School board lays off 15, cuts 31 non-teaching jobs

By Maureen Robertson

Saying they are frustrated, sickened, pained and deflated, Ramona Unified School District trustees voted last night to

Margaret Shelley, senior labor relations representative at the California School Employees Association office in San Diego, talks with an estimated 35 Ramona school employees protesting proposed layoffs outside school district offices before the school board meeting Thursday night. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

lay off 15 workers and cut 16 other non-teaching jobs that are vacant.

The cuts are projected to save the district $200,000 this school year and $700,000 in 2012-13 and subsequent years.

This could be just the beginning unless the district finds ways to deal with the nearly $5 million deficit projected in the governor’s proposal for 2012-13, district officials said. With the governor’s proposed $6.9 billion tax increase, the Ramona district faces a deficit of $11.6 million in 2013-14, according to David Ostermann, assistant superintendent of administrative services. Without the tax increase, the projected deficit is $15.9 million in 2013-14.

“We’ve done everything we can,” said Trustee Rodger Dohm, noting that the district in the past few years has cut $7 million from the budget. “We have spent our reserve down to the (state-mandated) 3 percent. It’s gone all the way this year, and there’s nothing left, so that’s where we are. It is real. I wish it wasn’t.”

An estimated 35 workers gathered outside the district offices before the 7 p.m. school board meeting, and about 80

Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

filled the board room for the meeting, with others listening from the hall. Ten employees spoke to the board, including Jim King, president of the union representing the non-teaching workers losing their jobs.

“These totally outrageous proposed cuts are out of line, and the sad part is that I believe you know that,” he said. “The classified employees of this district have been taking the brunt of the cuts over the last five years.”

The cuts include seven night custodians, 12 special education para-educators, three groundskeepers, one accountant, one instructional para-educator, one attendance/health technician, one bus driver/instructor, two clerks, one receptionist, one secretary and one student support services technician.

Linda Keyser, bus driver/instructor for more than 20 years, is among district employees talking to trustees at their meeting Thursday night. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

The board did not cut a warehouse delivery job after Wesley Cloward said that his food services delivery job is funded through food services, not the general fund.

“I really don’t know how I got picked for this,” he said, referring to the proposed cut list.

“From a logical and fiscal perspective, I would personally like to see that one removed from the list and re-evaluated, at a minimum,” said Dan Lopez, board president.

The other trustees agreed, and Cloward’s job was removed from the list.

The cuts are effective March 12, with the workers’ last day on the job March 9, said Anne Staffieri, assistant superintendent of human resources, adding that the full-time employees will continue to receive benefits until June 30.

Dan Lopez, left, president of the Ramona school board, listens as Superintedent Robert Graeff answers a question. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

Because of the contract the union has with the district, some of the employees scheduled to lose their jobs have “bumping rights” to jobs they previously held with the district and may opt to return to their previous job, said Staffieri.

Related posts:

  1. Cuts and changes at Ramona school district
  2. Board trims non-teaching employees
  3. Water district cuts continue with five layoffs
  4. School board OKs 17 teacher layoffs
  5. School district calls back five teachers

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Posted by Maureen Robertson on Jan 20 2012. Filed under Featured Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

5 Comments for “School board lays off 15, cuts 31 non-teaching jobs”

  1. micleon166

    BOO HOO welcome to reality the private sector has it worse.

  2. Ralph Mittman

    Where is the outrage over all of the, higher taxes, fees, fines, bureaucratic and regulatory compliance costs that cause businesses to shut down or prevent them from even opening?

    If you truly and honestly want to understand why we are in these budget cutting dilemmas, you simply must understanding where the actual funding comes from in the first place.

    We don't have schools and public services because we "think they are worthy and necessary." We have these things because there is a source of revenue for these desired and worthy services. The funding comes from tax revenue generated through commerce, i.e. the doing of business.

    So when ever you see or hear of ANY new rule, regulation, fine, fee, permit, restriction, tax or even any new form that needs to be filled out, understand that you are looking at another brick in the wall, shutting us off from funding these worthy and needed services like schools, water, parks, trails and funding for social services.

    I personally know of several businesses who have tried to open in Ramona who were prevented from doing so, because of overwhelming costs, unassociated with the actual business. These include, permits, fees, taxes, fines, restrictions and regulatory compliance costs.

    For just one example, if you don't know and understand what the TIF fee is all about, then there is no way you can understand why there are funding problems.

    By the way, unfortunately, there are lots more funding cuts coming, and that is a tragedy.

  3. crysharris

    While Ralph is correct that excessive bureaucracy and regulation have a chilling effect on entrepreneurship and business growth, a relative lack of fees, permits, and regulations have a negative impact on safety, quality of life, public services and the environment. We need to strike a reasonable balance that protects business interests and the community at large.

    Let's not forget that permits and regulations prevent massive sprawl in Ramona, protecting our dwindling property values and keeping 67 from absolute gridlock. Permits and regulations make sure businesses and homes are fire and disaster safe.

  4. Tom M

    Typical, the people that comment have no understanding of the actual issue. They just have free time and a separate (totally unrelated) agenda.

    1. Schools are mostly funded with property taxes. TIF fees pay for roads? Ralphs comments make zero sense. The only thing he got correct was " there are lots more funding cuts coming". The Governor is working on that now.

    2. Cryharris seems to think that urban sprawl has something to do with this article? I think he just has a "keep Ramona Rural" mindset. Whatever, seems to have no correlation to this article.

    Schools (all government) are being forced to shrink as an indirect function of the economy. It has nothing to do with urban sprawl or commercial business permits.

    • Kenn Keyser

      I offer the written quote of my wife's statement. It does not make any emotional pleas for saving herself. She presents her experience and her given school and state given authority view of the pending action. I noted one thing. Neither the school board or superintendent commented on her remarks directly. Perhaps they knew she was right. Her statement. "My name is Linda Keyser, I am a State Certified School Bus Driver Instructor. I am concerned that the district is planning on discontinuing this position. I believe the district will be opening itself up to a great deal of liability and I wonder if there has been any risk management studies done to justify the discontinuing of this position.

      Are you aware that each and every school bus driver in the State of California is required to have a minimum of 10 hours of safety instruction every year to maintain their school bus driver certificate and during the last year of their certificate, the year their license is renewed are required to have 10 hours of classroom instruction? This instruction can only be given by a State Certified School Bus Driver Instructor and must be documented on a State owned document called the T-01. This document can only be filled out by a State Certified School Bus Driver Instructor, if anyone else tries to fill out this document it is null and the driver could find themselves without their school bus certificate because there would be no way to verify who filled out the training hours. The liability lies in not having qualified school bus drivers because the Instructor has not been allowed to do their job. I am very concerned about not having a School Bus Driver Instructor on the payroll of the District because this opens the District to massive risk with so many children riding our school buses and parents expecting them to be safe, without the Instructor to verify training and documentation the State could quickly shut down the Department.

      Thank you for your time. Please consider the safety of the children before making a final decision on this position."


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