Alternatives to Prop. R

By Brian Stemm

In response to Damon Baldwin’s Oct. 24 article concerning Prop. R, “The upcoming bond…How does it affect Ramona’s future?”

I would encourage all to look at additional issues in this matter. Who will manage this money? Will it be the same leadership that put us in this situation in the first place, the leadership that has taken insufficient action over the past four years to cut costs?

In 2008-09, there was ample visibility of troubled economic times ahead. The tack that has been taken by the teachers union and the district administration has been to push this down the road and spend more. Why is providing $66M more to spend (mismanage) a smart move?

We must recognize that we are not Poway, we do not have the same demographic nor business tax base. We need to not try and compete. Increasing taxes (and bonds are a temporary tax) added with the coming tax increases from the federal government and state will drive businesses away, lowering the tax revenue even further.

You may see a bump in revenue in year one, but as businesses leave and fewer people are employed, you will find you have cut your own throat, with decreasing property values and tax revenue.

As for technology and the new “21st century schools” moniker, it does not replace value of qualified teachers/aides; iPads are not the answer and would suggest some of the data developed by this district is skewed—and I have specific examples. I would suggest adding an aide to those rooms will result in higher test scores. We simply cannot and should not attempt to afford “an iPad in every backpack!”

With all of that, the damage done over the past six to eight years has put the district in a situation where Prop. R appears necessary. However, we must push for true diligence in how that money is managed and push for further cost cutting. Examples of measure that might be of value:

1. Close RCS and move the district office and Montecito HS there.

2. Close RE, Montecito, district office and facilities infrastructure—sell the property, pay down debt with proceeds.

3. Sell all remaining excess property. Pay down debt with proceeds.

4.Subcontract/Outsource Facilities/janitorial, Food Services, Transportation, accounting, IT and any other “services” oriented departments.

5. Trim the district management to a single superintendent and an operations manager. Under the Ops manager have HR, curriculum management, and subcontract management.

6. No extra spending— conferences, off site meetings, etc., unless mandated by law.

7. No district cell phones or cars for individuals.

8. No “lifetime” benefits.

9. Health care participation on par with the public workforce. No freebies.

10. Use the contract time, after school hours, for all in-service trainings. No more paying for substitutes during school hours for these items.

11. No consultants for at least five years

12. No “teachers on assignment” for at least five years.

13. No “new” anything (other than basic replacement items) for five years

14. 5% wage cut across the board…then wage freeze for 5 years

15. No overtime.

16. No bonuses for administrators (or anyone).

Simply put — deep and purposeful spending cuts — for getting the district financial house in order, must occur (regardless of what happens with Prop R). Then the district must live within the community’s means. No more empire building.

We must recognize, as the current environment in California displays, higher tax rates and onerous regulations result in less commercial activity, higher unemployment, lower property values, and lower tax revenues. No on every proposition that increases taxes. No on 30, 38, 39.

Brian Stemm is a Ramona resident.

Related posts:

  1. Prop. R is not sound fiscal management
  2. Letter to editor: Prop. R dilemma
  3. What’s the holdup?
  4. Water board approves budget resolutions
  5. District declares impasse in teacher talks

Short URL: http://www.ramonasentinel.com/?p=18788

Posted by Maureen Robertson on Nov 1 2012. Filed under Commentary. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

10 Comments for “Alternatives to Prop. R”

  1. Excellent

    Excellent… pay attention people… this makes sense!

  2. taxpayer

    Isn't that the reason we elect the school board?

  3. LUV3BYZ

    RCS has been a DRAIN on the RUSD for years! With its VERY POOR administration there-they have to supplement by under paid WELL qualified teachers that only want what’s best for the kids! MOST teachers there actually “want” to be there but it is VERY apparent that the administration staff, ie. THE PRINCIPAL is there to show that she still might have some control over a school which she doesn’t! Hanson Elem. didn’t want her nor RE and now she and other staff are wasting money in their own salaries (which HERS is one of the HIGHEST in RUSD due to her tenure in the RUSD district-basically can’t get rid of her!) and have that money put into schools that DESERVE it! RHS has an awesome principal that for years now has tried to get that school back on track! Hanson Elem too just got an AMAZING new principal (i knew him at Mt Woodson as an AWESOME teacher!) and now that school is thriving! RCS CLOSE UR DOORS and let the “better” schools thrive and become super schools!
    Signed a FORMER students parent!

  4. LUV3BYZ

    BTW well said Brian! You and your wife are well respected citizens in the community of Ramona and should be praised for your opinion!

  5. LUV3BYZ

    RCS has been a DRAIN on the RUSD for years! With its VERY POOR administration there-they have to supplement by under paid WELL qualified teachers that only want what’s best for the kids! MOST teachers there actually “want” to be there but it is VERY apparent that the administration staff, ie. THE PRINCIPAL is there to show that she still might have some control over a school which she doesn’t! Hanson Elem. didn’t want her nor RE and now she and other staff are wasting money in their own salaries (which HERS is one of the HIGHEST in RUSD due to her tenure in the RUSD district-basically can’t get rid of her!) and have that money put into schools that DESERVE it! RHS has an awesome principal that for years now has tried to get that school back on track! Hanson Elem too just got an AMAZING new principal (i knew him at Mt Woodson as an AWESOME teacher!) and now that school is thriving! RCS CLOSE UR DOORS and let the “better” schools thrive and become super schools!

  6. Whatanidiot

    No offense but most/all of the alternatives are idiotic. Obviously Stemm has little to no knowledge of why those schools are there to begin with. Yes let's close down and sell RCS, Montecito & Ramona Elementary. Any idea where you intend for all of those kids to go or did you just pull your idea out of your backyard and expect people to line up behind you in droves. Montecito is the only school in Ramona (for the most part) that is for troubled students. Most have been kicked out of RHS. Removing that school would leave hundreds of students with nowhere to go. Ramona Elementary is the only school in Ramona (now that Hanson Lane is gone) that provides our hispanic population a place to go. Ramona residents don't go to the Estates schools and shouldn't be forced to. Mt. Woodson is the only alternative in that regard. Good luck fitting all of Ramona's students in one elementary school. Next time provide a reasonable/feasible solution in your post or lack thereof. Instead of take down all the schools that don't effect me/my kids. Also..I'm sure with all of the things you mentioned that negatively effect teachers they will be happy to teach in Ramona instead of somewhere else. Who wouldn't love a 5% wage cut, 5 year wage freeze and twice the normal amount of students. Pure ignorance.

    • HA!

      LOL! your name says it all!

    • big bird

      your name speaks for itself.

      he didn't say to sell RCS, just close it. the montecito kids can be re-enrolled at RHS, where most of them came from and arguably belong. hanson lane isn't gone, it just moved a mile down the road. that makes it less adequate for hispanic students?

      also, it's affect, not effect. i wouldn't bother pointing that out to you except that the rest of your post, while ridiculous, is at least well written.

      so, now that prop R has failed, what alternatives do you suggest? the floor is all yours.

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