School Board Budget Decision

The Menifee Union School District, this evening, voted to close down Menifee Elementary School for the 2008/09 school year, as well as cutti...

The Menifee Union School District, this evening, voted to close down Menifee Elementary School for the 2008/09 school year, as well as cutting elementary counseling and elementary busing, in response to the Governor's proposal to reduce public school spending.

The decision came after last week's Board meeting where district staff announced that the reduction of state funds would translate to a $10 million deficit for our district. To make up that $10 million, the district was able to trim $5.68 million from various funds, including the elimination of several unfilled positions. In addition, they found they qualified for a $2 million grant from the State for being a multi-track school.

That still left the district with another $2.32 million to make up.

In last week's meeting (link), the district staff listed several services that could be cut to make up that deficit, but would require discussion from the Board, as well as public input.

This evening, the Board voted to cut the following...

  1. Close Menifee Elementary for 2008/09 ($509,557)


  2. Elimination of elementary counseling ($310,000)


  3. Eliminate elementary school busing ($1,600,000)

This totals up to $2,419,557.

The district also voted to offer limited elementary busing just for those students of Menifee Elementary that would have to be moved to Chester W Morrison. This would add $60,000 back on to the budget, reducing the savings to $2,359,557

Add that to the $5.68 million they already cut, and the $2 million in state grants, that gives us a total of $10,039,557. The exact figure is actually $10,035,293.

The Meeting

The Multi-Purpose Room of Menifee Middle School was about filled to capacity, and many more parents attended. The meeting spent about 90 minutes hearing comments from the public.

Quite a few parents, and children themselves, stepped up the podium, and implored the Board to keep Menifee Elementary School (MES) open. One girl wore a t-shirt with the words, "Save MES" painted in red. Other parents belted out the point that it made no sense to close MES after voters passed Measure B, raising taxes to build three more schools. Other parents pointed out that MES was recently nominated for California Distinguished School, and it would send the wrong message to shut it down.

The Board's decision to close down MES was made possible because of their decision to open up both Quail Valley and Southshore Elementaries. Students living Quail Valley currently attend MES, and therefore opening up Quail Valley would drop MES' enrollment low enough that it didn't warrant keeping it open. Other students now attending MES would be moved to Chester W Morrison Elementary.

Eliminating elementary busing was also made possible by the opening of Quail Valley and Southshore. A large chunk of busing expenses comes from transporting Quail Valley students to MES, and by opening up Quail Valley Elementary it makes a lot easier to eliminate busing altogether.

But because moving other MES students over to Chester W Morrison would create a transportation hardship for some families, the Board decided to offer elementary busing just for these students. Assistant Superintendent Dan Wood said that it would cost $60,000 over the 2008-2010 school years to offer this limited service.

The decision to cut elementary counseling appeared to have been an easy one. Even though the Board decided not to cut it last week, all five Board members were singing a different tune this week. Trustee Giardinelli said he had attended four elementary schools this past week, and spoke to several teachers who said that counseling was not well utilized, and that there's a heavy turn-over of counselors. Elementary counselors are currently provided by a contractor.

The District Administration added that they could delay their salary increases for the 2008/09 year, which would result in a savings of $90,000. However, it wasn't needed. But the Board voted to keep that on the table, for future considerations.

The issue of the reserves was frequently discussed. Trustee Twyman explained to the audience that the 15% reserve figure was something that existed before the District finalized its recent contract negotiations with the Menifee Teachers Association. That cut the reserves down to about 10.5%. That still left the District with 7.5% of reserves above the state minimum of 3%. He explained that the district administration already raided that 7.5% to come up with the $5.68 million of cost cutting. By law, they can't use the 3% to pay for normal operating costs.

Several parents and teachers suggested the "Golden Handshake", which is offering older teachers an early retirement. The district said that they already studied this at length, and that it would not result in cost savings. Assistant Superintendent Gil Compton said that he met with a consultant that offers these types of retirement packages, and they advised it would not make fiscal sense. It short, to encourage older teachers to retire early, they would have to offer large enough sums of money, that it would negate any cost savings.

The June 30 Deadline Factor

Trustee Twyman spoke to the audience to explain that the Governor's recommendation to cut back public school spending by 10% is simply a recommendation. It's ultimately up to the State Legislature to decide if they want to accept that recommendation. The Legislature is required by law to adopt a new budget by July 1, and it could very well be that they'll vote to make no cuts at all.

Trustee Giardinelli addressed the audience by saying that even though the State is required to have a budget in place by July 1, they'll likely not have one in place until months later, perhaps September, or even December. However, the School District does not have the luxury of postponing its budget.

Giardinelli went on to point out that if the State postpones its budget, the District is still required to move forward on its recommended budget cuts, as of July 1.

Trustee Twyman used this fact to argue that any cuts they make ought to be ones that can be quickly and easily reversed, should the State vote to make no school budget cuts. Therefore, he had recommended they keep MES open, on the grounds that once kids are moved over to Chester W Morrison, it would be logistically difficult (and expensive) to move them back over to MES. So he instead voted to cut middle school counseling, arguing that they could quickly reinstate it. Ultimately, he was outvoted.

The Next Step

Last night's meeting was pretty much it. All eyes are now on the State Legislature to see if they'll adopt the Governor's recommendations.

The School District is asking everyone to write or telephone our local state legislators and implore them not to make any cuts in school funding. You can contact them here...

State Senator, 36th District - Dennis Hollingsworth
27555 Ynez Road, Suite 204, Temecula CA 92591
Phone: (951) 676 1020
Fax: (951) 676 1030

State Assemblyman, 66th District - Kevin Jeffries
27555 Ynez Road, Suite 205, Temecula CA 92591
Phone: (951) 699 1113
Fax: (951) 694 1039

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Post a Comment

  1. I truly think the school board did not listen to any of the parents at tonights meeting. I was thered with my children and they just learned that money talks and the right walks. I will now be looking for private school for my child that went to MES with the vouches that are my rights THANK YOU MENIFEE SCHOOL DISTRICT for keeping your eyes closed and YOUR pockets open

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  2. I am assuming we have saved class size reduction and we will continue to have only 20 students per class? If so, then our voices were heard on that issue. The learning environment has to come first. It is sad to close MES in many ways. Chester is a good school. I am waiting for the rest you were going to publish....

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  3. I cannot believe the school board has made such a poor decision in closing MES. I guess the MES parents and students were not heard!

    I also notice no salary freezes or cuts for the DO!

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  4. Were Angela Stogner's figures correct tonight? How can the School Board close a school with that BIG of a reserve?

    What is going to happen with the bus drivers and the staff of MES? Will they have jobs next year?

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  5. With regards to what happens with the teachers of MES, they'll be moved to Chester Morrison. With regards to bus drivers, they're still needed for the middle school students.

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  6. Peters, Giardinelli and O'Donnell had their minds made up before they came to today's board meeting. They were unreasonable and refused to consider valuable options that would have been much less disruptive to education. Blogs following last week's meeting were strongly in favor of "postponing" the opening of the 2 new campuses. This would have also saved the district the most money without bus drivers losing jobs and children losing transportation. Thank you Mrs. Irey and Mr. Twymann for trying to present plans that made sense. Being the "oldest" school in the district does not mean that it is not the best one. How shameful to waste all that is at MES.

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  7. "The District Administration added that they could delay their salary increases for the 2008/09 year, which would result in a savings of $90,000. However, it wasn't needed. "

    Well of course they decided "it wasn't needed", how convienent for them that they get to keep their increase....

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  8. Could the school even afford to keep the new schools open after they are built with the bond money?

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  9. I am saddened that voices were not heard. They (the district admin) talk about being a family? Still no cuts, not even freezes at the top and closing a school that is up for top honors? Shame on them and Mr. Twyman for his poor explanation on the high % in reserve. Trying to have us believe they made cuts on positions that haven't even been funded, positions not even there and claiming this is a cut? Claiming the raise the teachers settled for comes from the reserve? It is COLA, that doesn't come from district reserve. I am sorry if there are some bus driver positions lost, but, as the "tall" gentleman stated, it is the parents responsibiity to get their child/children to school not the school districts'. At least they showed some smarts by saving class size reduction and valuable middle school counseling.

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  10. So are we losing bus transportation for the 08/09 school year only or also for 09-10?

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  11. We're losing busing for both years.

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  12. OK, the teachers move to Chester Morrison. What about the rest of the employees? What about the classified? Will they automatically go to the new schools?

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  13. Was anything mentioned about eventually going to traditional schedule?

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  14. I know of a good charter school that anyone can enroll their child in..I
    just enrolled my son there...
    River Springs Charter, its fully accredited and is located in Wildomar....check out their website...just put River Springs Charter in the search engine.

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  15. A story on the Californian said the administrators don't think they need to freeze their salary increases after they decide to close down a school to save money. After all it's a small pittance of $90,000! Is the Classified staff and Faculty getting salary increases? Of course not, we're in a budget crunch! How self centered and out of touch is that?

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  16. I attended the meeting last night and from what I can see they already had their minds made up before we got there. It was just a formality in my opinion. To close a school that is already established, up for the Distinguised School award, and doing so well is ridiculous to me. I am a Quail Valley parent who would benefit from the new school opening, I live right down the street from the new school. However, it makes more sense to me to keep Menifee Elementary open than to close it for 1 year. It is going to take the new schools time to establish programs that Menifee already has in place. If this closure is only for 1 year, then what is the big deal to delay opening the new schools for that time frame? Won't sending the Menifee students to Chester Morrison now overcrowd their school??? I am extremely upset that their pay freeze is being delayed!! THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE FIRST TO GO!! What about our 3 Asst. Superintendents? Cut one of them and that will save money right there. Other neighboring Districts do it with less Asst. Superintendents. Why can't we? Cuts should have been made in the District Administration Business office first. But of course not! Let's start with our students first. The only good thing that happened was not to increase the class sizes.

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  17. Moving to a traditional schedule is still the plan, although I don't know if the timeframe is still the same. They might push things back another year or two.

    As for layoffs at MES, I'm sure there are duplicatives like janitorial and administrative. They have to come up the $509,000 in savings somehow.

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  18. I'm sorry but this just doesn't pass the common sense test. We are overcrowded and broke, so lets close a school, spend money we don't have to open two new ones and push a bond measure through for even more. If there isn't enough money to support MES then how are they going to pay to operate five new schools. And if we are that overcrowded that they need all these new schools why close down Menifee Elem.

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  19. The buildings don't make the school, the people do!

    You watch... Most everyone displaced by the closure of MES will be moved to the new Quail Valley school.

    If it helps, think of it this way: MES is not closing, it's just moving.

    Most of the students, families, and teachers that have made MES a great place will continue to work together at the new facility.

    Yes, some kids will be attending Chester Morrison, but that's a nice school too. I'm sorry that you were the ones forced to make the greatest sacrifice, but your child's education will not suffer.

    The closing of a school can be very emotional, but faced with this economic situation, I think these tough decisions were the right ones made.

    Jobs and layoffs? Think about it... we're closing one school and opening two. I don't think many people will be losing work (or am I missing something?).

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  20. Yes, you are absolutely MISSING something. It is fundamentally wrong to tell our children that their school does not matter enough, and they will be subject to a move that may or may not be permanent, depending on how the school board feels on a particular day.

    I, along with many others, *refuse* to have our MES children and staff "absorbed" into another school.They are stand out individuals, and we will act accordingly in order to preserve the uniqueness of our campus family.

    It's not an emotional decision, prior poster. It is very quick and easy for you to tag it as that, when you are not the one involved here. Common sense says you don't overcrowd schools, polarize populations, and eliminate transportation to and from school, but keep salaries, and not volunteer to trim costs in creative ways.

    For every dollar of the admins' raises that they recieve, they should be forced to find matching contributions. No one saw it needed to cut the increases, yet there was no symbolic gesture to waive them, as a show of solidarity and sympathy for the families who are affected?

    COMMON SENSE AND COMMON COURTESY have been ignored.

    Imagine how different things would be if there were real estate and home builders punting kickbacks into Twyman and his cohorts pockets. But no. The economy is stagnant, people are greedy, and instead of preserving the history and traditions of the valley, we have board members who would rather sweep the kids under carpet and then most assuredly line up for photo ops when Menifee garners the publicity for the super center.They are hoping our "absorbed" students and staff will not remind the adoring, shopping public what they did.

    Parents, and teachers of MES, we will unite and do whats right for our school. We must to REFUSE to be thrown under the wheels of a bus that cannot even AFFORD THE GAS to run us over!

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  21. I too, am very disappointed with the board's decision. Why even have the meeting because they just sat there and acted like they were taking our input in, when all along...they had their minds made up from before the first meeting? Why waste everyone's time?
    I can't wait till re-election time where my input will be heard. Where was the district level cuts? Are they immune?

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  22. Notice how they waited until after Measure B to start meeting about the budget.

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  23. Thank you to everyone who is supporting Menifee Elementary.

    If you have experienced what goes on inside the walls at this great place, you know and feel what everyone is talking about and why saddness is being felt by all who are losing their "home" and "family". Menifee Elementary is truely a unique place with unique students and teachers. The staff has worked so hard together to establish high standards, high school spirit and a wonderful relationship with the families. Menifee Elementary is the heart and sole of this valley. It dates back over 50 years!

    It saddens me deeply to think that by the Boards standards, Ridgemoor's family is more important than Menifee's family. Ridgemoor spoke out and was able to keep their wonderful family together - no boundary changes until necessary. While Menifee Elementary family members were not heard. How unfortunate for all that have built that wonderful place up!!!!!

    Does the Board Members know what goes on at Menifee Elementary? Do they know what they are shutting down? Do they know how the teachers shape and mold their students on a daily basis? Have they walked through and seen for themselves? More than once?

    Menifee Valley is losing a GREAT school! Just ask those students, parents and teachers that make up the school.

    And now the Menifee tax payers have to continue to pay off the bond that helped build up Menifee Elementary with new buildings, a computer lab and library. What a waste of our hard-earned money. And we passed another bond?

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  24. Who says we are a Menifee Family?
    After lasts night meeting, it is evident that the elected board and school officials are NOT thinking of the big picture. Student safety to and from school should have been considered just as much on the forefront as class size, and other budget cuts. Those of you who spoke at the meeting regarding carpooling, are speaking from a priveledged stand point. There are numerous parents that do not have the luxury of being home to carpool their children, and live in communitees where two income families are required.

    How quickly we forget the two schools that were on lockdown due to a person locally locked up in a house with a gun at the same time as both schools approached dismissal: BMMS and CKE. The director of transportation, Mr. Dave Brown, quickly assembled several buses to transport students to the areas that were within the designated walking distance. STUDENT SAFETY WAS NEVER COMPROMISED!!!!!!! Lets remember who would have been left at the school supervising those children until they would have been picked up.

    A special thanks to the D.O. for finally taking down the "School Bus Drivers wanted" banner today. This was salt in the wound to many drivers affected by yesterdays vote.

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  25. I'm sorry I just don't understand! The board could have kept Menifee Elem open and cut elementary music at a higher cost savings. Now I am not against the fine arts, but I now that the elementary population does not all benefit from music.. but all the students at MES benefit from having a home school.. hmm a future distinguished school at that. Why and how could this happen.Closing MES saves 509K and eliminating elementary music saves 600K.. and which is easier to reinstate?? go figure.

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  26. I am not sure all the teachers and community understand that freezing administrative salaries includes principals and assistant principals. Because there will be no hiring of assistant principals as originally proposed, the assistant principals will most likely be working split shifts, trying to meet the needs of teachers, students, and parents at two sites. When we applaud their freeze in wages, we are saying it is ok that you will be working twice as hard and not get compensation for it. The MUSD administrators don't ever talk about the money they want to make. They are there for the kids and all the constituencies involved. Freezing their wages really sends a message that they are not appreciated. I left the meeting Tuesday feeling badly about that.

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  27. Can we get back hours for our bus drivers and make some money at the same time by using our brand new buses to transport our district's kids on field trips instead of them just sitting in storage. I know that Menifee schools pay a pretty penny to be transported by Laidlaw and Hemet school district buses to events and study trips. I know it doesn't make up all lost income, but it may be enough to save a few. Maybe even outsourcing our buses and drivers for field trips of other distrcits who need this as well. How about keeping our own employed during this tough time.

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  28. These administrators were put in by us to do what was best for the kids of Menifee and the surrounding areas, but have only done what is best for them(ie, salary increases).Why not do a recall and get these people out of office?

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  29. I know that drop off and pick up times at schools in this district can be a nightmare and can take up to 30 minutes to complete. Imagine what it will be like with no bussing, and that many more parents waiting in those lines. The drivers seem to get a little self centered and pull off some crazy moves putting the walking students in danger.
    My suggestion to any administration/board members that may be reading these blogs is to stagger the start end time of 4th/5th grade by 20 minutes. This would allow the parking lot to clear out before the next wave of students comes to and from school
    For example:
    1,2,3 start at 7:40 and K,4,5 begin at 8 am or vice versa. One would end at 2:04 and the other at 2:24
    Just a thought. I can't imagine the pick up lines at the schools being worse than they already are.
    I guess the only down fall to this is a parent who has a 2nd and 5th grader. In that situation maybe the younger one could go to a designated room for 20 minutes.
    Maybe it will all work out with the two new schools opening. I guess that will take some of the traffic away.

    MES students/parents who are going to the Quail Valley school can rest a little easier with this knowledge. They are going to a brand new school with a principal, Mr. Winn, who has already opened new schools and was indeed the principal of Menifee Elementary for several years before moving to Freedom Crest. He is one of the best in the business and knows all about the programs and staff that are at MES. I don't know very much about CWM. Maybe someone can input to help these parents. And to the parent who wants to pull their kid and put them in a charter school. That seems to be more harmful to a child then explaining to them that they get to go with half their teachers, half their friends, to a brand new school; rather than lets go, that district is terrible, we are going to go be amongst strangers. My kids do not go to MES so I don't have your same emotions and feelings, but change is not always such a bad thing.

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  30. "But because moving other MES students over to Chester W Morrison would create a transportation hardship for some families, the Board decided to offer elementary busing just for these students."

    Did the district fail to understand elminating busing is a hardship TO ALL the families in Menifee? I still live farther than those 2 schools distances from each other...I dont get it

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  31. How about this:
    The district finds a charter school that needs to lease a school site
    MES
    Then all the parents who want their kids to stay on that campus and/or attend a charter school can, and the district will make the money from leasing the property

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  32. I grew up in Orange County and was in elementary school in the 80's. I had two, yes two , schools close on me. I turned out pretty good. It helps knowing that your friends and most of your teachers are going with you. Education being funded by the government puts districts in a bind when things like this happen. Don't be so hard on the board because they close down a 50 year old school. It is life.

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  33. To the comment about the admin and getting them out of office. Again, the freeze applies to the principals at the sites too. The school would not function if we ran these people out of our schools.

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  34. How about replacing just the Superintendent?

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  35. I'm all for starting a petition to recall the Superintendent. Just start at the top, I think they have forgotten who put them there,as far as principles leave them in place, We don't need to remove staff from schools They are the ones that work closest to the kids and know what is needed.

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  36. Regarding staggered dismissal times:

    My children attended elementary school in Murrieta, where the dismissal time for upper grade students was 5-10 minutes later than lower grades. It was a nightmare! Several parents with children in both upper and lower grades arrived early, parked in the pickup loop, loaded up their lower grade students, and continued to wait and hold up the line until their upper grade students got to the car. The aides supervising dismissal did nothing to keep the line moving, so if you used the pickup line, you could expect to be there forever. I have seen nothing in Menifee that comes close to that disaster.

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  37. Dear Parents, Coworkers, and Friends that may be reading this... I am a teacher at CWM. Prior to Tuesday, none of us really thought that MES would close, so we really had NO idea the MES students would come to CWM. Beginning first thing Wednesday morning, we started asking a lot of questions and already begun preparing for "our" students to come in July. Your children will not be polarized or singled out in any way. Everything I have heard is about providing them everything they had at MES and even more if possible. The closest thing I can relate this to is a blended family coming together... We will have our struggles, it will take a lot of work, but in the end with great communication, open minds and hearts, we will work together and persevere and be better for it. Please don't get me wrong, there will be many challenges and I too question the reasoning behind closing a "Distinguished School"- especially if it is really only going to be for one year. Please understand, if MES were to remain open, it would not have been the same school as it is this year or even previous years- Your adminstration would be changing and many staff would also no longer be there, but most importantly, with students comes funding... with only 324 students the funding would have been very minimal compared to what you have now. Without funding, there are fewer (or no) programs. It is much easier to have more (programs, volunteers, etc.) at a large school than even very little at a small school. That may have been a challenging for next year. I cannot say that I agree or disagree with the decison being made... I just don't know enough information. What I can tell you is that CWM has a wonderful staff. Like someone stated before... it is not the building that makes the school, it is the parents, staff, and students- that is not changing, just moving and combining Kids are resilient, amazing and they are also very observant- they sense our body language, our voices, our words, everything. So please for their sakes, even if you don't agree with it, embrace it as change for the better, the kids will too. I am very sorry for your presumed "loss", but very excited about the possibilites and I can't wait to welcome each of you (parents, staff, and students) with open arms to the "New and Improved" Morrison Family- we will learn a lot from each other and may it be the best year ever!

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  38. Thank You for welcoming us to your school I have a few question that i keep asking. The meeting tuesday night was a district meeting WHY IS IT THAT VERY FEW PEOPLE KNEW ABOUT IT? I have spoken to people in town from Ridgemore and Bell and a few from Evans Ranch and NO ONE KNEW there was even a meeting never mind the closing of OUR (MENIFEE THE WHOLE TOWN OF) school. Why is it the D.O.can do all this w/o the vote of the people. THIS IS AMERICA is it not?Why wasn't it know to ALL the parents AND TEACHERS AND STAFF and people who didn't get the chance to speak up for lack of knowing.. I do agree the children will adjust but why should they have to. TRUST is a very big word and it has been abused by our D.O.I truly hope that the D.O. never has to go through the pain of explaining to their child why they have to move from one school to another. OH wait thats right their children are grown!I am thankful to hear that the children will be treat equally,is there any other way to treat them?

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  39. A lot of information has been bandied about these last few weeks - some accurate, some not. Here are a couple of clarifications.

    First of all, notices were sent home to all parents in English and Spanish regarding the recent special board meetings. The meeting on the 26th was a regularly scheduled board meeting. Information has been posted on the district website, this site and notices are posted at each school site as well as the District Office of all regular and special board meetings. There have also been articles in The Press Enterprise and The Californian regarding the current budget considerations of this district.

    Secondly, the Superintendent is not an elected official and therefore cannot be recalled. She is a paid employee of the district. She can only be released from her position if the members of the Governing Board feel she has acted in a manner inappropriate or illegal to her position. The members of the Governing Board, Fred Twyman, Victor Giardinelli, Phoeba Irey, Robert O'Donnell and Rita Peters are elected officials. They are elected to make decisions on behalf of the students, parents and staff of the Menifee Union School District. Actions such as the budget cuts we are facing do not require a vote of the constituency. They are elected to make those decisions for us.

    Once again, these are not opinions, just a clarification of facts.

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  40. Every teacher in the district was aware of the meeting.

    Every student took a notice home about the meeting.

    The district web site, all local papers, banners at schools, the list goes on.

    This meeting was well communicated to the entire community. The D.O. did respond to demands for better communication. Give 'em credit fot that.

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  41. Another clarification- The "management team" could have had salaries frozen- this includes the already overworked and underpaid assistant principals and principals. Many people are upset that this did not happen because the cuts "should have started at the top". The cuts actually did start at the top- the DO cut TOA (teacher's on special assignment) one of these is in the Curriculum department- now our entire curriculum department K-8 is under the direction of only one person. They also cut 3 Assistant Principal positions. Quite frankly, this should have never happened. Unless reinstated, 4 Assistant Principals will be divided among 10 elementary schools (This includes 2 large schools with 800+ students and 2 new schools- all of which should warrant at the very least a full time AP. The remaining 6 might be able to get away with a split AP, but it will be hard. So at the least the district should have 6 APs). This is terrible... so now the principals have no AP (or next to none) and the AP's may be split 2 or 3 ways AND the public is requesting for them to take a paycut?) The other note here is... The DO is not top heavy to begin with- There is a Superintendent and 3 Asst. Super's under her with very specific and very needed positions to keep the district running efficiantly (Curriculum, Personnel, Building/Facilities). That is pretty much it as far as the top goes. If any pay cuts at all should have happened, it should have been EVERYONE taking a cut. If that were to happen even, a small one like 1%, it would have saved at least $400,000.

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  42. I do not know of any asst. prin.'s that lost their jobs but I do know that AP's are not "at the top." If the "top" wants to be effective leaders with a supportive, strong following perhaps they should have presented salary cuts from the very beginning. The 1% for 'EVERYONE' however, is rediculous. Noble leaders, in my opinion, would start with a larger cut for themselves and set an example. 3% at the top, 2% for the next layer, 1% etc.? (How much would that be?) But when 4.5%COLA is turned over grudgingly, late in the year, the top gets 17%over 3 years and there is a climate of... well, let's just say the climate is less than positive, is anyone surprised at the backlash? Teachers are for the most part understanding and sacrificial. A reasonable paycut to avoid closing a school might have been an accepatable settlement in light of the budget realities. The COLA passed on to the DO from the state would then be 3.5% and would the rest of it combined with sacrifices from the top been enough to keep MES open and maintained the critical class size reduction? I guess now we will never know...

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  43. I just want to know how has anyone solved the issue yet of having to take their child/children to school, as well as picking them up. Please share me ideas on how you are solving this. I work! I have relied on bus pick up and drop off since my child was in kindergarten. I think we should band together, and figure out this problem whether it will take co-sharing a vehicle, mom pick ups (the mom could get paid), etcetra. I look forward to your responses.
    A concerned parent

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  44. After reading all of this, I am saddened that MES has to close. I know Chester Morrison is a great school and I am glad that my son will have the opportunity to attend that school. When the next school year is over, will MES be reopening? If so, I will not them move my child around again. If they are going to send them to Chester Morrison, than that is where he is going to finish out his elementary school years.

    Did that class room reduction thing go through? Will they be staying at 1 to 20?

    I think it is a shame what the Board is doing to the students and I hope they dont keep playing cards with them when the school year is over by making them bounce around to different schools.

    I have seriously contemplated private school, but I have such high regards for the teachers at Menifee's schools, all of them. I dont want to jump ahead and put my son in private school, just yet. Heck, I may move to Lake Elsinore where their school board apparently values the students education.

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  45. For the parent who commented about carpooling question..what school does your child attend?

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  46. Hello Menifee Parents Teachers and staff. I have called the numbers posted here and was directed to this and was told the more calls the more likely to get a reaction. Hers goes:Sentor Jim Batton @ 760-568-0408, State assemblyman John Benoit 951-369-6644, Riverside board of ed Murrieta 600-5600, Riverside office 826-6673.Superintentand 826-1232, and lastly State assemblyman Jefferies at 951-894-1232. They said the more voices heard from the better. Please call it can't hurt but it may help keep MES open. Thank You

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  47. For those of you who are looking for help carpooling etc. There are 2 Mom's club groups in Menifee. One in the East side of 215 and one on the West side. Check to see if they have Mom's who are able to help out. Also, the PTA may be able to help out with names too. Networking is the way to go.

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  48. I thought it very sad that one of the board members felt it necessary to vote for a new school in Quail Valley because she felt they deserved something new and nice (as stated at the 2/19 meeting). While she pushed for her new school a great school will be closed for a year. What kind of thinking is going on? What kind of leadership is being shown, with the wants of some outweighing the needs of many. We're wasting money opening two new schools that will require lots of money to build and more money to bring in items such as desks and supplies. Although it could be argued that some of these items will come from MES that is wrong to consider because that would be for one year and then what? The community is now forced to find ways to get their kids to school because of a loss of busing, yet we will have two "pretty,new schools" that weren't needed. We're not overcrowded! There aren't schools that are busting at the seams. Teachers fought to get their COLA (cost of living) pay. Do other people outside of teaching have to fight to get cost of living raises...NO! On top of it, the COLA was budgeted for the teachers and sent to the district..it shouldn't have even been something to fight for, it was to have been paid to them, yet they had to fight for that. Where is the thinking of this group? Closing schools, cutting raises for teachers and yet giving themselves 9% raises and opening unneeded schools! We have a very large reserve that could have helped to keep MES open and Yes, the cuts should have started at the top. A 9% raise would have been nice for everyone to receive. Now we will be fighting not to lose our students due to problems created by our administrators and school board. Perhaps the public should monitor the expenses of the administration a bit more...I didn't see anything at the District Office being cut. They shouldn't be going to overnight meetings and spending money for unneeded items such as school paid for cell phones. These were discussed in the meeting on the 19th. Did anyone else catch that? I liked the idea of getting rid of one of the superintendent positions and all of the extra teacher for special assignment positions..lots of waste there!

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  49. Does oneone know if we the people can even fight this fight I keep reading and the DO does not seem to post any thoughts. I called every person I could think of sent letters via email to the Governor,( Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger - Interact) and I keep hearing it would work in numbers.I called Mr Battin today and was told number will help. There has to be so way to stop it. At the last meeting Mr. Compton stated we had until the 15the of March but being that was a saturday the 14th to get this resolved. but yet I then hear the papers have been signed already.Chester Morrison has welcomes our children to THEIR school, why can't we just keep ours. Parent from Quail Valley have stated they would like their children to be at MES. The DO should not be allowed to keep all they got and the TEACHERS and STUDENTS from MES that make them look good lose their school please call the numbers posted and get your name on record with the sentor and assemblyman and the board of ed. they are all we got left. OUR DO does not want to hear from us So call them too.

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  50. I am the parent who originally posted car pooling idea. See above. I live off Newport/Lindenberger, and I believe my ddter is one of those moving to the Offshores new school in the new community from Freedom Crest. I am also a family child care provider but might decide to just concentrate on school pick ups for the rest of the year instead of regular preschool as I could help many parents. No one has to enroll in my childcare infact I am thinking I can "bus" atleast 4/5 students to where they need to be (their homes, other childcares, YMCA etc). So i wd do morning pick ups, afternoon pick ups only. I don't know. I AM having to take my ddter to school anyways, PLUS pick her up. Maybe another parent could do morning pick ups, and I could do afternoon pick ups. Just throwing this out there. We are going to have to band together on this. I am just as infuriated as you all, and have had sleepless nights but I need to pro-active first. I will be at the other meetings too. Good luck to you all.

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  51. In the past few months the District Office (DO) along with the Governing Board has made decisions that leave one scratching their head.

    1) Dan Wood creates boundary changes pitting neighborhoods against one another and creating tension in school families. And for what reason? To go to single track.

    Result: The DO puts their hand out to accept a $2 million grant for being on a multi-track system. What was the purpose of putting families through these proposed boundary changes when the district is remaining on multi-track? Maybe the DO should have done their homework before presenting these changes.

    2) The DO convinces 56.9% of the residents that Measure B is something this district absolutely needs. Basically we were told the schools will be completely over crowded and not able to function without three new schools.

    Result: Measure B passes and residents agree to fund three new schools. So what does the Governing Board choose to do? Close an existing school. It doesn’t make much sense to ask for money to build new schools and then turn around and close existing ones. Maybe a better choice would have been to introduce a parcel tax measure that could be used for operating our schools instead of continually asking for money to build schools we can’t afford to operate.

    This is only a couple of examples. There are others.

    The leaders of the district need to take a step back and re-evaluate where we are going and the choices that they are making. Menifee is a great community with great schools and we need to keep it that way.

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  52. I've done some research and e-mailed a couple of others: Jeannie Oropeza @ jeannie.oropeza@dof.ca.gov *Program Budget Manager @ Finance (over the education dept.), Edgar Cabral @ edgar.cabral@lao.ca.gov *Legislative Analyst Office* (over teacher issues and school facilities), Rachel Ehlers @ rachel.ehlers@lao.ca.gov *Financing K-12* (does the financing for grades k-12 for the state. In charge of Prop. 98)Please call or email it's not going to hurt. Help save MES!

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  53. Things have changed quickly in the Menifee District! Last year there were many weeks when more than 40 new students were enrolled. It really looked like Menifee needed to build more schools quickly. All of a sudden that changed. Now there are weeks when no new students arrive. Besides that, the governor has declared a state of emergency. School districts all over California are struggling with cutting 10% of their budgets. Is it any wonder those in charge might make decisions that confuse the public?

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  54. Enrollment doesn’t go from 40 new students one week to zero new students the next week. These changes occur over time. Prior to these proposed boundary changes and the voting of Measure B the enrollment had actually begun to decrease at some schools. Property values had been falling. The foreclosures in the area had already begun to add up. The market was clearly beginning its downturn. Yet, the DO insisted on moving forward with plans that were unnecessary. At the proposed boundary meetings Dan Wood, when asked about Measure B, wasn’t sure we still needed it because of the declining enrollment.
    It is true that many school districts are dealing with cuts, but many of those districts are not trying to deal with boundary changes and bond measures for new buildings at the same time. This district is so eager to put up as many buildings as possible without even knowing where the money is going to come from to operate them. So now we have an elementary school sitting empty with two more to build but no means to open them.

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  55. It is nice to see Fred Twyman moving on to bigger and better things, running for Menifee Valley City Council, now that the school district is in such a wonderful place. With new schools being built and old ones being closed, along with unnecessary bonds being passed. I am sure Fred can count on the votes of all of those parents whose kids have been taken from their schools and others who have no busing now and all of those people who will end up paying higher taxes for Measure B even though we don’t need the schools. Congratulations.

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  56. What about the former Bond Measure that was passed to finance the building of the beautiful new media center, library, and 6 or 7 classrooms at MES that will now sit unused. We are all still paying on that one and will be for a long time to come. They say they will re-open it. We will see...

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  57. I agree with the post up 2 from this one .....
    Wake Up Menifee ....Fred Twyman is on the school board for Menifee School District and it is a complete mess....Do not elect this man to Menifee City Council....We have seen him in action and it all bad ...Don't let him ruin the city we live in ....

    Vote NO for Fred Twyman

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  58. I've said it elsewhere on Menifee 24/7 and I'll say it again - Fred Twyman should not be held solely responsible for the recent changes in the district.

    The state's current budget problems and the governor's recommendations to cut such a large amount from public schools is obviously something Mr. Twyman had no control over. He was against closing Menifee Elementary and in favor of cutting other programs that could be reinstated more quickly than reopening a school.

    We (the parents of students in MUSD schools as well as citizens of this community) as a whole voted Measure B in. While 43.1% of us voted "NO" on the measure, 56.9% voted "YES". So as far as Measure B is concerned, shouldn't part, if not all, of the blame be put the people that voted for it?

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  59. With cuts and the economy, life is very painful right now for everyone. Any choice the board made would hurt and be painful to someone. We are in a crisis because of our STATE GOVERNMENT. They want to spend, spend, spend!! In a good economy that is ok but in a bad economy that does not work. Now we are all feeling the pain in a bad economy. I feel for Menifee Elementary. However, Twyman should not be blamed for this. The state govt is at fault not Twyman. He heard your opinions at the meeting and was willing to do other solutions than shut Menifee down. He really did listen to what you had to say and was trying to come up with other solutions. Twyman is trying to make the best of a bad situation that he got dealt with from the state level. For the couple of people who stated that it was ALL HIS FAULT and what a mess he has made of the school board how ignorant are you? I am a teacher and he has my support for school board and for city council!!!

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  60. I was looking through the prior posts and failed to see where it states that it is ALL HIS FAULT, when refering to Fred Twyman. Some of the blame does fall on to Fred. Unfortunately when things go bad there are people that are responsible and as the President of the Governing Board he is one. If Menifee ever becomes a high school district, Fred is going to want ALL of the credit. Is this fair? Unfortunatley when you hold that position you have to take responsibilty for the bad as well as the good.

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  61. I was wondering that the people who are putting the blame on Fred Twyman were at the board meeting that decisions were made. He tried numerous times to convince the other board members that closing Menifee Elementary was not a good idea. I felt he was actually pleading with some of the other board members. The other board members were not budging and he can't force them to vote the way he believes. I don't think any one person said it was all his fault, but the people who posted wasn't blaming anyone else, just him. Menifee School District did not hand out any pink slips when surrounding districts are handing out hundreds. We were able to keep class size reduction. Some good things were able to remain. I think we need to give some credit to the board for having to make such tough decisions, knowing that they couldn't make everyone happy. Also start putting the blame on the state government because we wouldn't be in this crisis if wasn't for them!

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  62. I don't think your children are going to be totally devestated when MES closes. Children normally adjust quite easily.
    The majority of the kids were moving to the new Quail Valley school any way. The district doesn't favor Ridgemoor. MES was losing over half of its enrollment.
    The budget cuts were not the school districts fault. I don't expect the employees of the school district to take a pay cut at any level. I think the teachers and staff actually got a raise they were waiting for.
    It's time to stop blaming others and except what is happening no matter how much it sucks and have a positive attitude about it, so your children will also.

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  63. This is a bit off topic, but does anyone know if the district office is going to send out the survey I heard about, asking if parents are for or against traditional schedule vs. multi-track year round schedule?

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  64. I don't think the district will be sending out the letter now that they are going to take a $2 million grant for being on a muli-track system.

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  65. Menifee Union School District will not go on a traditional schedule for 2008-2009, but it is a high possibility for 2009-2010. They are going to build another middle school which will allow them to go on single track. They will probably send out the letter later in the year or even next year. Though I am not positive about the time of the letter. What do you think about going to modified traditional schedule and everyone is on the same track?

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  66. I am ALL FOR everyone being on the same track. I don't care if it is traditional or modified traditional. I just want everyone to be able to get their whole family on the same schedule! No more kids on different tracks. I REALLY hope they do it for the 09/10 school year.

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  67. Some People did take a pay cut .....Most of the Bus Drivers..
    We took a big hit ... A majority of the drivers went from 5 hours-12months to 4 hour track....This is a devestating loss ..Say you make $1500. a month ..Take away taxes and pers you have $1000. Ok now take about 1/3 for when you have to go off track...$300...now you have $700...ok your family needs insurance and thats $450. for 4 hour drivers...That leaves you with $250. a MONTH and you didn't take out money for gas to get there about $100. So if your a bus driver working in this district you clear $150. a month coming in every day and working a split shift 2 hours in the AM and @ in the afternoon ...
    Is it worth it to stay No not anymore ..We Have families too and no one seems to care, they have butchered Transportation...But don't cut someones raise who makes $160,700. a year, hit the small wage earners. And then send a memo out saying all is well we saved jobs...If we decline to stay with these paltry earnings we forfeit unemployment ,Like they didnt have that in mind already...Im not sure who's staying But we will know come July 1st....

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  68. I'm so sorry for your situation...you are all such wonderful people and we are grateful for the service you provide for our children.

    I'm still in awe that the district eliminated transportation, it just didn't make sense.
    But what the district is doing lately as far as their decisions, doesn't make sense either.

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