Teachers want fair, reasonable settlement
I teach first and second grades at Ramona Community School in the Montessori Academy. This is my 11th year in the district and I couldn’t imagine teaching anything else, anywhere else. I love my kids, my program, my school, my colleagues. I announced when I was 6 years old that I planned to be a teacher, and I still wouldn’t change my choice for the world.
That being said, this year, more than ever before, I am feeling very depressed about my job. In the past several years, as the district budget has grown tighter, I have gotten little or no raises. Not even cost of living. OK, I love my job, I can handle this. Our supply budgets have gotten smaller and smaller. That hurts my family’s already tight budget, but I spend large amounts of my “time off” during the summer to shop all the sales so I can get more for my buck. My own personal buck that is. This year we had to increase our class sizes and move a teacher to another site: 24 students instead of 20 — more work, more time, more stress — but I’ve made it work. In March, we lost our evening custodian. I now have my students stop working a little earlier each day so they can do extra cleaning around our room, so it’s not as much of a burden on our amazing lead custodian who is trying to do even more work than he already did. I even do extra cleaning after school and bought a small vacuum to catch what the kids don’t. All at an additional cost—time, stress, money—for myself and my family. I do it because I love my job and I love my students.
Now I’m hearing that teachers are refusing to make “concessions” in our difficult financial situation. I’m sorry, but what about all those things I’m already doing to help out? Don’t they count as concessions? Next year you tell me that I will have 29 students in my class. More concessions! When RTA declines a demand for teachers to take three furlough days, we are criticized. I didn’t go into teaching to get pats on the back. I get all the thanks I need from the looks on my students faces. I also didn’t go into teaching to be made out as a villain when I’ve done everything possible to help. All these concessions are hurting my family and me, financially and emotionally.
Is it really necessary to dig the knife in even further with furlough days, permanent pay cuts, and less benefits? The district’s latest offer could mean a permanent pay cut of 13-18% for many of our teachers. I know that would cripple my own family, and I’m sure most other teachers are in similar positions.
Please stop and think about what this is doing to all of us. All the teachers are asking for is a fair and reasonable settlement, based on actual numbers, not the district’s over inflated projections that have proven year after year to be ridiculously exaggerated.
Sharon Sutton, Ramona Reasons teachers left board meeting The article in last week’s edition concerning the school board meeting included a quote by a community member: “They don’t want to hear what the county has to say. They don’t care. All they care about is the teachers.” There was one reason that sea of blue-shirted teachers were there and several reasons for the timing of our departure. We were there to show our support of the message that our association president, Donna Braye-Romero, gave to the board. It has been publicly said that not all members agree with the official position taken by the Ramona Teachers Association. Few, if any groups, always have 100% agreement. We wanted to show that Ramona teachers are overwhelmingly in accord on this issue. We left when we did to show our disagreement with the district’s math. They have a history of projecting gloom and doom, only to find money to balance the budget later on. We are not saying that the district is not in trouble, but we are dubious as to the extent. Please refer to Mr. David Patterson’s letter in last week’s paper for more information on the district’s financial situation. Also, we left to show our disagreement with how the district is bargaining with the teachers. There are clear rules as to how negotiations are handled, and the district is not adhering to those rules. Finally, we left because we were not finished with our jobs for the day. We had papers to grade, report cards to write, and lessons to plan. We left to attend to our most important duty: educating Ramona’s children.
Carolyn McNulty, Ramona Boys & Girls Club thanks supporters The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego’s Rhythm & Vine, presented by the Tomlinson Foundation, is a one-day music, wine, and food festival that offers award-winning wines from more than 30 wine and spirit purveyors, as well as samplings from over 25 restaurant and gourmet food companies. The evening event includes musical performances, food, fun, libations, and an impressive silent auction. Since its beginning in 2009, Rhythm & Vine has attracted more than 4,000 attendees, as well as over 350 exhibitors and 300 volunteers from surrounding communities. Thank you to everyone who participated in our 2012 Rhythm & Vine Festival. The evening was filled was fun, food, and libations. The event was another success, with over 700 people attending and raising over $108,000. This year, the event was held at the Broadway Pier in San Diego for the first time. The pier was turned into a hot-spot of sensational wines and spirits, first-class cuisine, and masterful live musical performances. This year, top chef Brian Malarkey was the special guest host and musical guests featured Crossroads and Lee Coulter.
Jonathan Greene, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater San Diego County needs plan for solar projects Regarding solar “farms” and zoning exceptions, our state’s efforts to develop 33 percent of energy through renewable resources has contributed to an increase in solar energy production. This is a positive development. With the Million Solar Roofs initiative, solar energy production is encouraged on a small scale. With the expansion of California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard, solar farms have also proliferated. Solar farms move energy production from unremarkable onsite collection and use to substantial collection and “distribution,” a commercial application (Wholesale Distributed Generation) through an industrial design. The county and our local cities have land zoned for commercial/industrial use. Locations such as the South Poway Business Park are already designated for this type of use. Commercial/light industrial operations located within these “parks” are compatible with their neighborhood. When a business or resident requests an exception to their property zoning, ideally they are working to improve and remain in character with the neighborhood in spite of the current zoning restrictions. If the exception would not fulfill those goals for the neighborhood, it should be denied. It is time for the county to plan, develop and solicit agreement with our communities on placement of these welcomed green technologies within a larger context than the piecemeal — one project at a time — process currently in place. There needs to be a more cohesive process of how all this will work and look within communities — a process for implementing these new technologies into our living spaces.
Robin Joy Maxson, Ramona