Voters reject school bond
By Maureen Robertson
Unofficial results of the Nov. 6 election show Ramona school district’s $66 million bond bid failing, Dawn Perfect and John Rajcic winning the school board election, Rex Schildhouse beating Bryan Wadlington for the Division 3 water board seat, and George Foote winning the Division 5 seat with less than 100 votes between him and opponent Brandon DiPietro.
On the planning group, unofficial results show the five incumbents—Jim Piva, Eb Hogervorst, Torry Brean, Paul Stykel, and Richard Tomlinson—winning re-election, and Jim Cooper, Donna Myers, and Barbara Jensen winning their first four-year terms on the group.
As county Registrar of Voters workers have continued their count of provisional and mail-in ballots the past week, the numbers but not the results of the Ramona elections changed.
By law the registrar’s office must complete the count by Dec. 4 and report the election’s final results to the California Secretary of State by Dec. 7. As of Wednesday morning, 200,000 county ballots remained to be counted. How many are for Ramona is unknown until workers open the envelopes, according to the registrar’s office.
School officials had no hope for Prop. R by late last week, said Superintendent Dr. Robert Graeff, adding “it would be a miracle” if it received the required 55 percent of votes cast. If about 5,000 votes are outstanding, “for us to win, we would need 70 percent of that 5,000. That’s not going to happen,” he said on Friday.
The district’s next step is uncertain, said Graeff. “We’re still in the analysis stage.”
Without the bond money, the district lacks the resources for proposed projects and in 2014 will begin using general fund money to make payments on the $25 million borrowed in 2004, he said.
A report on Prop. R is on the agenda of the school board’s Nov. 15 meeting.
Passage of state Proposition 30 brings a quarter-cent per dollar increase in the sales tax for four years and an income tax increase on those earning more than $250,000 a year for seven years.
Billed as a measure to fund schools, Prop. 30 is expected to restore about $450 per student, or about $2.5 million, to the Ramona district’s ending balance for this fiscal year, said Graeff. But, he added, “there are questions about when it will appear, how…(and) when.”
How that money will be spent is uncertain, since negotiations with the teachers union are at an impasse. The state’s Public Employment Relations Board has appointed a mediator, and the first mediation session will be Friday, Nov. 16.
The district is proposing employee concessions through health and welfare benefit contributions, salary schedule reductions, and/or furlough days of 10.5 percent for 2012-13, 12 percent for 2013-14, and 12 percent for 2014-15, reported Assistant Superintendent Anne Staffieri, a chief negotiator for the district. District management and support staff previously approved cuts in the same percentage range.
The teachers have proposed three furlough days for 2012 and 2013, a concession of 1.62 percent, noted Staffieri. The district wants a three-year agreement, and the teachers union proposes a one-year agreement, she added.
Regarding Prop. 30, the district will reduce proposed concessions by $19,488 for every additional $100,000 the district’s general fund receives from the proposition, Staffieri said in an email.
“This is conditioned upon the Legislature not otherwise reducing” the money the district receives per student, she said.
Schools have been underfunded for several years, resulting in cuts to student services, higher class sizes, and reductions in books, supplies, and employees, said Graeff.
“Our hope is to restore as much of that as possible as well as provide for the basic needs of our employees,” he said.
“I think we can come to an agreement,” Ramona Teachers Association President Donna Braye-Romero said. “I’m hoping we can.”
San Diego County Registrar of Voters election results as of Wednesday morning
- Early election results for Ramona candidates, school bond
- Budget talks turn to school bond for Ramona
- School bond will be Proposition R on Nov. 6 ballot
- Survey shows support for a school bond
- School workers agree to 9.5% cut, more later
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