Ramona teachers endorse strike authorization

By a more than three-fourths majority — with 99 percent voting — members of the Ramona Teachers Association overwhelming approved a vote authorizing the RTA’s executive board to call for a strike action “when and if it becomes necessary” to the teachers’ efforts to achieve what they believe is a fair contract settlement with the Ramona Unified School District, according to a statement from the teachers union.

Ramona teachers hold up signs at a recent school board meeting. Sentinel photo/Maureen Robertson

“Ramona teachers do not want to strike,” said RTA President Donna Braye-Romero, “but we are not willing to accept the district’s unfair, unreasonable imposition. The cuts will not only cripple us financially, but will ultimately harm Ramona’s students and our entire community. If all other efforts fail, we now have the unity and support to strike as a final option.”

Ramona teachers and many parental and community supporters are dismayed by the district’s unilateral April 16 action that imposed cuts of 7.82 percent for 2012-2013, and 9.4 percent each for 2013-2014 and 2014-2015, says the statement.

“These cuts translate into a total three-year cut of $19,287 for the average Ramona teacher,” said Braye-Romero. “But even more drastic is their insistence on six furlough days between now and the end of this school year and backdating health and welfare cuts to last February. The average Ramona teacher will lose $2,831 from each of their May and June paychecks, leaving many unable to pay mortgages, rents, car payments or care for dependent children or elderly relatives.”

RUSD’s finances show a 15 percent reserve fund balance at the end of the 2011-12 school year, states the RTA release. In addition, a second interim budget revealed an additional $800,000, a figure the union contends the district knew at the time, but withheld from both the state-sanctioned fact finder and RTA. Also, the RTA statement continues, the district will see an infusion of new money in next year’s budget and for several years to come from the passage of last fall’s Prop. 30. Now is the time for prudent caution, not knee-jerk reaction, RTA states.

“RTA has repeatedly offered to take reasonable cuts, as evidenced by our last offer of 10.5 percent over two years,” said Braye-Romero. “We basically agreed to accept the fact finder’s recommended settlement for the first year if the district would only agree to language that would restore money cut from teachers when new funds accrue, but the district repeatedly refused to compromise. Why are they intent on breaking teachers’ backs financially and on cutting vital instructional days for our students now when it isn’t necessary?

Related posts:

  1. Ramona teachers schedule strike authorization vote for May 7
  2. Results of Ramona teachers’ strike authorization vote expected today
  3. Ramona teachers union leaders call for strike authorization vote
  4. Ramona teachers endorse one-year contract settlement; district wants three-year agreement
  5. School board approves emergency measures as district braces for possible teachers strike

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Posted by Maureen Robertson on May 8 2013. Filed under Featured Story, News, Ramona, 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.

15 Comments for “Ramona teachers endorse strike authorization”

  1. Montana Vet

    I thought our teachers were wiser than this alleged vote count reflects.

  2. Con Ochs

    The teacher's incomes go directly into the community in which they live. Small businesses should be supporting the teachers because they will suffer as well if teacher's salaries are drastically cut. Also, teachers spend a good chunk of money on their classroom needs, so the students will suffer as cuts are made. If teachers have to take these draconian cuts, it will be a lose – lose for everyone!!!!

    • Montana Vet

      What percent, would you estimate, of Ramona teachers live in Ramona?

    • Big Daddy

      Hey Con Ochs – do you even know if the cuts are "draconian"? Have you personally read any of the reports that have come out? They were given numerous opportunities to take lower cuts and refused each time. Of course they blame the district, and the district blames them. If our district goes bankrupt, then the businesses in this community will suffer a lot more than if the teachers take the cuts they've been offered – oh yeah, they can also go and reduce those cuts but they have to open dialog with the district. Oh yeah – they won't do that. Why? They want to escalate this as far as they can all in the name of saving face.

    • S J

      Thank you Con Ochs for your very wise input. It truly hurts when people assume that teachers have such an easy job and 'deserve' these cuts. Come spend a day with a teacher, or even an evening or weekend as we take schoolwork home with us. I have yet to meet a teacher who is able to teach effectively within the confines of our contracted hours. Instead of bashing teachers for being selfish, I wish people would become more informed on what teachers have already done to help with the budget situation, and what we've offered to do to continue helping. None of us want to go on strike, and we are hoping that this can be settled without that drastic action.

      • Sheryl

        Seriously, are there people telling you that your job is easy and that you need to just suck it up? Then they are idiots and you should ignore people who are so ignorant. Fortunately I have only read one comment out of a hundred so far who accused district employees of being lazy. Yes, teaching is really, really demanding, you stay late, come early, grade papers on weekend. We get it. You know what? Every worker bee and private industry professional in this whole country does the same thing. What about nurses? How about you spend a day with me, watch me work nights and weekends 49 weeks a year saving peoples lives, then watch when I get my pay cut and have to cough up $500/month for a high deductible health care plan. If I don't like it, there are 100 other unemployed people who would love my job, just as there are that many laid off teachers who would work for less than you. We love teachers for what they do. Love them! But you don't work harder than the rest of us and you are not entitled to keep all your unsustainable pay and benefits at the cost of me, the taxpayer. You want to save money? How about you ask your union to excuse you from your $100/month dues for a while?

      • NotQuite

        SJ. I'm a parent. I correct class papers on the weekends too, for our teachers. NO ONE is saying you deserve cuts or your job is easy. If they are, they are simply idiots to be ignored. But good gawd, my medical is offset by my employer and I still pay about $1600 a month for my family's medical. I'm not complaining about the deal you got when this benie was scored. Good for you. But times are tough and now you're being cut. Just like most of us were in recent months. And as you reach out to us for support etc, keep this in mind. No matter what is cut here, we the taxpayers see no relief. If this keeps up, we'll likely see our property values go down. We'll see our schools go into worse shape than they already are. We may pay more on a future bond. And I'll pay every cent of my medical increases. I'm not calling anyone selfish, but sit in my chair and listen to what is being said and you come up with a descriptive term.

    • NotQuite

      We're talking 247 teachers. Not all live in Ramona. Where was the outcry when far more Ramona contractors and folks in the building industry lost jobs/income when the economy went south? I know they put money in to their classroom needs. So do I. The parent. This year from my youngest to my eldest, hundreds of dollars in supplies, donations, and "fund raisers" alone. My healthcare got cut, but thank the lord I have my job. No one stepped up to "demand" my employer negotiate. I had to pull up my big boy undies and suck it up. I find our teachers very dedicated and most truly passionate about their work. I get it, it stinks. But you let the mother-ship CTA guide you down a path and this path had thorns at the end. Ms. Clarke, I too glow with pride at my children's test scores. Because I work together with our teachers and participate as a parent. That is my goal, our goal. But when my health care costs went up 40%, not 15%, 40%, no one cared. These are still hard hard times. To have your take home pay cut is indeed a crisis. But we've all done it.

    • big bird

      the district has a certain amount of money to run things with. why do you believe community businesses would benefit more from teachers' spending it than anyone else? the district purchases services and supplies locally, as well as the other employees of the district. if they have less, they spend less. same with the community taxpayers. if my taxes go up to pay the COP so the district can keep increasing salaries and benefits, i have less to spend at local businesses. your statement is folderol.

  3. Cheryl Clarke

    It is hard to find an administration as intractable as the one we have in the RUSD. They demand the impossible from their teachers, yet glow with pride as test scores have risen year after year. When the teachers go out on strike, I call on all retired teachers to stand with them.

    • Montana Vet

      It looks like the Board is intractable because the district can no longer maintain the current level of compensation paid to teachers, according to the fact finding report.

    • Big Daddy

      What about every other district who has had to suffer furlough days and pay cuts been asked to contribute to those posh benies? Intractable is a big word – I had to look it up. It means "not easily governed, managed or directed". Cheryl – take a look at your own union and the vitriol spewed constantly by the leader in the press. Its absolute hypocrisy that you would pin this only on the district. You seem to obviously be a teacher who has completely allowed yourself to be overcome by their propaganda.

      • Montana Vet

        I don't know, of course, who offered what during negotiations. It seems that the fact finding recomendations should have been the basis for a settlement…isn't that the purpose of fact finding? Instead of going to court and holding strike votes, the parties should implement the fact finding recommendations.

      • NotQuite

        I'll add to this. The CTA spokesperson isn't doing our local teachers any favors. Truth is CTA and the local union find themselves in a very nasty position. Any other union at the bargaining table has to be LESS than happy this went this way. Never a good step for any organized labor of any kind to have terms imposed on them. Therefore the vitriol from the locals and why big brother CTA has stepped in.

  4. Mary Sampson Hale

    These are hard times and I feel bad for everyone that has lost work. It seems to me that I have been reading in the paper for several years that this day would come if the teachers did not take pay cuts. I have read that others at RUSD have already taken cuts and the School Board had no other choice.

    As a retired person on a fixed income I worry that this town will get confused and pass a bond which will increase our taxes or the School Board will cave into the pressure. I really feel that this day was inevitable and I am sorry but I simply can’t afford any more taxes or cost.

    My granddaughter is a school teacher that lost her job two years ago and has moved to Las Vegas. She told me she would come back to town and take a job at RUSD at the current pay. I think there may be a silver lining in this for us at Ramona.

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