‘We are united,’ teachers tell trustees

By Maureen Robertson

In a display of solidarity, approximately 150 people, most teachers and supporters, filled the room and spilled into the hallway for the school board's Jan. 17 meeting. Those who spoke called for a fair and reasonable end to negotiations and contended the district's proposal for cuts for the next three years is "outrageously unreasonable" and "egregiously unfair." Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

Approximately 150 people filled the board room and stood or sat in the hallway as six teachers and a parent asked the board not to cut teacher compensation as much as proposed.

“The Ramona district is demanding cuts of 8 percent in 2012-13, 9.5 percent in ‘13-14, and 9.5 percent in ‘14-15,” said Braye-Romero.

After mediation failed, negotiations between the union and district moved to fact finding, a final phase in the negotiations process. A fact finding hearing is set for Feb. 27.

Teachers held signs stating, “We don’t want to, but we will,” suggesting some are considering a strike.

“I can’t bear to see the negative impact a teachers strike would have on the teachers in this room,” said teacher Larry Bringham, who was hired after the teachers strike in the mid-1970s and said he witnessed firsthand its negative impact. “It is disheartening to hear teachers talking about leaving Ramona High School.”

Related posts:

  1. Teachers protest proposed cuts; support workers review tentative agreement
  2. Teachers challenge district’s numbers
  3. District sends final pink slips to 25 teachers
  4. School trustees brace for the worst
  5. Trustees ask voters for $66 million

Short URL: http://www.ramonasentinel.com/?p=20587

Posted by Maureen Robertson on Jan 22 2013. Filed under Featured Story, News, Schools. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

22 Comments for “‘We are united,’ teachers tell trustees”

  1. Herve Auch-Roy

    What about assigning the $40 millions off the San Vicente Road project to maintaining Ramona teachers' compensation while the economy is recovering?

  2. big bird

    when teachers reduce themselves to signposts they lose my support. if mr bringham feels a strike would have a negative impact, let's hope he encourages his colleagues to accept the district's proposal. if they don't, hopefully a state takeover will solve this quickly.

  3. Really?

    The $40 million are road funds. They do NOT belong to Ramona nor the school district. If they are not used for SV improvements, they go to another road project somewhere else, away from Ramona.

  4. Brian

    Big Bird you are negative about everything. You never look at the facts, how people will be affected, what the circumstances are or how the community will be impacted. From what I have read of your comments you are a close minded, grumpy, negative person. If you can't say anything nice or contribute towards a solution, keep your comments to yourself. Ramona needs positivity, solutions and a "can do"attitude.

    • big bird

      brian,
      i'm not negative about everything (i'm not not not!) and i am looking at the facts — the 12/13 budget projects $42 million income, and spends $41 million on salaries and benefits (i would include a link, but it appears they are no longer posting it on the district's website). the administration needs a huge cut and they're getting a raise instead! even if the ALT got a 25% cut, though, it wouldn't be enough. the teachers are the middle class of the district, and they need to be part of the solution, possibly the biggest part.
      i don't think the district should spend more than 80-85% of their income on salaries, but they are spending essentially all of it that way. even the maintenance money:
      "School districts…receive a limited amount of annual funding from the state for maintenance. It’s categorized as flexible funding, which means districts can use it for other needs if necessary. Ramona receives $250,000 a year from the state for maintenance, and it’s being used for salaries, Graeff said." source: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jan/20/tp-det...
      over the last few years, the district's salaries have begun to consume the entire income the district receives. donna braye-romero and the ALT conveniently refuse to see that on their way to the bank. the board seems to believe that a 9.5% cut will solve it. i may not appear sympathetic, but i have to say, that ain't too bad in today's economy. their salaries have gone up that much in the last 3 years while creating the problem. you heard that right…the salaries created the problem, not the declining enrollment, not the failed bond, not the new schools…the salaries that consume the district's entire income. i think the teachers should take a positive view of the offer they've received, which frankly seems unfair only when contrasted against the ALT's grossly excessive pay. i'm open to another view, though. the floor is yours.

  5. Brian

    The teachers are trying to support their families. When their employers propose cutting each teacher's pay by tens of thousands of dollars over the next 3 years I don't blame them. They have to make their bill payments and put food on the table just like everyone else. If the district won't listen then more power to the teachers. Why critize them when everyone of us would do whatever we had to to take care of our families?

    • big bird

      a good chunk of "everyone else" is also down 10%, some much, much more. i'll stop short of saying that excessive government/public service salaries are a big part of the reason, but that doesn't mean i dismiss the idea. the rest of us aren't becoming signposts, though.

  6. Fiona

    Obviously public works money/CalTrans funds could never be given to the schools. But Herve Auch-Roy does make a good point. Why is this state is always improving roads, building freeways etc, when the state won't even put enough money into education to get the job done for the sake of our future citizens?

    • Really?

      No, you made the point. Herve suggested an impossible solution to people who desperately seek real solutions, not meaningless rhetoric. And your question is a good one. Perhaps you could ask that same question of whoever you voted for for your state rep in November (or whoever won). Please let us know the response you get. Part of the answer is that this is a local road and the funds are managed by an entity who cannot give them to education. Most likely county gas tax monies earmarked to pay for local road improvements.

    • big bird

      prop R was supposed to yield $14 million in matching state funds. that money *is* slated for education. why doesn't RTA go lobby to access those funds without the bond? they're thick as thieves with the sacramento crew, aren't they?

      • parent

        Pop R did not has any matching funds. What are you talking about? The RTA are Ramona's teachers. The do not have lobbyiest. They live here and spend their days educationing Ramona's future citizens.

      • Brian

        There were no matching funds to go along with the bond. The state's contibution was paid to the district when they built the 2 new schools as an incentive to get the district to put in money and get new schools built for the state. What the district has now is the a debt for its share of the building costs.
        RTA are the teachers in the district. The Ramona teachers do not lobby.. The teachers (RTA) are your neighbors and the educators of the past present and future citizens of this town.

        • big bird

          brian (and parent, above),
          prop R was promoted as an $80 million influx to the district. that included a state match of $13.8 million.
          "The district is currently eligible to receive a total of $13.8 million in state-matching modernization and new construction funds for the schools. However, RUSD must provide a local match to receive these funds. If it passes, Prop. R would allow the district to qualify for the state matching funds."
          source: http://ramona.patch.com/articles/rusd-superintend...
          "Preliminary cost summary assumes using $13.8 million in state matching funds to complete all proposed projects."
          source: http://www.sdcta.org/Uploads/Documents/Ramona%20U...
          separately, the district had received a state match on the CAB money ($32 million for $25 million, or the other way around?) when the 2 schools were built around 2004. i applaud the work the teachers do during the day. as for how they spend some of their nights, as pictured above, i was merely suggesting they find a more fruitful well.

  7. shocked

    What is more confusing to me as a parent is how the school board can moan about money problems, cut the pay of staff (secretaries, janitors) and want to severely cut the pay of teachers BUT THEN decide to reinstate Dr. Graeff, school board president AND give him a RAISE of 4,856 making his salary 200,591. No one should be getting a raise if everyone is facing such cuts. This makes no sense at all.

    • big bird

      don't be confused, shocked. that's just how it works. you might think they'd see that action as as hindrance to another bond effort. in fact, it probably never crossed their minds.

    • Parent

      Why do they need so many assistant superintendents? For district the size of Ramona, the administration is very top heavy, so I have heard. Couldn't the board lay off the asst. supers and hire department heads at lower salaries? Reducing Dr. Graeff's salary and downsizing at the district office won't solve the problem of paying for Hanson and RCS. We need a small bond to pay for that because no amount of cuts in salaries and programs will cover that bill. But if the board took action and laid off the asst. superintendents, they could restore programs like GATE, make a elementary choir program, repair a roof, etc. We just need a board willing to do something other than cut the teacher's salaries. The teachers are fundemental to the education of Ramona kids and I for one support them 100%

  8. As a community( property owners, the superintendent, teachers, business owners) we all need to sacrifice financially a BIT, and together there is a chance that our students' education will not be potentially ruined for a generation by the State taking over.( Athletics, Music, Vocational training, Computer Science, Art, AP classes, ) Apathy and lack of involvement on the part of public last decade contributed to the Board and previous Superintendent making financial decisions that created a mess inherited by people in these positions now.
    In the mean time… anyone in the PTA able to answer this for me… Can you accept donations from the public for replacing tattered text books at RHS and Ramona Elementary?

    • Parent

      I am not on my children's school's PTA, although I do volunteer at the school. It seems to me the PTA raises funds and then they can decide how to spend the money. Righ now the PTA is planning to purchase a new playground. I would rather see security features purchased and books replaced. But to answer your question Dr. T, any money the PTA raises is spent as they decide.

  9. CA Smith

    Personally, after watching the indoctrination of my kids in the local schools, I am totally in favor of home schooling. Maybe, if the school turns back to its original purpose of actually educating students, there would be some reason to endorse public education. It would also be refreshing to see some semblance of fiscal responsibility in RSD, but I'm not holding my breath while waiting for either.

  10. So, according to the San Diego Union Tribune today, Dr G was given a 17K raise.
    This is disheartening and nauseating . One would hope that the RUSD Board voted for this raise so that it would raise Dr G's pension, and expedite his retirement. ( It was a going away gift to our previous superintendent prior to retirement also) If he were to retire soon, then there would be time to hire another superintendent for half the starting salary, and one who had more empathy and compassion for the teachers, students and public. This would help loosen the tight double bind that Ramona is in, and teachers would be more likely to compromise and voters would be more sympathetic to the school district's financial woes. Otherwise this raise only hastens the march toward insolvency for RUSD . There will be initial relief when the State School Czar takes over, and then most likely much regret after academic/vocational/athletic programs are cut without regard of the wishes/input of the public, and without regard to teachers' needs to provide for their families.

  11. To combat this hopelessness, and to set a better example for our kids than our Superintendent has, I think its time that we form a 501c3 organization, ( or have the PTA serve as the non-profit organization) for donations for to replace tattered textbooks and to repair bathrooms etc at our Ramona schools. It would not been enabling the school district. It would be helping our students, whose needs are completely forgotten . Being voluntary, those who are tired of being Taxed Enough Already do not have to contribute.. unless they find it in their hearts to do so. 10 years ago, the public was apathetic and we were in the dark about our district's finances.. We are not in the dark now…but it would be easy to be disgusted and apathetic. Lets chanel our anger into helping our students. We will not be able to prevent insolventcy,but atleast the kids will know that we care enough to try. As I have said now for the third time on line, I pledge $250 a month till I retire.. That will atleast buy a couple manual soap dispensers that RUSD hasnt been able to replace.

  12. MainStreet Media

    Sorry, Stacy, if you believe the article was misleading. The article earlier had stated that six teachers and one parent asked the board not to cut teacher compensation as much as proposed. He was one of the six teachers. His statements, directed to the board, seemed a warning to the board of the negative effect a strike would have on the district. I apologize for any misunderstanding.
    Maureen Robertson

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