position with 5 to 7 years of experience looks like: - $85,000 per year (salary, exempt from overtime provisions) - bonus based on performance, generally not to exceed 15% of base - 10 days paid vacation until 5 years, 15 days thereafter (rarely 20 after 10 years) - 5 sick days annually (not usable for any other purpose) - medical for employee only (dependents are covered at employee cost) - full-time status is 2080 hours / year - 401K (employee contributions are matched at 20 to 50 percent up to 6 percent of salary by employer) - pension: none, except Social Security - seniority status: none - tenure: none - sabbatical leave: none - education reimbursement: limited to $5000 per year (but no time off), or none - life insurance: $25,000 - $50,000 - disability: rare - dental: very basic, if at all - maternity leave: by statute - paid holidays: 9 per year Since late 2007, there has been downward pressure on this compensation each year and this pressure continues to this day.
Jane Lambson March 02, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Jim: Very accurate. I would tinker with Sick Days - Usually 6 or 7 401K - Your figures are probably high at this point because many employers have curtailed or slashed this benefit to save money. I have seen as high as 80% up to 6% but the contribution was matched with only company stock. Other than that, very well laid out.
Pam Sunderman March 02, 2012 at 11:44 PM
You guys go right on tinkering with statistics and pitting people against each other. My point is that it is disingenuous to compare all private sector jobs with teaching. There is no average private sector job (sorry to disagree Mr. Reardon...but really!!!). And why do you find it necessary to compare them anyway. Teachers have had the same (or similar) benefits for decades. They have also been considered a low paying profession historically. Please search news archives for as few as 5 or 6 years ago and you will find nothing about greedy teachers and lots about paying our teachers more. I see this as a well orchestrated campaign to vilify teachers because their union is a powerful opposition to the lobbyists of wealthy individuals and corporations. If you buy into this then so be it. But you will not personally benefit from the devastation of the teaching profession. Actually your children and grandchildren will suffer. Teachers are suffering the same downsizing and pay cuts as the rest of the country. The difference is that they are vilified in the process. Ridiculous...
Sharon Y. March 03, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Oh Jolly....teachers in Capo are not suffering with pay cuts or benefit cuts. Acording to the OCR capo teachers saw an increase, and patch wrote a story not long ago about the district covering cost increases to benefits , the only one who suffers in cusd in the student.
Capo Parent Too March 03, 2012 at 07:22 AM
I've never had an employer have a use them or lose them sick days, so it depends on the employer. You lose them when you leave your jobs, school employees get paid for sick days when they leave, that is the difference you are thinking of, but employers let you carry sick days over from year to year. The thing that bothers me is that we've allowed the private sector to chip away at benefits in the name of profits and so because unionized workers have it better then there is something wrong. This is backwards, we should be asking why has it gotten so bad in the private sector, where have the longer vacations gone, where have the pensions gone? The teachers will have to take a pay cut, but the district budget has been cut year over year, the reason teacher's salaries are such a big percentage of the budget is because of the fact that so much has been cut in prior years. This is a travesty that our schools are taking such a hit and a shame but it shouldn't be about pitting teacher's against parents, teacher's against the board, etc. This has to be figured out in a cooperative manner.


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