San Carlos School Teacher Contract Negotiations: Two Sides to the Story.

February 24, 2010


If you are on the San Carlos School District email distribution list, you most likely received the following email that announced that negotiations between the  San Carlos School District (SCSD) and the San Carlos School District had reached an impasse:

Dear San Carlos Community Members,

I write to give you an update on the status of negotiations for the 2010-2011 school year between the San Carlos School District (SCSD) and the San Carlos Teachers Association (SCTA). As of this week, the parties have reached “Impasse” in the negotiations. I want to give some context to what this means and describe for you our next steps.

Many of you have heard me say these are extraordinary times and resolving our current financial crisis will require extraordinary measures. It is understandable, therefore, that this year’s negotiations would require much discussion and debate. It was evident in our last negotiating session, however, that no new ideas were being exchanged, and it became clear that these discussions would not yield results. Because of this, the District decided to file paperwork stating that the parties had reached Impasse. This is a required step to move the process to the next phase.

I realize you will likely have a number of questions regarding this matter, so I have put together a fact sheet to address a few questions you may have:

What is the reality of the current budget situation in our school district?
The California state budget situation has gotten progressively worse throughout this year. When we approved this year’s budget in June 2009, we believed we had at least a $700,000 budget shortfall for 2010-2011 that would have to be addressed in order to continue to stay above our required 3% reserve level and to stop deficit spending. That $700,000 problem has now grown to a $2.8 million problem, as per the governor’s latest budget proposal.

Because of the severity of this problem, the Board voted earlier this year to accept my recommendation to immediately eliminate five administrative positions at the District Office. I was deeply saddened to see these wonderful people and highly valued positions go; but given the magnitude of the crisis, this move was necessary to keep cuts as far away from the classroom as possible. In addition, at the School Board Meeting on January 26, the administration and the Board discussed the prospect of additional revenue enhancements and restructuring of some programs. These program changes would include reducing the elementary music program, cutting back library support, reducing time for Middle School Vice Principals, just to name a few.

The combination of the central office staff reduction (approx savings: $650K), the restructuring of out-of-classroom programs (approx savings: $750K), and additional revenue enhancements (approx: $250K) will take care of nearly 60% ($1.6 million ) of our total budget problem, but it still leaves us with a $1.2 million shortfall.

Since roughly 80% of all district expenses are personnel-related, the only significant area for reduction the District has left to consider is compensation. This could include a combination of salary reductions (including some furlough days), or the elimination of certain positions across all employee groups, including further cuts to district administration, to teachers and/or classified staff.

What was the substance of the negotiations between SCSD and SCTA?
SCTA and the District have been meeting over the past several months to negotiate changes to existing labor contracts. The parties had already negotiated wages and furlough days for the current school year. Therefore, the District’s proposals have been focused only on next school year (2010-2011).

Given the magnitude of our current budget crisis, the District’s proposal to SCTA had to amount to the equivalent of a 7% reduction in total costs/compensation, across the board. This could come in many forms and combinations, including salary reduction, furlough days, elimination of positions (increasing class sizes), and freezing expected salary increases for next year (also known as “step” raises). While these are certainly painful cuts, the total compensation reduction to teachers would represent only 35% of the total budget problem.

The negotiating teams of the District and the SCTA last met on February 8th. The SCTA repeated its last offer that there be no compensation changes in the 2010-2011 school year, and rejected the various proposals brought to the table by the District. Without an exchange of proposals for 2010-2011, the District’s next step was to inform the state that the parties have reached Impasse.

What does Impasse really mean?
“Impasse” is a defined step in a process required by California Government Code to begin a process to resolve disputes in negotiations between a school district and any bargaining unit (union) representing employees of that district. As part of the Impasse process, the State assigns a mediator to bring the parties together and attempt to mediate negotiations and look to find agreement. It will take some time for the State to assign a mediator and additional time to have the required mediated negotiations. Due to the fiscal crisis, a large majority of school districts in California will reach Impasse with their bargaining units this year.

What happens next?
Either the mediator will bring the parties to agreement or he/she will fail to do so. If the mediator determines that a settlement is unlikely to be reached, he/she will move the process to the next stage, known as Fact Finding. In Fact Finding, a neutral third party will be appointed by the State to conduct a series of sessions with all parties and gather all relevant information. After his/her study of the issue, the Fact Finder will present a recommendation to the School Board. Such recommendation could be close to either party’s position or somewhere in the middle. This is not, however, a binding recommendation – the School Board can ultimately accept or reject such implementation. If the School Board rejects the Fact Finding recommendation, the District has the ability to implement its last and best offer to the bargaining unit.

What are other issues with the timeline?
These processes (Impasse and Fact Finding) could continue well into summer. In the end, the District is still required to meet its statutory obligations such as delivering a budget by June 30, 2010, and, most importantly, being ready to open the schools in late August. Given this, it was important that the parties either make immediate progress or act swiftly to move the process forward, in order to reduce uncertainties for all concerned– the District and its employees, community members, and students– and develop a prudent and realistic budget for next year.

What can you do?
I encourage you to attend future School Board meetings where the budget will be discussed. Although specific discussions about negotiations will happen in “closed session,” all general budget discussions and recommendations, as well as approval of any final employee contracts or lay-offs will happen in open sessions. A schedule of future Board meetings is posted on our Agenda Online site at

If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact me. I can be reached at

Warm Regards,

Craig Baker, Superintendent
San Carlos School District

The SCTA's Position:

Yesterday, the San Carlos Teacher's Association issued the following update on the negotiation session:

Dear San Carlos Parents and Community Members,
The 2009-2010 Teachers Negotiations Team met with the San Carlos School District on Monday, February 8, 2010.  In that negotiations session, the District made the following proposals:

  • Reduce all teacher’s salaries 4.08% 2010-2011 (in addition to the furlough days)
  • 4 furlough days for 2010 – 2011, resulting in an addition 2% reduction in pay.
  • Increase class sizes, K-4 (unspecified time period)
  • Make all 5th and 6th grade classes self-contained
  • Retirement incentive
  • Freeze contractual step increases 2010-2011 (increases gained through professional development and years of experience)

San Carlos Teachers are concerned about the proposals for the following reasons:

  • Raising class size is detrimental to students and is unacceptable to the community.
  • Self-contained classes at the middle school would create more problems than it would solve: requiring teachers to teach outside of their area of specialization and training.
  • The district is seeking cuts based on hypothetical projections about next year’s budget.  We are bargaining for this year, 2009-2010.
  • Teachers should not be asked to take salary cuts when administrators have been offered bonuses for this year and next.
  • Teachers agreed to take 0% salary increase for ’08-’09 and are willing to accept 0% increase for this year.

We have shown our willingness to compromise by taking a salary reduction in the form of 2 furlough days for our current school year. The district walked away from the table, refusing to discuss these matters further.  To our disappointment, they served SCTA with impasse papers.

We remain focused on settling this year’s contract before we move forward to solving the crisis we face in education for the 2010–2011 school year.

Next Steps?

From Dr. Baker's memo to the parents, he pretty clearly outlines what the next steps in this process will likely be. Note that these discussions could last well into the summer, casting some shadow on the status of the 2010-2011 school year in San Carlos. I'll be watching this closely and will update the site as more news becomes available.

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  1. Frank on February 24, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Teachers need to understand that everyone is taking a hit. A lot of my co workers are working either 4 out of 5 days or 9 out of 10 days. What’s the big deal with four furloughed days? What needs to happen is for the Wednesday’s “professional development” or half day school sessions to be discontinued. Parents could do their part by focusing on helping their kids academically instead of wasting time and money on after school athletics.

  2. Tess on February 25, 2010 at 12:34 am

    Why do teachers whine about large class sizes? Do they realize that teachers in India and China teach 50 kids per classroom without whimpering. What makes it interesting is that these kids whip our American kids to shame in math and science.

  3. Arn Cenedella on February 25, 2010 at 1:46 am

    This is a very tough issue.
    We all want the best for our kids.
    We all understand the importance of education.
    I believe the overwhelming majority of teachers are passionate about their students.
    Yes, teaching is a way to make a living but it is also a calling for most teachers.
    And unfortunately, the budget problems have been created by the state and federal government that we in San Carlos have no control over.
    And I don’t think the answer will come down to “how much we think a teacher is worth? or “how much a teacher thinks he or she is worth”.
    At this time, given the economy and the financial condition of our state and federal government, it is not a matter of worth or fair pay. I am NOT saying this is right! I am just saying this is the way IT IS.
    Ultimately, the SCSD Board will determine how much money they have to pay teachers in the coming year.
    Whatever this number is the SCSD Board can’t promise to pay the teachers with money they don’t have.
    And I think it should becoming increasingly clear that we will run this country into the ground if we keep spending money we don’t have. For far too long, our politicians have spent MILLIONS and BILLIONS of dollars WILLY NILLY they don’t have on this project and that – but mainly aimed at assuring their re-election. This has to stop!
    It seems to me the Board needs to present these numbers to the teachers – open their books to the teacher representatives – show the teachers what the money is and where it comes from.
    Perhaps an agreement can be reached that would say if the SCSD was to receive an unexpected sum of money from the State or from Uncle Sam or from some other source during the course of the year, that this additional revenue would be used to increase the pay to teachers.
    So if the teachers need to take a cut in pay now based on the best numbers available now, if it turns out more revenue was received, the teachers could share in this unexpected increased revenue.
    Not sure, this could work and might be the fairest solution.

  4. bill on February 25, 2010 at 3:52 am

    Tess, if kids in the U.S. were brought up appropriately at home as in China and India, then teachers here could probably handle larger class sizes. But sadly, kids’ behavior today is out of control, due to absent parents, indulgent lifestyles, lack of discipline and no teaching of respect for authority. Throw in the “mainstreaming” of kids with emotional issues and forced socioeconomic integration and you have a real mess in the classroom. And unfortunately, teachers have limited disciplinary options to correct this behavior, like corporal punishment and demotion that are prevalent in the two countries you mention. That’s why teachers whine about class size.

  5. uberVU - social comments on February 25, 2010 at 5:48 am

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by WhiteOaksBlog: New Post on the White Oaks Blog: San Carlos School Teacher Contract Negotiations: Two Sides to the Story.

  6. PRM on February 25, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Bill, I volunteer in my child’s school and you might be surprised to learn that my observation of children, at least in the school environment, is quite different from what I can only assume has been your experience (and not just unsubstantiated opinion). My observation of parents and siblings of students is that they too are very engaged in the educational process – from fundraising to volunteering time in the classroom, at PTA, etc. these families are certainly not absent. There are certainly varying levels of learning ability that the teachers do their best to accommodate and I know from leading student group projects that it is not easy even at current class sizes. Additionally our school is I guess what you would characterize as “suffering” from serving a diverse group of families from various socioeconomic backgrounds – in truth (and I live it, whereas I question whether or not you do) is that the diverse student body is anything but detrimental to my child’s educational experience in the SC schools. The experience is far from the mess you declare it to be.

    It is saddening to read the commentary here (and you certainly aren’t the only contributor) about people’s perceptions of how SC families raise their children – what a dark world it must be for those of you who can’t see anything in our community beyond unruly hellions and the over-indulgent, clueless parents who spawn them.

  7. Sanjay on February 25, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    As an immigrant indian, my perspective and experience spans both cultures. Bill is absolutely right on all points. It starts from the home, where parents have the responsibility of guiding their children and where most have failed. In this country, well to-do parents are more motivated to enroll their children in after school athletics that carry on till 10 p.m. on school nights. So, when are the kids studying or doing their homework? What kind of quality work are they turning in. My daughter was in an eight grade history class at Tierra Linda where half the class was falling asleep because they were on some CY soccer team. Eventually, the teacher gave up and started watering down the assignments. Are they studying to pass a test or studying to learn? In China and India, parents emphasize the academics first and athletics last. Poor and rich parents have the same motivations. If you don’t believe me, then check the difference between San Carlos/Belmont and Foster City public libraries. In Foster City, hordes of immigrant children are seated doing homework, studying. In San Carlos/Belmont, hordes of kids are at the computers playing videogames, Facebook, YouTube etc, but very few are actually doing studying at the tables.

    That is the very essence of K-12 education in America.

  8. Mark Olbert on February 26, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Some data for people to think about:

    The San Carlos School District ranks 56th in the State based on the latest API scores. That’s out of a total of 1,003 districts.

    APIs don’t tell the whole story of any district. But the part of the story they tell, for San Carlos, is quite good.

    So the schools, the community, the parents — and the kids! — are doing something right. In fact, they are probably doing many things right.

    There’s always room for improvement. But it’s also important to reflect on what’s been accomplished, with relatively little in the way of resources (e.g., the District is the 3rd worst funded district in San Mateo County).

    – Mark

  9. Tomas on February 26, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    San Carlos may rank 56th in the state, but California education is ranked in the lowest third out of 51 states. I’m from Boston and I reluctantly dragged my family here because of a job transfer. After observing the quality between the school assignments, we’re sending them back. You can squawk all you want about funding, but the end result is the same. I’m sorry to tell you this, but San Carlos would rank in the bottom third when comapared to many school districts in Mass.

    California K-12 education is inferior and that’s the bottom line. The only thing left is the world’s greatest public university: the University of Californis. But it soon getting dismembered with the state budget crisis.

  10. MC on March 5, 2010 at 9:51 am

    I have to agree with Bill and Sanjay. I work in the classroom too, about 30 hours per month split between 2nd grade and 4th grade class. I observe many unruly children. However, I observe very well mannered children too. Many of the 4th graders do not listen to the teacher, nor do they always turn in their homework on time. However, several of them are in so many sports it’s crazy.

    In the second grade class, there are quite a few kids that are constantly disrupting the class and need to be talked to by teacher. This takes away precious teaching time. I do have to say though, some of the disruptions are made by Indian, Chinese and Japanese kids too. But, yes, some of the highest achievers in that class are French, Japanese, Chinese and Indian.

    Our focus for our children is education absolutely FIRST and then fun and community service. We do kind of a public school/home school approach. In my opinion, the public schools are not enough… and it’s not the teachers fault.

    When I see so many kids in so many sports, I do believe many American’s have lost their way to being on top… but maybe that’s not the most important. However, respect should remain important. It also seems like many kids have a sense of entitlement. Wow, just wait til they all grow up and see what a mess their older generations have left them! Then, they are going to wish they payed more attention in school, to solve these big problems.

    One last note… when I hear that administrators/principals are getting raises and bonuses while teachers are getting freezes, furloughs and cuts… that’s just infuriates me. Maybe I should give my donation money directly to the teachers!

  11. Seth on March 5, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    MC — to be clear, the information about administrators is just incorrect. There weren’t any bonuses granted to administrators. In fact, any salary cut that a teacher may get would happen across the board, from the Superintendent on down. The Superintendent had an incentive payment in his contract signed last year, but even he agreed to defer that because of the budget crisis. And no other administrators get any kind of bonus payment. Lastly, a few months ago the district already cut about 25% of the entire District office staff!

  12. MC on March 5, 2010 at 5:06 pm


    In the article above, it states in the bullet from the SCTA’s perspective:

    *”Teachers should not be asked to take salary cuts when administrators have been offered bonuses for this year and next.”

    Is that a false statement?

    I am aware of the staff cuts at the district office, and although it’s sad to hear, it shows the ability of our superintendent to make the hard choices. But, I’ve also heard that while some principals are getting raises, teachers are being asked to take cuts… correct me if I’m wrong… because I’ve heard this from more than one person and I believe my sources are reliable.

    I’m curious about another issue here. Why did California lose out on the Race to the Top Stimulus Funding??? Anyone know? That really surprised me.

  13. Seth on March 5, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    MC — Yes, the statement is incorrect. No principals are getting raises — in fact, they will all be getting salary cuts. As to why California didn’t get the RTTT money, there’s no way to know for sure — the Federal government will give back the states their applications and their “score” (with comments) after April, so we’ll have a better idea then. However, most education leaders predicted that CA for had very little chance for many reasons. I wrote about this a bit on my blog as well (

  14. Greg H St Claire on March 16, 2010 at 4:05 am

    This article in the Wall Street Journal sums up why we are in such a mess. If you look a few years out into the future these cuts are going to be even more dramatic.

    California’s College Dreamers
    When will students figure out the politicians have sold them out?

    Hundreds of University of California students rallied against a 32% tuition hike last week. Let’s hope their future employers get a better work product. With just a little research, the students could have discovered that compensation packages won from the state by unions were a big reason for the hike.

    Last year, the state cut funding to the 10-campus system to $2.6 billion from $3.25 billion. To make up for the reduction in state funding, the UC Board of Regents increased tuition to $10,300, about triple 1999’s cost.

    Understandably, students have gone wild. The UC system is supposed to offer low- and middle-income students a cheaper alternative to a private college education. Now a year at a UC school can cost students as much as at many private schools.

    Students block Sather Gate on the University of California at Berkeley campus Thursday, March 4, 2010.

    Who’s to blame? UC President Mark Yudof rightly notes he had no other means of closing the university’s budget gap. The university used $300 million in reserves last year and cut staff salaries by furloughing them between 11 and 26 days this year. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says “we’ve done everything we could, but the bottom line is it’s not enough. We need to put pressure on the legislature not only this year in a year of crisis, but in the future.”

    The California legislature? Good luck with that. In 1999, the Democratic legislature ran a reckless gamble that makes Wall Street’s bankers look cautious. At the top of a bull market, they assumed their investment returns would grow at a 8.25% rate in perpetuity—equivalent to assuming that the Dow would reach 25,000 by 2009—and enacted a huge pension boon for public-safety and industrial unions.

    The bill refigured the compensation formula for pension benefits of all public-safety employees who retired on or after January 1, 2000. It let firefighters retire at age 50 and receive 3% of their final year’s compensation times the number of years they worked. If a firefighter started working at the age of 20, he could retire at 50 and earn 90% of his final salary, in perpetuity. One San Ramon Valley fire chief’s yearly pension amounted to $284,000—more than his $221,000 annual salary.

    In 2002, the state legislature further extended benefits to many nonsafety classifications, such as milk and billboard inspectors. More than 15,000 public employees have retired with annual pensions greater than $100,000. Who needs college when you can get a state job and make out like that?

    In the last decade, government worker pension costs (not including health care) have risen to $3 billion from $150 million, a 2,000% jump, while state revenues have increased by 24%. Because the stock market didn’t grow the way the legislature predicted in 1999, the only way to cover the skyrocketing costs of these defined-benefit pension plans has been to cut other programs (and increase taxes).

    This year alone $3 billion was diverted from other programs to fund pensions, including more than $800 million from the UC system. It is becoming clear that in the most strapped liberal states there’s a pecking order: Unions get the lifeboats, and everyone else gets thrown over the side. Sorry, kids.

    Get ready for more. The governor’s office projects that over the next decade the annual taxpayer contributions to retiree pensions and health care will grow to $15 billion from $5.5 billion, and that’s assuming the stock market doubles every 10 years. With unfunded pension and health-care liabilities totaling more than $122 billion, California will continue chopping at higher-ed.

    Mr. Schwarzenegger has routinely called for pension reform, but the Democratic legislature has tossed aside the Terminator like a paper doll. Last year, he proposed rescinding the lucrative pension pay-off for new employees, which he estimated would reduce pension pay-outs by $74 billion and health-care benefits by $19 billion through 2040. More recently, he called for doubling state worker contributions to their pensions to 10% from the current 5% of their pay. But these propositions have little traction in the legislature.

    California has a governor’s race on, and the candidates are semi-mum on this catastrophe. Democratic candidate Jerry Brown has supported modifying public employee benefits but hasn’t offered specific proposals and opposes defined contribution plans. Republican Meg Whitman supports increasing the retirement age to 65 from 55 and asking employees to contribute more to their benefits, but she won’t support a reform ballot measure for fear it would drive up union turn-out in November.

    Memo to marching students: The governor can’t save you. You guys need a new legislature. This one is selling you out. Organize an opposition and vote them out in November. Plan B is quit school and become a state billboard inspector.

  15. arn cenedellla on March 16, 2010 at 6:14 pm


    I totally agree with most of your comments. The issues you discuss and the cause of these problems is spot on.

    That being said, this problem is not just due to Democrats. Republicans certainly have contributed to this rapidly approaching disaster.

    The issue is NOT Dems GOOD and Repubs BAD. Neither is it Dems BAD Repubs GOOD.

    Politicians from both fighters try to distract us from what they BOTH are doing. As all as Americans are fighting each other, they will be better able to continue to receive boatloads of campaign cash in return for supporting certain special interests that have little or no concern about what is best for our country.

    Dems tend to support public employee unions lawyers and those on the government dole.
    Repbs tend to support insurance companies large corporations defense contractors.

    Both parties approve sending absurd to their own special interest groups so they can be re-elected and spend 40 years in Congress – living the life of royalty.

    Does anyone honestly believe this is NOT the TRUTH?

    To the degree we continue to fight DEM v REP or LIB v CONSERV, the politicians will keep looting our national productivity for their own personal benefit.

    IMHO, this has to stop and at some point the US people need to draw a line in the sand and say NO MORE business as usual.

    Does anyone honestly believe that if we allow this to continue there won’t be even greater problems in the future?

  16. Kat on March 18, 2011 at 2:06 am

    However….. these countries have different cultures. They respect and listen to teacher. They are brought up to value teachers and education. Teachers in the USA don’t have that privilege. We have parents who don’t care about education, don’t help their children at home, or take them out of school for a family vacation for 2 weeks. Teachers also don’t have protection from kids who disrupt the learning of other students. Everyone blames the teacher.. try teaching 40 students in a classroom who don’t want to be there and don’t have any consequences for not doing anything.

  17. Cris on March 18, 2011 at 5:10 pm


    The question was posed to Mr. Olbert recently about the Superintendent being considered for a bonus and he said: “…Last year, for example, the Board looked to Craig’s handling of the boundary changes and the District’s financial situation, as well as student achievement. We concluded he more than achieved the goals we set for him and had earned the incentive…”

  18. Seth on March 20, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Chris — to answer your question. The Board did indeed agree that Dr. Baker had more than met his goals, but he voluntarily agreed to defer payment of his incentive payment due to the budget crisis.

  19. Cris on March 21, 2011 at 3:19 am

    Seth – I’m sure Dr. Baker is grateful for his job, for his salary, and any perks he may receive; however, with the constant bombardment of SCEF requests, parcel tax renewals, new parcel taxes, larger classroom sizes, and the fact that our teachers, who are on the front-line and being faced with the possibilities of lay-offs, no matter their performance, is unacceptable. I think you can imagine the surprise by those of us who pay property taxes, who contribute to SCEF, who approve of parcel tax renewals, and new parcel taxes to hear that a bonus is even being considered. That’s nice of him to defer last year – will he do the same this year seeing that we’re still in a budget crisis?

  20. Seth on March 21, 2011 at 3:42 am

    Chris — this is obviously a very bad forum to have this debate…but I do have to say that you are really looking at this the wrong way. First of all, incentive compensation is part of his (and almost every Superintendet’s) compensation — look at it more as just a part of his salary that he has to earn rather than a “bonus” which is something extra. Secondly, Dr. Baker is probably one of the best — if not the best — superintendent in the entire county, and if anything I would postulate that most people who have worked with him think the greater concern is that he is underpaid — we certainly don’t want him leaving us for a higher paying job somewhere else. Through his work and leadership, we have actually AVOIDED the the level of teacher salary cuts and layoffs that have happened in almost every town around us. His efforts have personally brought in more than half a million dollars in extra revenue! In my opinion, he is worth every penny we pay him and more. I’d be happy to give you more of the facts and the context in person — feel free to e-mail me at and I’d be happy to talk with you on the phone or meet in person to discuss. And of course, that offer is open to anyone reading this blog.

  21. Chuck Gillooley on March 21, 2011 at 4:59 am

    “Bad forum”? Geez, I think I may have to take that personally 😉

  22. Cris on March 22, 2011 at 5:08 am

    Thank you for the reply. It sounds like we’re paying for an assumed fear of losing Dr. Baker. If he’s that good, what’s to stop him from moving on? For most of us, an incentive = a bonus. And for most of us, if money is tight, we don’t spend it.

  23. Seth on March 22, 2011 at 5:28 am

    No, you misunderstand. We’re not paying him in fear of losing him. I’m just saying he is worth every penny we pay him. His work creates much more value than he costs. That’s a smart business decision, regardless of whether money is tight or not.

  24. Abby on March 23, 2011 at 3:49 am

    EXACTLY!! This is exactly why I won’t be voting for ANY tax increases, bond measures, special fees, etc. Uncontrolled pensions are the elephant in the room. Until the pensions are addressed, no new taxes!!

  25. Cris on March 23, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Rather than telling us we’re incorrect, misunderstanding, or looking at things the wrong way, seeing things from our point of view would be appreciated. We certainly understand that in a perfect world we would love to hand-out incentive earned bonuses to Dr. Baker without any qualms whatsoever, given the great job he’s done! However, when we see the proposed reduction in service items on the chopping block this coming school year, namely: Middle School 5-8 Core, Middle School Computer Elective, Middle School Orchestra, Middle School Math, and K-4 Classroom Teachers, it’s hard not to feel SCEF’d and Measure A’d out!

  26. Seth on March 23, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    To be clear, I was saying you misunderstood what I wrote. Also, I’m not sure where you get your information about pending cuts (note that this original blog post by Chuck is actually over a year old). These reductions you mention will not happen this coming year. In fact, the March 15th deadline came and went with no layoffs that will affect any of these programs. The fact that we are able to minimize reductions compared to most other school districts is due to the hard work done by the administration and the SCTA as well as the success of the ed foundation and our existing parcel taxes. That is why Measure A is so crucial. So, I appreciate there is fatigue in regard to supporting all of these local measures, but it is far better than the alternative. And again, I invite you to contact me directly to have a dialog about what we do in the school district.

  27. Cris on March 24, 2011 at 2:18 pm

  28. Seth on March 24, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Chris — yes, I see where you got this information, but frankly these documents are hard to interpret unless one attends the board meeting and the presentation around each topic. In this particular case, the resolution was actually ammended so that the K-4 positions were removed from the list, so there will be no changes there. And as for other other 3 FTE, these layoff notices were not related to any reduction in programs — they were effectively a tightening of the master schedule at the middle schools (for example, there we some orchestra classes which were only half full, so we would reduce the number of periods for that class…it wouldn’t change the number of students who can take orchestra but rather just fill the classes a bit more). So, these were efficiencies that would have been taken regardless of whether there was a budget crisis or not. I would state that this is yet another example of improvements we’re making around the school district that have, in fact, mitigated the number of real reductions, meaning any reductions that affect students. Again, please anytime you have any questions or concerns about what’s going on, please do not hesistate to contact me directly — I’m more than happy to give you all of the context.

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