Come to Monday school board meeting in Ramona High’s Performing Arts Wing
By Lynn Bebinger
New info: the meeting will be at the PAW (performing arts wing) at RHS at 7 pm Monday. The amount that they want to impose is 7.8%.
To my Ramona friends and colleagues:
I am blessed.
Blessed with a loving husband of 29 years.
Blessed with three beautiful, strong and successful daughters.
Blessed with friends and colleagues that I treasure.
Blessed to have a job doing what I love.
Blessed with an amazing group of 6th graders and supportive parents.
Blessed that I have worked with two amazing, supportive, inspiring, and dynamic principals: Gary Tiegs and Pauline Leavitt.
I am also sad.
There has been so much divisiveness between classified and certificated staff. I am truly sorry that the classified settled so early and took such a big hit. Because the teachers chose to hold out for a different settlement, there have been hard feelings. I would hope that we can find a way to unite again and put our differences aside. I could not be as successful a teacher without the support, commitment and tireless efforts of our classified colleagues.
Our teachers and classified staff deserve respect and truth from the district and the board. We work hard to provide Ramona children with the best education possible. We are at school early and stay late. We work weekends to grade and copy because our school days are spent working with our students. We give up lunches to run clubs and tutor. We do this because we truly love teaching and seeing the growth in the students.
I know that the district is in dire financial straits. However, before imposing draconian cuts on the teachers (and previously on the classified employees), I have a few questions that I would like answered.
1. Why did Dr. Graeff accept a raise (in addition to the one mentioned below)?
2. Did the board allow Dr. Graeff to take a 13% raise so that he could make a symbolic 13% cut?
3. Does the public know that, although administrators took 9 furlough days, they were given 9 extra paid vacation days? Were the other two employee groups offered this?
4. I realize that the loan for the new schools is coming due. RTA asked the district to consider many alternative cost-saving measures to prevent the classified and certificated from having to take huge cuts, but the district turned everyone down. These ideas included:
a. Increased transportation fees
b. Advertising on school buses, rename stadium
c. Combine principals
d. School consolidation
e. SELL LAND/PROPERTIES NOT IN USE
f. Retirement Incentive
g. Cut non-mandated standardized testing
h. District recycling program
i. Renegotiate the COP loan
j. Redevelopment monies
k. Cut electrical use in evening
I have loved teaching in Ramona. My 3 daughters went through Ramona schools. The two oldest have graduated from college. The oldest not only has her master’s degree, she is working on her doctorate. The youngest will graduate college in June. Their successes are a direct result of the excellent teaching and the amazing support staff.
Lastly, I want to thank many who have made me want to go the extra bit, to come to work with a smile, to buy materials to supplement class supplies, to stay late, plan, research, and teach with joy. Gary Tiegs was an amazing first principal for me in Ramona. Pauline Leavitt brings innovation, support, and true collaboration to our school. She has made us a family again. Tammy, Joanna, Johnny, Sheri, Brenda, Becky, Michelle, and all of the classified—thank you for all you do. Our PTA is so enthusiastic and amazing! I think it is obvious where the problems occur —the board and the superintendent.
This comes from my heart. After 35 years of teaching, in Texas and in California, this is the first time that I have felt kicked in the stomach. If the district had made any gesture of finding alternative solutions, I would not feel so hurt. Please know that I have never discussed this with my students. Their education will continue to be my priority. I am asking for the community to help. Please ask questions and let your voice be heard.
Update: This morning we were notified that the district will be voting on imposing the NEW offer on the teachers on Monday night. The facts presented by Dr. Graeff on Thursday have now been changed. In addition to the higher pay cut, they will raise class size and institute furlough days. They have decided to close ALL Ramona schools from May 20 to May 24 of this year.
Please attend the board meeting at the district office on Monday, April 22, at 7 p.m. The implementation is the only item on the agenda. The teachers have offered to take cuts. Please come speak up for the kids of Ramona.
Thank you for reading this.
Lynn Bebinger teaches sixth grade at James Dukes Elementary School in Ramona.
- Ramona school district, teachers union expect fact-finding report Monday
- Financial Aid Night: Jan. 8 in RHS Performing Arts Wing
- School board OKs 17 teacher layoffs
- Kudos for Ramona High School’s industrial arts program, teachers
- Reflections on school board meeting
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