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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: CUSD Responds

Capo Unified spokesman Marcus Walton seeks to clarify a previous letter-to-the-editor's points.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Edited to correct the number of teaching days lost because of budget cuts from one to three in Claim No. 5. 

There are a few facts that need to be clarified in Mrs. Dawn Urbanek’s . While we appreciate Mrs. Urbanek’s willingness to clarify some of her key claims, there is still a responsibility to ensure that our community receives accurate data.

Claim 1: CUSD faces fiscal insolvency for the current school year

Capistrano Unified passed a budget for the 2011-12 school year that meets its financial obligations. On March 12, the Board of Trustees certified its second interim report for 2011-12, which indicates the district has sufficient funds to meet its obligations for the current fiscal year and to maintain the required minimum 2 percent reserve. (Exhibit 1)

Claim 2: District staff suggests student body groups pay for “core programs.”

District staff plans to work with student body groups to determine if they can support some of the costs for extracurricular activities, not for core academic programs.

Claim 3: Superintendent Joe Farley received a $7,000 raise in 2011-12.

Dr. Farley’s salary has not increased since he became superintendent in July 2010.

Claim 4: Capistrano Unified teachers receive Kaiser Permanente health insurance coverage completely free and only pay 5 percent for Cadillac health plans with the district picking up 95 percent of those costs.

The district negotiated health benefit caps, and, as of January 2011, all employees pay a larger share of their health benefits. (Page 47)

Claim 5: The district only teaches the minimum number of instructional days (168).

Students in CUSD currently receive 180 days of instruction. Three days of instruction have been lost due to recent budget cuts. Those were the three days negotiated in the 2009-10 school year.

As always, if any member of the community has a question about the district, we urge them to contact their school principal or the Communications Office at (949) 234-9308.

Marcus Walton

Chief Communications Officer

Jane Lambson April 03, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Shelly: That is absolutely not true! You have been fed this line that the BOT's were unreasonable and refused to negotiate, and the union had to strike to get back their negotiating rights and restorative language back. Wrong, wrong, wrong! It was the CUEA who said to the BOT's in Feb-10, "We aren't bargaining anymore. We dare you to impose!" The CUEA forced the BOT's hand (remember it is a law they have to impose if negotiations are not happening). Please remember, there are strict procedures that must be adhered to when going through the negotiating process? Do you honestly think the BOT’s would risk any lawsuit for not following these procedures? That would have been suicide. “Patience is a virtue which the former board did not exhibit.” Shelly, again another falsehood. These negotiations began back in September 2009, and in November 2009, there were rumors of a pending strike. But they couldn’t strike until ALL of the processes had been completed.
Jane Lambson April 03, 2012 at 04:27 PM
“Swimming in the tank” means you buy the CUEA “truth” without any qualifications. I am not suggesting any enemies here. On the other hand, you seem to think the former BOT’s are enemies of teachers. You say this repeatedly, but it is simply a misinterpretation. Although I will say that some of the CUEA activities reflect war like enterprises against students and parents. We need a strong education system in America, no doubt. Where you and I differ is that I feel that public education should not have a monopoly on educating our kids. If there is a demand for them, I would propose expanding charters statewide, including CUSD. And vouchers down the line.
shelly April 03, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Jane Lambson, What is absolutely not true? The former BOT imposing instead of negotiating? The former BOT chose to stop negotiating and impose a contract. They voted to do this. This is what happened. Negotiations are hard. The CUEA is a union of teachers. They were negotiating for their livelyhood but they were willing to take cuts. At one point the BOT even wanted the cuts to be retroactive and they were going to impose further cuts if needed without negotiations (item 5 which was removed). Negotiations are hard and take time and patience. The former BOT did not exhibit patience. They exhibited ineffectual leadership. They imposed instead of negotiated. They caused a huge upheaval in our district. They could have brought the district together to work on the difficult task of cutting the budget but they brought politics into our district and put politics over our kids. I do not just "buy" anything. I do my own research. You believe one side of the story. I believe another. So be it. And swimming in the tank is an expression as consorting with the opponent. So if you do not see the teachers as the enemy than don't use that expression. I believed then and believe now that you should respect the people who work hard with your and for you. I believe that coming to the table with a willingness to listen and to work hard and to compromise (not a dirty word or a sign of weakness) gets the best results for all. .
shelly April 03, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Jane Lambson, If people demand charters than so be it. I am not against charters. What I am against is people forcing charters on people who are happy with their schools. CUSD has good schools and teachers. Vouchers? I do not want my tax money to go to schools who can discriminate based on economics, intellligence, gender, religion, ability to speak English, etc. Private schools can pick and choose who they accept. They do not have to educate everyone.
randy April 04, 2012 at 06:01 AM
That's a beauty of public education whether you like it or not. Good dicussion but I know there will be someone sharing ideas and perceptions that others agree to disagree/agree. Indeed all is about money as in good investing opportunities (or choices) by Americans for young Americans. Now next (reframing to the original relating topics), should we be concerned about CUSD well being this coming fall for all students? Is CUSD going to so-called "bankrupt" or actually dying with no way to save/borrow more? Seems to me some parents are in "panic-mode" when it may be unnecessary. Obviously, Marcus will need to answer its current pulse of the heartbeat rather than just clarifying his PR job during the state government's crises. More parents would need to know the answer right away for children. We have yet to see solutions another than just negotitations with unions. Thank you.

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