District faces teachers’ strike
A district is only as good as its teachers.
Ramona Unified proposes one solution to its debt problems — decreasing teachers’ salaries 8% this year and 9.5% for the next two. The superintendent and majority of board members refuse to explore other avenues of revenue — reducing stipends, early retirement incentives, reevaluation of superintendent’s compensation — or any of a host of teachers’ suggestions. RUSD said it “has no interest” in putting another bond before voters in negotiations, though they state otherwise in the UT.
Board members increased Graeff’s compensation to $200,591 at the last board meeting. As reported, his compensation is one of the highest in the county, though he administers a relatively small district.
Not surprisingly, the district faces a teachers’ strike.
Will RUSD meet its goal of “solvency” if teachers earn 9.5% less? Today, its teachers’ salaries rank 21 of 40 in San Diego County. Salaries will fall to 36 of 40. Our finest, new teachers are looking for positions down the hill. Who will replace them? Will the “best and brightest” come to one of the lowest-paying districts? Will student teachers travel to Ramona for internships and stay? As a university supervisor and cooperating teacher, I assure you, they will not.
Studies show teacher experience is the greatest predictor of student achievement. Years of high class sizes, drastic cuts and split assignments have made teaching difficult even for veterans. Losing 9.5% of salaries, experienced teachers cannot continue to produce academic results while working at Home Depot and struggling to make ends meet.
With inept, new teachers and experienced teachers stretched beyond their limits, test scores will plummet. People will leave Ramona’s public schools. Families will opt for Poway, the tax base will fall, and Ramona’s schools will have less money to fund quality education. High scores and awards and commendations will be things of the past.
Graeff and other administrators are interviewing for positions elsewhere. They hope not be here to see the damage done to our community, its teachers and its children.
A district is only as good as its teachers. And quality has a price.
Olive Peirce Middle School Teacher
Former Distinguished Teacher in Residence, California State University, San Marcos
Time to leave our one-horse townRegarding “Ramona’s no longer a one-horse town” in the Jan. 24 issue. Mr. Cook, I have one word for you — Temecula. I’m sure your same thought process was given there before it was turned into the gross urban sprawl that now exists. I’ve been a Ramona resident for 18+ years, and like many, moved here to get away from such a place, the old argument about the Roads is just that, and your comment about ”Ramona street improvement would provide a better” head of steam "so you can drive by it more quickly” is just plain Irresponsible. What are you thinking when you suggest to SPEED UP on a road when this is the cause of most of the traffic collisions in this area?? Mr. Cook, I have one more word for you — RELOCATE — and leave us to our One Horse Town. Might I suggest Temecula, sounds like your kind of place.
A country town, not a one-horse townI keep reading about San Diego Country Estates residents and the SDCE Board going back and forth on the San Vicente Road project. I have lived in Ramona almost 45 years. This road is not just for the people who live in the Estates. I’ve traveled the road long before the Estates was even in the picture, as many others have. The people traveling to Barona are not what puts the burden on the road, as Mr. Cook in a previous letter says. I don’t believe the construction on San Vicente Road only affects people who live on San Vicente Road or in the Estates. The traffic will probably be diverted by my house as it does when accidents happen. In the past two years the traffic on my street has doubled daily as people are using it to go the back way into the Estates, probably because it is straight and can go faster. This road does not have the surface to accommodate the traffic. I drove professionally into the Estates for years. I had to watch out for people speeding, making California stops (if even that), and golf carts driving on the street. I would like to address a couple other remarks by Mr. Cook. As far as a few trees, it’s a lot more than a few trees. “Firewood for all” is ridiculous. Then we have the horse trailers traveling at 20 mph. These people have precious cargo in their trailer. Maybe the parents with their special cargo should follow their lead and slow down. And if people are in that much of a hurry, perhaps they should leave a little earlier to anticipate things like this. The short distance probably would only put you back 5 or 10 minutes. Making remarks about the condition of people’s property, dust from dirt roads, not having decent restaurants leads me to believe you and others that feel the same should perhaps move to the city, as Ramona is still a country town. That is why a lot of us moved here. Also, the back-up traffic on San Vicente at school time is mostly people coming out of SDCE. My comments on the San Vicente Road project are: I think the area from San Vicente and Warnock should be widened, not straightened, to accommodate turn lanes for those people who live along that area. In my opinion, as like Highway 67 it’s the people who speed who make it dangerous. The speed could be lowered to 45 or 40 mph. Also, I really don’t need my water bill going up to accommodate moving pipes, etc.
To stop the carnage, stop the speedingI realize politicians, public employees and others (who speak in terms of millions, billions and trillions as though revenue is infinite) seem to think the $40 million for 2.2 miles is chump change. Think about it as being able to put a patrol officer, vehicle, radar guns and speed cameras on the road 24 hours a day for almost 200 years. Adding ticket revenue would increase the coverage. Do you think we would be speeding, texting, drinking or otherwise distracted knowing there is an officer somewhere along the approximate 3 miles? Another perspective; 3 miles at 60 mph equals 3 minutes; 3 miles at 45 mph is 4 minutes. Is it worth injury or life to gain 1 minute or less while driving this terribly “dangerous and badly engineered” stretch of country road? Admitting I have no absolute data, my uneducated conclusion is that single vehicle accidents are almost always the fault of the driver. You want to stop the carnage? Stop the speeding.
A different perspectiveSomeone wrote to the Sentinel stating “all Obama could have aspired to in early America was to break the shackles of slavery.” The book “Black Firsts” contains stories of thousands of people who were the first blacks to achieve their specific accomplishment. Some date back to the 1600s. Many have followed in their footsteps. Obama achieved a Black First when he was proclaimed first black President of the U.S. There is a wealth of information relating to black history on the website National Black Republican Association www.nbsa.info, which details the actions of Democrat and Republican parties with regard to Black Americans. This is history worth learning. Many misconceptions can be corrected by reading truths recorded on this website. While Barack Obama has achieved high office, I am disappointed he hasn’t used his unique opportunity as the first bi-racial president to encourage camaraderie among the races. He has chosen to create division among Americans by engaging in class warfare and on occasion has revealed racial bias. The writer to the Sentinel mentioned Obama’s compassion and sincerity. While serving in the Illinois Legislature, Obama voted against the Born Alive Protection Act, which would give a baby born alive during an abortion legal protection as a human and medical assistance. He said the intent was for the baby to die and he was concerned this bill would interfere with abortion rights. Is this compassion? Killing unborn babies because they would be an inconvenience is, in my mind, a heinous crime against innocent humans deprived of representation, as are the methods used to kill them. Life is our most precious gift. A baby’s heart begins beating on the 18th day from conception. Where is their right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness? Obama proclaimed for at least two weeks after the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador in Libya it was caused by a video, when the whole world knew it was an act of terrorism. Is this sincerity? Many government actions have occurred during the past four years which cause concern that President Obama and his administration are placing personal ambition above the interests of the American people and are threatening our Constitutional protections.