Menifee School Budget Cuts

Jason Roth, a resident and parent living in Menifee is on the Budget Advisory Committee for the Menifee Union School District. The committee is made up of residents whose job is to figure out where the next line of budget cuts is going to be made.

Here's a statement from him...

Recently the Menifee Union School District (MUSD) assembled a Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) to assist with the daunting task of formulating a budget that will accommodate the dwindling funds provided by the State. The BAC is made up of members of the Community and the MUSD. To achieve a "balanced" budget for this year and the foreseeable future, a large number of cuts are going to need to be made to the existing budget.

I have volunteered and have been chosen as a parent representative on the BAC. As a parent representative I am asking for input from other parents in the MUSD on what you feel should or should not be taken out of the current budget. Keep in mind, a LARGE amount of the current budget is going to need to be removed in order to achieve a “balanced” budget.

The MUSD website has established a link that will allow you to send your suggestions to the BAC. I ask all parents, who have a practical suggestion, go to the website and submit it, or if available leave a comment on this blog and I will forward it to the BAC.

Thank you,
Jason Roth
You can submit your suggestions online through the school district website at this link...

http://www.menifeeusd.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=dep_intro&dept_id=5146

Last year, the district cut busing, counseling, and shut down Menifee Elementary for a year. That saved them $2.4 million.

What do you think should NOT be cut? Teacher salaries? Music? Another school?




184 Comments:

  1. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, don't cut class size reduction. My son will be starting kindergarden next year and I think it would be a shame for him to be in a class with 29 or more other students. Our kids should be provided the best education possible and to fill the classrooms with more students per teacher would be a shame.

    I hate to say it but I would rather see music and band cut than class size reduction.

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  2. Absolutely DO NOT eliminate class size reduction! 30 children per class in grades K - 3 will be devastating for our kids. Our children deserve the best possible education. Don't make our kids pay for the budget deficit.

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  3. As a parent of a middle school band student, I would absolutely hate to see band cut. My son loves band and Mr. Yancey is an AWESOME teacher. He has such a positive influence on the kids he teaches. If the kids lost that, it would be such a horrible shame. I feel the kids truly benefit from band and music. I hope they cut somewhere else.

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  4. How about cutting at the top? I haven't heard that the supt. will be volunteering a cut in salary. Pretty much everyone who does not work at the district office is taking a hit on some level or another. Classified personnel are losing at least 2 months of their salary due to the switch to traditional school year.

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  5. Here's a concept....cut the salaries of the higher up administrators...ya know, the ones who don't interact or daily engage with the whole purpose behind public schools...the children...

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  6. Keep music. You can find studies that demonstrate how music helps students understand and improve in other subjects. But I don't care about the studies. Look at the success of your music students. Go back and check the percentage of former band students who actually GRADUATE from college, not just register at msjc. My child had Mr Kettner years ago so I cannot give firsthand comment about Mr Yancy. Mr Kettner is a good person. Everything I've heard about Yancy is great. I believe that the arts contribute to our children's education. Oh if Mr Bledsoe (?elementary music ) is still around, thanks for the great introduction to music you gave my child.

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  7. Don't cut class size reduction. Class size reduction affects thousands of students. I am sorry, but band and music only affect a handful of students. We will never get class size reduction back if we eliminate it. Even if more funding comes it will not be reinstated. What about a freeze in salaries or a pay cut across the board for all district employees?

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  8. There is a huge difference in middle school band and the elementary school music and band program. Cutting music from K-5 instead of increasing class size is a more responsible choice. I agree with the above poster, middle school band is a great influence and should be left alone.

    I hope the BAC looks at cutting the most from things that don't directly affect our students in the classroom.

    Jason, I hope you will keep us all informed on what is being discussed and how the board seems to be reacting to the BAC's suggestions. As a parent I want to stay informed and be aware of what is being planned so that I can stand up for my kids and the students if necessary.

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  9. As a teacher I would rather see the number of days sacrificed than the class size. I would like to see all state testing halted for a set number of years, say 2 or 3 until this crisis is over. I think all teacher development needs to be suspended. I love music and imagine it will be a small savings but we cannot sacrifice the positive school experience and the student/teacher ratio for things such as music at a time like this. I would be taking a paycut to shorten the school year and am all for it if we can save class size reduction. No teacher can adequately attend to 29 or more kids at any grade during a school day given the academic demands and the behavior issues of today. It is a horrible feeling to go home each day and feel that there were 3, 4, maybe 5 kids that you failed to give that personal touch. With that many kids in one room and only one teacher the job amounts to behavior and crowd control with a lesson plan driven day that takes on the feel of boot camp. No 4,5,6,7,8 or 9 year old (K-3)should have that kind of school experience. 20 to 1 was the best thing we have done! We need to fight for it!

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  10. Close down the cafeteria. School food is bad for ya. Close down the library. Kids have enough to do with home work. Close down the VP position. Cut out the middle man. Close down music, p.e., history, science programs. Get back to basics. Teach kids math and english and respect/civility. What good is the rest if they can't read, write , add or subtract?

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  11. Please, do not cut the counseling program - the schools are in dire need of counseling services. The Menifee School District finally hired counselors as of 2006 and even though the student ratio is high at the middle school level (1-counselor for 700 students), it's a program that is a beneficial to students academically, socially and emotionally.

    It is a HUGE concern if this program is cut or reduced.

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  12. First thing.... FREEZE ALL WAGES. No "Step and Column" pay increases for two fiscal years and no mandate to 'catch up' these two lost fiscal years. If you want your job... FREEZE IMMEDIATELY all the 'un-merited' step and column pay increases. Unions....suck it up!

    Second thing.... make all employees pay for a greater portion of their health and welfare benefits. What industry pays for 100% of their employee's health care insurance?

    Third thing.... consolidate or 'early retire' the leadership in facilities, maintenance & transportation, and food services... the customer service in those areas is crappy at best.

    Other cost cutting initiatives would be:

    1. Temporarily eliminate ALL school busing except for special needs students which the district must provide by law. This will result in driver layoffs.

    2. Temporarily eliminate middle school counseling (elementary school counseling already eliminated). This will result in counselor layoffs.

    3. Temporarily eliminate all music programs. Buy an Ipod and have your kids sing in the shower and bang on pots and pans...we're in a deep recession people (and it began in December 2007).

    4. Temporarily increase class sizes in K-3 but, instead of laying off the young, hard charging, energetic teachers... get rid of the older, tenured "I have a right to my job first" teachers. This is the biggest waste in the State of California....Union seniority mandates!

    5. Keep Menifee Elementary School temporarily closed for another 1 year (or more).

    6. Temporarily cease ALL field trips at all levels.... watch the History Channel and National Geographic instead.

    7. Outsource all maintenance, custodial, landscaping and administrative services... they don't do a good job of it anyway, the customer service is lousy (have you talked with anyone on the phone lately), and there is only about 5 hours of good productivity and that occurs on a Monday.

    Oh wait a minute... Governor Davis signed that one order into law as he was leaving office that PROHIBITS COMPETITION for public employee unions thereby preventing management from capturing efficiencies, achieving economies of scale, and actually saving the taxpayers' money.... Sorry, my bad...I forgot that the unions are entitled...sorry, please forgive me!

    Capture savings from all of the above and keep the rest employed. Menifee Union School District is the largest employer in Menifee with a payroll in the tens of millions of dollars.

    The economy is in dire straits. Every industry in the state and across the nation are laying off employees. There is NO ARGUMENT that can justify "keeping cuts as far away from the classroom as possible"... a ludicrous notion to begin with in an unprecedented economic condition.

    Please save the "Workers of the world unite" speeches for the next communist rally and central committee meeting Comrades.... oh wait a minute... I thought we're in America.

    Welcome to the United Socialist Republic of California (USRC) where the Teacher's Union has everyone by the snardleys!

    --- The Patriot

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  13. Not knowing the details of the line item costs or cuts to revenue...in general, you need to cut only fat..and that would be any administrative, district or teacher support services that do not directly interact with students.

    Is any line item too high, like substitute teachers or administrators. Professional Development should be fee based as in other non-union industries.

    I would get rid of most of the text books, except perhaps a class copy, and perhaps teach the same subject matter a little more creatively. Cut the paper flow and make better use of multi-media and technology in the classroom.

    Find grant money or patrons to fund more technology strategies.
    Perhaps fewer school days and more collaborative and team teaching opportunities.

    Encourage community use of facilities - fee based. Increase parent and community involvement.

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  14. It seems like nobody wants anything cut. Sounds like the State problems.

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  15. Why not consider contracting out for bussing and food service? Neighboring districts did that more than a decade ago, and have far more money in reserve and aren't hit as hard right now with the budget crisis. The district will save millions of dollars and class size, counseling, and band will all be spared.

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  16. Responding to the Patriot:
    I am an employee at MUSD and it's disappointing to see that certain areas of your discussion are not accurate. But you are entitled to your opinion. As for my health care. I have to pay a portion every year and it's not cheap. I don't remember when I got it for free, because I don't.

    As for Cuts:
    It has been mentioned that we temporarily get rid of all counseling. The district already got rid of elementary counseling and it wouldn't make sense to make additional cuts in the counseling program. They've already been hit once. Many times I have students that are having problems at school and I am grateful that we have counselors in-which these students can receive services to help them. Students, parents, teachers, administrators appreciate our counselors because they are there to help our kids when there is a crisis, a concern, and/or problem, whether it be academic or social.

    Counselors at MUSD have the third highest student to counselor ratios in Riverside and to cut the program further is ludicrous. Where do we send our students when they think about suicide or that their parents are losing their home/jobs or that they have a love one dying or they just need advice on how to better improve academically? The counselors take these students and help them and their families. You can't put a price on that. That isn't all that counselors do...there is so much more but I think I got my point across.

    As for the 20 to 1 ratio. People that have gone to classrooms at the elementary schools and middle schools will tell you that 20 students is so much more successful than classes with 30 or more. Our middle schools have classrooms of 30 or more and it's tough to teach at times. There are certain activities that teachers cannot do because of the high numbers. Having that 20 to 1 ratio at the elementary schools is wonderful and it allows the elementary staff to better educate our kids so they can be even more prepared for the higher grades. This needs to stay.

    As for the Music/Choir Programs. Has anyone ever attended their assemblies/concerts? Just that alone tells you that we must keep these programs. To see young children in the elementary level and teenagers at the middle school level perform with such excellence - is enough to tell you that we must have these programs. Plus, I've seen many students use this as a connection to better enjoy school and not to mention that their academics show growth. It is proven that extracurricular programs and/or the Arts have a positive effect on students which eventually results in higher achievement. Cutting that will provide even less services for students.

    I know that our Board Members are going to have a hard time making decisions on what needs to be cut - but reducing or removing programs like 20 to 1, Counseling, and the Arts - is something that this community member, parent of a child at our district, and employee of MUSD is against.

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  17. What kind of revenue for the district would come if they used the empty Menifee Elementary school for before and after school care, where the facility is "rented out" to outside providers? Transportation may or may not be a problem to get to and from school, but if the private providers have a means of transportation (vans, etc), I wonder if that would be helpful to increase the $$ for the district??? Or what if someone used the school for some other feasible reason? Or a preschool? The only preschool I know of is Menifee State Preschool and I believe you have to qualify based on income or special needs to get in there. I know there is a demand for preschool here. Or what if the district employees move into that building instead of the buildings they are in now. I am not sure if the district owns the buidlings that they are using as the district office now or if it would be a cost saving move to move over to the empty school. Just a few ideas...

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  18. How about we sponsor school names? Maybe we get Super Target to pay money to rename one of the schools to "Super Target Middle School".

    Kinda like what they do with stadiums now.

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  19. I agree with AskMieke...cut all textbooks, new textbook adoptions and drastically reduce paper use. Students can learn in many other ways and do not all need textbooks and worksheets to do so.

    Also, cut back on administrative positions and salaries.

    DON'T cut back on teachers where class sizes are affected. It's better to have less resources (i.e. music, library, food service, janitorial, administrative staff) than increase class size. Kids CANNOT learn when the classes are so large...it becomes crowd control instead of instruction.

    Our schools have become consumed with what we THINK we need in order to effectively teach. Honestly, you just need a good teacher and a small group of kids. Yes, there are sacrifices...teachers shouldn't have to take out their own garbage or clean their owns rooms, they shouldn't have to teach music and pe in their homeroom, they shouldn't have to do without textbooks for every kid or worksheets to pass out...but it is very possible to teach successfully with less.

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  20. Maybe we should let charter schools help out. They seem to be able to do it with less money, less facilities, and less support.

    Just a thought...

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  21. I am wondering where "Patriot" has his or her allegience and where his or her attention has been. Please do not allow reckless, attitudinal, and innacurate postings to ruin or muddle this blog. I see some fantastic ideas coming from our understanding, supportive, and experienced public. Thanks!

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  22. I volunteer in the classrooms at my school and it would be devastating to see more than 20 kids in a class. Already their are kids acting up and not paying attention and disrupting the class. If we increase the amount of kids it will be hard for the kids that are paying attention and want to learn.

    I think all state test need to cease because every time I'm in class they are doing another state test. It's expensive, time consuming, stressful for the kids and teachers. The teachers get graded now too if their class does bad on a test. It's ridiculous because some of the kids are frustrated and do not understand the test questions and so forth. I this hurts the kids and their self confidence.

    We should get rid of the cafeteria and everyone bring their own lunch. You eliminate the cost of food and hiring workers.

    All high up administrators including the superintendent need their wages cut.

    It's shame that we have money for war and nuclear weapons, building up other countries. But we do not have money for our children education. If all the schools starting teaching the kids to build weapons I bet the government would start funding the schools more money. It would be on the job training and education at the same time.

    What a shame!!!

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  23. "Super Target Middle School" ... where education is On Taget!

    HaHa! Actually it sounds funny, but I think you have hit on something that is not always talked about and that is "thinking outside the box." Now more than ever, ideas like that are desperately needed.

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  24. I think we all will agree that giving our children a well-rounded and quality education is our goal. As a parent of 3 MUSD students who attended our schools in K-8 from 1991 until 2008, I have been doing research on the MUSD web page as well as talking to teachers and principals at different schools about the schools programs.

    First of all, I believe that anything that does not affect the students should be evaluated. For example, cutting unnecessary expenses such as paper triplicate forms and moving all those forms online can be a start. I’m sure there are more of these things that I as a parent am unaware of that could be cut. With that in mind, I feel strongly that both elementary and middle school music should NOT be cut. A previous post stated: “There is a huge difference in middle school band and the elementary school music and band program.” Yes, the middle school programs are very strong award-winning programs. One of the reasons these bands and choir are so strong is because they are supported by the strong elementary programs. The elementary programs may seem smaller, but the elementary schools are also smaller than the middle schools. Every elementary school has between 40 and 60 4th and 5th grade students involved in band. At all 8 elementary schools there are over 350 students involved in band. One illusion that makes them seem smaller is the track system, when not all students are at school at the same time.

    Another post made the comment: “…band and music only affect a handful of students.” Actually I have found out that this is not true. As well as teaching band, the three elementary music teachers also teach recorders to every single 3rd grade student. According to the MUSD website in ’06-’07 there were 896 third grade students, and the district has opened 2 new elementary school since then. Every third grader is taught how to play a simple instrument, the recorder. They are taught how to read music. They are taught about all the different kinds of instruments and how they are played and what they sound like. They are also exposed to different genres of music and cultures. This is something that most classroom teachers do not have the time or experience to teach. This goes back to my first statement that we need to make sure our children receive a well-rounded quality education. I have talked to third grade teachers and parents that say they have students and children that never want to miss school on the day they have music. They say their students are excited to be there. I found this also to be true of my own daughters. It gave them something to look forward to, something to be excited about. So to answer the statement that music only affects a handful of students, when I add up the third, fourth and fifth grade students as well as the approx 500 students involved in the middle school band and choir programs, right now there are over 1500 students involved in the entire music program! Oh, and all these students at 10 schools are all being taught by only 5.5 full time teachers.

    There are only 3 music teachers that cover all 8 elementary schools. The music teachers are fully credentialed teachers just like any classroom teacher. As the district goes to a modified traditional schedule next year, the music teachers at all levels will be teaching less days because they no longer have to cover all the tracks. I think the elementary teachers will have almost a 10% cut in pay, and the middle school directors will take almost a 14% cut in pay, which is a savings that should be considered. I am sure some would, but I don’t think many of the classroom teachers would be willing to take a 10 to 14 percent pay cut and not complain.

    The Menifee USD has always been a strong supporter of the Arts. I think that is one of the reasons it is a quality district to have raised my kids. I am proud that I live somewhere that believes in the strength of the education that my children have received. The district has said it believes in educating the “whole” child and I believe this exposure to music is a large part of that philosophy.

    My vote is to keep music. Thanks for reading.

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  25. Hey Padilla...! Your argument is weak. It was weak last year when your job was on the line and the only two who thought 'wisely' enough to cut you and your counterparts was Twyman and Irey.
    The others caved and rolled over to the union rhetoric. It is the same song and dance routine now..."You (or government) can do a better job of counseling my kid than you."

    PUH-LEASE!

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  26. GET RID OF BUSSING ALTOGETHER. (OF COURSE YOU HAVE TO KEEP IT FOR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS AS REQUIRED BY LAW.) THAT SAVES A HUGE AMOUNT OF MONEY, AND KEEPS CLASS SIZE DOWN, WHICH IS SO IMPORTANT, AND KEEPS CUTS AWAY FROM OTHER IMPORTANT PROGRAMS.

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  27. Cut the elementary music program and out source the food at middle and elementary schools. Simple for music it offers no curriculum value and it is negative to kids as they miss valuable class room instruction. EZ on the food program..it is disgusting at the elementary especially. Finally the Super and the district staff need to reduce and freeze salaries. The state is making their own employees work 2 days less each month. Stop saving teachers jobs they could care less about your kids..they want to secure their stake. Everyone has taken a hit except them; you have and many of your friends..but the teachers lobby to protect their interest and not the kids. For all the problems we still have at schools we need to focus on the real issues, Menifee is not provide a quality environment or education...they are skating over our concerns as parents and continue to disrepect our children rights... Send them packing..with no regrets..Lets hear that music play "Hit the Road Jack".

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  28. Perhaps we should rename our district- the Menifee-Pentagon School district. We could teach our kids how to build missiles and WMDs. This way- we would have an unlimited budget and get all the money we need.

    Spending more money on weapons should be top priority for all Americans, even if we need to cut spending on our kids. Heck- I voted for the Republicans like the rest of Menifee. No child left behind!

    Those Democrats want to help everyone that needs help, like kids and the working class! What communist! That is wrong, we should only help those who make over 250k/year and cut taxes for the rich.

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  29. To anonymous at 11:24, I'd like YOU to "Hit The Road Jack"...your ignorance is disgusting.

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  30. I agree with but maybe not in the same tone of "Hit the Road Jack"..We have disfunctioning areas that offer nothing to our kids other than disruption. I love music..but it is not a core or curriculum education at the elementary level. Schools all around us have elimanated them. School districts need to properly look at cost and direction. Parents put your children in private lessons..like people do for dance, football, baseball,karate,gymnastics..etc.. get my point. We can do without certain things at the elementary level. Secondly, outsourcing Breakfast and Lunch program..Great Idea..why they only store and heat the foods..no prep work maybe for the fresh salad bars and that is also taking them out of packages. The food IS Bad..come on Parents you see the Menu week after week it is awful. The cost of less incompentent employees and management is well worth it. On the other part good luck there is no way the District will ever cut their salaries or raises until we get rid of the lot of them. Replace them its what other people do when you have an unyielding group. Kids should come first..but unfortunately in this District..no matter how you cut it, Teachers and Admin. will send scare tactits to you about class reduction will go away...Listen folks the district opened new schools and the teachers are an abundance...Look at Temecula and their scores..and their classroom sizes. Class room size does not dictate learning,that is what good teachers are all about. Parents be Parents and do your part at home and help your children..the school will not be and is not your allie. There are some really good teachers in this District but good people are loosing jobs all day long, so lets get it done.

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  31. Last year when there were discussions on how to cut the budget, class size reduction, busing, music, counseling, etc. were on the table to be eliminated. All of which are important to our children. Not once did the board or the administration entertain the idea of making cuts at the adminstrative level. Other districts are. Some superintendants are voluntarily taking 20% pay cuts, and other districts are cutting their assistant principals. The assistant principals make twice the amount that most of our teachers make. It would seem that these cuts could add up to a sizeable amount of money, and spare our children.
    Last year we were able to bring back busing. Busing is expensive. It should be one of the first things to go.
    I agree with others who have said to cut the lunch program. The food is deplorable. Kids can pack their own lunch.
    Cut out spending for supplies. I'm sure that most, if not all of us, had to bring our own supplies to school. Parents can send the supplies in, and if not - there are always fundraisers or donations.
    Cut the school year by a week. Other districts are considering it. State employees are having to take furloughs. I know this will be an issue with the unions, but these are extraordinary times. Mr. Roth stated that it will require a large portion of the budget to be cut in order for the budget to be balanced. Without community support or other suggestions to solve our budget problem, a significant number of teachers will loose their jobs thus effecting over 3,800 students in our district. As a parent, I don't want to loose class size reduction. Studies have proven that our kids are benefiting from smaller class sizes. We need to make it known to our district that we want the best education possible for our kids. Please support our kids and their teachers.

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  32. In response to the Patriot,

    You seem to be a refugee from the laissez-faire economic camps of the 1920s and 2000s Republican Party that resulted in the Great Depression and the current severe economic downturn, which is getting worse. We may need governmental intervention on the state and federal governmental levels.

    President Hoover lost two years (1929-1931) waiting for the economy to correct itself before crafting governmental policies to get the economy working. He was too late and President Roosevelt used "a lot of" Hoover's ideas in the New Deal.

    Based on our past history, we may also need to consider, gulp, a slight increase in local taxes to pay for the different programs that will make our students competitive in California, United States and throughout the World.

    I will not personally benefit from any increase in bugeting for I do not have any children in the school district. However, I am willing to vote for paying "little extra" to support our schools from K-12.

    I try to be a true "Patriot" and American. I strive to support taxing and political policies aimed at creating equal opportunities for all.

    A strong United States is having educated and informed citizens, public school trained, that are able to do critical thinking and not support crank ideas based on elitism and greed to benefit very few citizens. Public financing is important to achieve the above stated goals. Don't you agree "Patriot"?

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  33. Let's ignore the rediculous. Do we have any numbers on the costs of some of these programs. I would say each teacher cut saves about 64K and they are planning of cutting about 60? Where is the cost in Music? Is it the teachers? There are only 4? Those teachers would probably be moved into other positions as they have tenure. How many kids in K or are we going to put into groups of 30 or 32? Ridgemoor was built for 20. What costs will we incure redoing those rooms to accomodate higher numbers. It is hard to discuss this issue without some concrete numbers. Federal funds don't count. We have to cut from the State programs. What if we went to 25 per class? Jason, can you give us some concrete numbers to go on?

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  34. The one program that most schools have going for them and are completely "in the best interest of the kids" is smaller class sizes (CSR). There goal should be to keep this program at all cost. Cut busing! Why should the school district be responsible for transporting your children. Be responsible for getting your kids to school on time.

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  35. Can the MES site be rented out to an outside source such as a charter school?

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  36. In response to Mark at 2/1/09 and Anonymous on 2/1/09 at 7:29 p.m., your ideas are the classic conservatism that have wrought the problems upon citizens in the USA are having at this time. Except for the red dot(Republicans) covering Southwest Riverside County in a sea of blue (Democratic), Californians are leaning more and more democratic with a different set of values that both of you are posting!

    As for busing, I guess Mark wants 6year olds walking three to four miles to school on busy streets such as Murrieta Road and Newport Road. Unless schools are easy walking distance for students, school districts have a responsibility to provide busing and get the students to class. Other states have proudly provide busing to families without charging families extra and are concern with the safety of their students.

    An educate population is important to maintain a democracy!

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  37. We have been given very few numbers to this point. I will be attempting to get more detailed information at the meeting this week. Please provide me with any areas that you would like to know the cost associated with, and I will ask.

    If class size reduction is eliminated, the District will require 65 fewer teachers. On the other hand, this change will affect more than 3,000 students.

    There is a meeting this Wednesday, so if you have questions you would like presented to the BAC please let me know.

    As a parent I am very concerned with the direction the first two meetings have gone. All of the talk thus far has been only directed at the kids. Examples include; Eliminate class size reduction, Eliminate Band, Eliminate Busing, Reuse old computers, Use Old Textbooks. I understand that programs will have to be modified or eliminated, but if we as parents don’t make our concerns heard, our children will be the ones to suffer.

    Thanks,

    Jason

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  38. Cutting the lunch program is not possible. Title I monies is decided by how many students qualify for free lunch. I don't know how many schools in our district receive Title I money, but it is the law to offer lunches to students. Contracting out for food service though, is a possibility and should be considered before programs are cut. And I am curious as to which nearby districts have cut the music program, because I know Murrieta, Temecula, Romoland, Hemet, and the local high school district all have flourishing music programs.

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  39. I like the above thought. Is 25/1 per classroom possible? Would that be a creative compromise?

    Also, Murrieta and Temecula have eliminated elementary music, and Hemet has cut it way back.

    Can the MES property be used for any other purpose? A District office? Can it be leased out? Maybe lease it out as an arts magnet school since they have such a nice stage. Or possibly to a charter school. Turn it into a source of revenue rather than an empty facility collecting spiders.

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  40. Jason,

    here is a question. Why are there not any teachers represented on the BAC?

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  41. Murrieta and Temecula have not cut back the band program, I just spoke with both district offices.

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  42. Like school lunches, busing cannot be removed, because the courts look at busing as an aspect of "access", and the law explicitly states that access cannot be infringed upon. It is actually questionable as to whether districts can charge for busing. What Mark and many other ignorant conservatives fail to recognize is that the government, federal and state have forced districts into paying for certain programs, and there isn't an option out when times are bad. Special Education takes up the largest chunk of the educational budget, and are you going to tell me that those funds should be limited and cut. Public schools provide special ed services for individuals aged 3-25. Of course unless you have a child with needs, your tax money shouldn't go to it right? It is sad that other services and classes have had to be cut, such as Music and Art, which contributes to creating solid students all around. It is funny, but I agree that it seems as though schools must be wasting all of their money, but when the books are opened, find where all the significant fluff is. I gurantee you, finding it is difficult. Schools and the educational system is expensive to run. Period. No excuses, no B.S. The amount of requirements put on schools from state, federal, and local officials is astounding. Feel free to cut. In the end our society suffers. You children will feel it a tad bit sooner. People need to stop believing the Conservative rhetoric. Government is not bad.It is just the people who we have elected, and our low expevctations that are bad. Tax cuts won't work. Never have, never will. It doesn't matter what Fox News spokesperson you listen two, tax cuts benefit a very small few. Copnservatives are regressive by nature though living in a world they believe has limited needs. Liberals can be blamed for creating a mammoth mountain of programs and not paying attention to the lack of incoming funds. Conservatives should be blamed for their lack of financial knowledge and their adherence to failed economic beliefs. If we want to solve this, we will have to make cuts, we will have to raise significant tax money and when we are done, we should throw out every single Conservative and Democrat in Sacramento and elect new blood into the system. Conservatives with common sense and financial knowledge, Liberals with Social plans, but at an acceptable and responsible pace. While Conservatives play a larger part of blame in this issue, we all carry the blame and burden of what we have created. If we don't deal with it now, are children will surely pay for it in the future, in numerous ways.

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  43. The BAC is made up of the following volunteers.

    PTA Representatives
    Parents
    District Language Acquisition Committee Representatives
    Financial Institution Representatives
    Senior Community Representatives

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  44. Classroom teachers have already eliminated Field Trips this year. We have not been able to use our state of the art buses for field trips for many years. We had to contract them out and raise the money to pay for it.
    Classroom supplies have also been drastically cut. It is difficult for teachers to prepare and give tests, study guides, etc. because copies have been cut to the bone. Classes that have technology are using it, but not all classrooms have that technology available. There is no money for art supplies, or supplemental activities. Teachers have been funding many activities and incentive programs from their own pockets.
    Our district wants to keep its good news and events in the press, BUT with the cuts anticipated in the classroom, there will be no enrichment activities planned and paid for by the teachers. Cut the funding for media rep. to the press. Let teachers contact the press themselves, they used to do that in the past.
    Also, cut food services and business office to 10 month positions. Every bit that we can chip away will help.
    Eliminate District benchmark testing, the number of copies necessary each year (3 times a year) could save money. Also, the district should use the automatic phone system instead of making copies of notices for each student in the district. There is much that can be cut away from the classroom.
    Cut GATE- let parents provide enrichment activities, Cut ELL - let teachers spend their time teaching the entire class, not just a few students for 1/2 hr. a day while the rest of the class is working on other things. Cut free and reduced lunches or at the least require proof of income such as income tax return.
    We already have 30 to 1 in 4th-8th grades. Keep 20 to 1 in Kinder and 1st, the formative years. Increase class size to 25-27 in 2nd-3rd grades. That will help prepare them for the larger 30-35 students in upper grades.

    Teachers already teach P.E and computers in elementary grades. Music teachers account for just a few paid positions, yet many students benefit from recorders, band, etc. Many at risk students have improved in grades because a C average is required to remain in band in middle school.

    Make parents send in pencils, paper, crayons, pens, glue at the beginning of the year to offset the supplies that have been cut.

    Finally cut 20% of the district administrative services positions.

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  45. To February 02, 2009 12:49 PM:

    I did not establish the BAC so I am not sure what went into deciding who would be on the committee.

    But there currently are teachers on the BAC and also the teachers are represented by the MTA. So you if you are referring to why there aren’t additional teachers on the committee, I don’t know that.

    Thanks,

    Jason

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  46. To the poster at 1:45 pm - You have a lot of great ideas. I hope someone takes notice and maybe realizes you are on to something. I wonder why in the world food service needs to be a 12 month position? No kids - no food to be served. What else do they need to do? Plan meals? Please, it is the same menu month after month.

    Lots of what you suggest does make a lot of sense. I hope you put your suggestions in with BAC.

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  47. I agree with many of you, I don't think that the real answer comes with cutting class size reduction.

    I believe that the district could save by eliminating busing, freezing all salaries, and going to the union to negotiate for "furlough" or reducing the school year. Look at the district office, are their any positions there they don't need to be.

    The district might be able to save in energy costs... they are going to be closed for two months this year, what about installing timers (I know this will have an upfront cost- but I believe it would save in the long run).

    Have the district apply for the waiver to put off new text book adoptions.

    Keep Menifee Elementary closed for another year... and look into renting it out!

    Is it against ed. code to have one of the new businesses back a school?

    By all means keep cuts away from the kids!!!

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  48. Yes, the media rep is rediculous! An expendable position when compared to a teacher. The benchmark testing is expensive, not aligned correctly with PLC and have to be redone anyway. Put them on hold for a year or two. Class size increase to 24 in K and 1, and 2nd, 26 in 3 and 4. Yes, increase 3rd a little and decrease 4th. Let's be progressive in the face of crisis! We will stand out in front of other districts! I think we will find the same ballpark savings with those adjustments.
    Also, all the outside community advertisements and junkmail needs to stop. It takes the secretaries and teachers valuable time to distribute and most of it ends up in the trash anyway. Get a community bulletin board and post the stuff. Encourage the parents and students to check the bulletin boards for the info.
    For you that asked, there is only one school that receives Title 1 funding so they need the option of lunch. The others, cut the minutes of the day, the recesses, start earlier, and dismiss school by 12:45. They can go home for lunch! Keep breakfast and get donations of fruit, crackers, and cheap, healthy snacks.
    Also, 65 teachers (65 classrooms closed) only saves 650,000 at the most? I'm including ave. salaries with benefits and taxes etc. and the savings on closed classrooms so it is a very high guess. That is not a lot of savings in the face of the millions we are looking for, for the cost of suspending class size reduction. The benefits we get from the program are: kids have more 1 to 1 teacher time, they are learning more in a happy, relaxed environment, our district scores are higher,discipline is lower, we can cover the curriculum and still do some creative, effective teaching.
    If we have to sell MES, lease it, or use it for daycare facilities and charge 25 bucks a day then let's get on it. It is hard to find licensed daycare for less than 30 bucks a day per kid in Menifee. That's a lot of income let's give it a try!

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  49. It is utterly ridiculous that administration can think they are immune from the effects of this bad economy when every family I know is feeling hardship. Look at salaries and insurance contributions. If everything is on the table, then lets look at it. Let the parents send paper and classroom supplies, we can buy them at Walmart for less than the district can due to "contracts". Stop bringing in new textbooks when the ones we have are perfectly good and relevant. Now more than ever we need to have technology, critical thinking and creativity for our kids so they have an edge. I have 2 kids in elementary, they are GATE and high performing, if all this is cut what is left is mediocrity, and all our kids deserve better.

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  50. I hope that this commitee makes some decisions that do not effect the kids. They need the best and it would be sad for the best possible education to be taked from them because a bunch of selfish adults up in sacramento cant balance a budget.
    I hope that class size does not change. 20 is a great number.

    My plan has been for my son to attend a menifee school once he hits K next year. I am very interested in what the changes will be. Sadly, while I would like to put him in a menifee school I will be looking into alternative schools for him to attend if I feel that the changes will not benefit his education.

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  51. What I have seen is an agreement across the board that Admin. Salaries from Superintendent on down be reduced and lunch program outsourced...I agree. Music is also an unnecessary and a non-curiculum activity. Stop saving teachers positions and think about our kids. We can do better than this..if the district will not take cuts from their admin. we need to get rid of them and hire for less like so many other Districts are doing. We as parents have to stop letting the teachers and the Super put a strang hold on our kids and our lives...They refuse to take cuts like so many have. Then we can make the cuts by eliminating them.

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  52. To: Anonymous, at February 02, 2009 1:45 PM

    You have made some very good points. I agree, I hope people listen to these and give them serious consideration.

    To the person below that who made the comment about sending these good ideas to the BAC. Just to let you know, it is the media rep who is fielding all the comments, so I doubt she would pass along ideas that would eliminate her job. So thank you to Jason and Steve for giving us a place to speak out freely.

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  53. 65 teachers at approx $60,000/year:
    65X60,000= $3,900,000.00

    I like keeping the 20/1 at the K and 1st grade levels. This should not be elimnated. 2nd and 3rd grade at 25/1.

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  54. Some good comments: also some lack of knowledge ones ...... Is it fair to attack the School Districts staff (up or down)when they are not the ones who put us in this mess? Many of the District employees are hard working and work over their scheduled hours to support every student in every classroom. Reality is hitting Califorinia hard and some tough choices have to be made. Cuts need to be made in the classrooms as well as other areas. Out sourcing Food Services? How is contracting a profit driven private company going to save the District funds? The Food Service Department operates seperate from the District funding. The only way it "might" save funds, if the programs was always running in the red and the District was funding the difference. Cutting Transportation would cause more traffic issues in Menifee and would affect the daily attendant(loss of funding). If you have facts to post please post them. If you are just venting then vent However, do not bad mouth the hard working staff,they are doing the best they can with what they have to work with. Spend some time writing to your local house/congress represenitives and voice your opinions. Part of the problems we face today is lack of knowledge. DID YOU KNOW: All house members as well as congress only have to do one term and they can retire at there full pay? We need to demand they cut that program. Check it out: google THE GOLDEN FLEECE RETIREMENT PLAN. It is enough to make any hard working America sick. Through the tough times we all are facing, it is better to support each other then to critizes. God Bless.

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  55. Lets dispell some myths here:

    1.) Food Services - this enterprise is the ONLY area that actually generates revenue for the District. It operates in the black. It is self-sustaining. It does not need to be cut.

    2.) Teacher Salaries (or any salary for that matter) - you are not looking at TOTAL COMPENSATION. Using the foregoing posters' salary of $60,000 (which is pretty accurate because the average MUSD teacher salary is $60,540)... you now add in H&W benefits at a cost of $9,800 per year and the total comp is actually at $70,340. Now, multiply that by 65 teachers and the bill is $4,572,100.

    You've got to look at total cost of ownership.

    3.) Busing - busing is the 2nd hugest drag on a district's general fund followed by special ed. It is not self-sustaining and it is an enterprise that actually loses money for the district. So - CANCEL all busing or SUBSTANTIALLY raise fees.

    4.) Testing - Why test? Cancell all STAR testing.

    5.) Textbooks - Why buy new books and why buy several sets? One set per pupil per classroom. Move toward utilizing the CD-roms that come with nearly ALL text books.

    6.) Administrator Salaries - Comments on this blog are EXCEPTIONALLY short-sighted on this issue. The district has already cut back on Assistant Principals, froze hiring and have elminated positions that are not filled. They are also contemplating a 5-day furlough.

    7.) Cuts at the DO - go spend a day in their shoes and see if you then have the same conclusion...'til then... close the pie hole underneath your nose.

    Balancing the budget:

    a. Freeze All Step and Column Raises for two fiscal years and do not restore them.... in other words...no catch up!

    b. Selectively Early Retire the Tenured Teachers Maxed Out on the Pay Scale - get rid of them and keep the young, more productive ones who would rather NOT BE IN THE UNION but have to because it's a closed shop.

    c. Cut Health & Welfare Benefits - all employees pay ... make it a 60/40 split or a 50/50 split instead of 100% in most cases.

    d. Mothball the bus fleet, layoff drivers, and bring 'em back in 2011/12 (or earlier).

    e. Cut All Employee Pay - classified, teachers and management...no exceptions... if you want a job, suck it up and take the pay cut.

    f. Temporarily increase class size reduction for two fiscal years - go to some ratio that is between 20:1 and 30:1.

    Every industry in America are taking hits... why should teachers keep their jobs?

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  56. I like the idea of creatively modifying czr and expanding it up to 4th grade. No classroom should have over 27. California is 49th in the Nation for class size. We need to fix that considering our diverse population and special needs.
    Thanks to you who are providing us with some actual dollar amounts. It is easier to discuss the issues with exact numbers.

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  57. O.K. who was the idiot who got 650,000 out of 65,000 X65 teachers? Oh, that was me! Sorry folks. :) Thanks for the correction! I stand corrected.

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  58. To the above poster - FYI Classified is already taking a 2 and 1/2 month PAY CUT. Considering how many classified employees there are, that is huge. That big of a pay cut really hits hard so cutting them even more does not make sense.

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  59. "Every industry in America are taking hits... why should teachers keep their jobs?"

    Why should teachers keep their jobs??? Are you KIDDING ME???? Who in the world do you expect to step in in their place?? Is public education not one of the most important industries?? Am I the only parent that wants to keep teachers? Seriously?? Why would I want to get rid of a well qualified, seasoned, tenured teacher, who has made a career out of teaching children-- only to get a new teacher in there who maybe isn't as qualified?? Personally, I think it benefits our kids to keep the teachers happy who do so much for our children! My husband was laid off, but that doesn't mean I expect other people, especially TEACHERS to take a hit just because of my unfortunate situation. Teachers are notoriously underappreciated and underpaid. They spend all day giving your children a FREE and APPROPRIATE education while you sit here and moan and groan about their salaries?? I say give them a RAISE!!

    Whoever said that, I implore you to rethink your way of thinking.

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  60. "Teachers are notoriously underappreciated and underpaid. They spend all day giving your children a FREE and APPROPRIATE education while you sit here and moan and groan about their salaries??"

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    Teachers ARE NOT underpaid...and in this financial crisis EVERYONE needs to share the burden. My chidrens' education is not free!!! What planet do you live on?

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  61. Why should teachers keep their jobs?
    It's hard to believe that anyone would actually pose that question!
    First of all, we work tirelessly. Many of us put in hours at home every night after spending the entire day teaching and caring for your children. A lot of us work on the weekend, and during off track time. We often spend more time with your children than we do our own children. And if you do the math, we spend more time during the week with your children than you do. Next, we have taken on the responsibility of preparing your children for their future. We want to see your children succeed. The love of knowledge, love for our jobs, and love of your children drives us to be the best teacher we can be for your child. We view your children as our own. It isn't unusual to have sleepless nights as a teacher. We worry about your children just as you do. Our jobs aren't over after the kids go home. Also,we all wear many hats and preform many different roles. We are teachers, friends, confidants, role models, surrogate moms and dads, problem solvers, mediators, and even heroes. We don't necessarily view ourselves as all of the above, but your children do. It is unfortunate that a small few of you feel that teachers are not important enough to fight for. Truthfully, smaller class sizes make all the difference in our kids' education. If class size reduction goes, it won't come back. And the state isn't going to lower the state standards to where they were last time we had 30 - 1. That means school will be even more difficult and challenging especially for our English language learners and for students who are at risk. Hopefully, most of our community doesn't feel the same. We are friends and members of the same community as you, and we are feeling the same pain and difficulty as you are. We are frightened too!
    Most of us are absolutely willing to compromise. We don't want to see anyone loose their jobs. If taking a pay cut will save jobs then so be it.

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  62. C'mon people. We are all feeling this crisis. All of us. Bashing and bad mouthing helps NO ONE. We are all frustrated and worried.

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  63. Too many Dam Teachers are commenting here..like it has been said you need a pay cut or find another job, The district employees maybe hardworking but so is the rest of America and they have been forced to take cuts..The elitism is ridculous in this District where in the heck do you feel that you are above pay cuts. I will be at the meeting and I say cut Admin and teachers salaries if they quite right behind them is someone else. Finally the food program works in the black because the food is AWFUL....Garbage. Same crap every month Print 1 Calendar for the year. Yes the fat hogs at the top of our legislation will get cut out too, but we will do the same locally. Teachers stop your crying we want your salaries cut..Period. Get rid of Music and reduce the VP Positions and appoint 1 rotating position for every 2 schools. ? Did our Super get a raise and a new car that we are footing the bill. Stop the madness and the bureaucratic lobbying by the teachers..If they won't take the pay cut..fire some of them. To the previous writer using "Pie Hole"..You are one of the conservatives who volunteer nothing and always have your hand out for raises...Get with America and tighten your belt and take your lumps.

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  64. The newer teachers in the district are the ones who have the latest training, are usually more energetic and enthusiastic, they tend to be more creative, and are just as qualified as the tenured teachers. They wouldn't be teachers in this district or any other district if they weren't. If the district looses them, it would be a significant loss for the children and the district.

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  65. "Teachers are notoriously underappreciated and underpaid. They spend all day giving your children a FREE and APPROPRIATE education while you sit here and moan and groan about their salaries??"

    First cut the Music Program..we do not have Murietta or Temecula's Tax base. We also do not have their Test Scores either. If these teachers are soo good..they would stop crying on here and take a cut..but since Unions won't agree..we will start eliminating teachers positions and Administrators that hire them. There is nothing pleasant about this, there are less families to serve with the foreclosure rate so high, but yet we are still building new schools. Do not fight parents who care about their kids, teachers have shown their true colors by rallying around only when their jobs are on the line..try to get one to cooperate with parents..or the district to allow transfers out. This is not a friendly environment and it will only get worse before better. The cost of homes have gone down..So reduce salaries accordingly.

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  66. Yes, your children's education through the 12th grade is free. Education is free in this country. How is that fact remotely surprising? Free busing is not guaranteed by law, new textbooks aren't guaranteed by law, everything that goes above and beyond standard education isn't guaranteed by law. But a free and appropriate education my friend, is. I loved the "what planet do I live on", great theatrics!

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  67. Get rid of the free lunch program. More than half is thrown away anyway.
    Who's feeding these kids on the weekends when there's school?

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  68. I am a teacher in Menifee and I would like to start by thanking Jason to take the time to reach out to our community and actively seek out inventive ways to cut the budget.

    I would also like to let the community know that we don't think that our industry should be untouchable. What we do think is that our industry is very important. Our industry is your children and our countries future and if we don't look out for it who will.

    While many agree and while many of use teachers know that when it comes to cutting our budget the easiest thing to cut to personal, however this is not always the best solution. Know that if we cut class size reduction is it not that easy to get it back, so think about this as not a temporary solution but something that may turn out to be a long term fact for our district and your children. So parents if you don't want this you have to let the board know, you have to let the state know.

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  69. The school districts need to cut bureaucracy and administrative costs and place the focus back on teaching our kids and paying our teachers a fair wage for good work. Get rid of tenure, which keeps bad teachers around just because they've been around.

    The schools should not be an experiment in social engineering, but a place where our kids can learn and experience life at their level. Music and the Arts are an extremely important (and underrated) part of our kids education, and should be retained as a compliment to the essentials: Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.

    Also, a good education in real American History and Economics will serve the future of America well. Considering what the last 3 generations have done to this country and state, our kids are going to need all the help they can get.

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  70. On Busing:

    Please, think about this everyone: If you cut busing, imagine the time we parents are going to spend burning fuel, and wasting our time sitting in traffic transporting our kids to school. It is simply more efficient for our community to have the busing program to have a few vehicles transporting a lot of kids than all of us with our cars waiting to drop our kids off. Car pools are GREAT, and should be encouraged, but we can't All do it.

    If you have to raise the cost of bus permits, I think that's a better solution than cutting busing altogether. Fuel costs will be going up again soon, I suspect.

    As to some posts on here about conservative principles being the cause of our problems, it is ridiculous and ignorant to even make such an assertion.

    Not to get into a political debate, but Conservative principles haven't been tried in this State for over twenty years. Look today and see which party is in charge in Sacramento! Tax and spend Liberal democrats. This economy is a result of misappropriation of public revenues (your tax dollars) and overspending on the part of our State and Federal government, and it will not get better until responsible Conservative principles are applied to our budget problems.

    http://www.heritage.org/LeadershipForAmerica/education.cfm

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  71. This is a very difficult time for everyone. There isn’t an industry that is being spared from this economic downturn. What makes it more difficult for a school district is that the “product” is children.

    I do not want to see anyone in the district lose their job. Everyday there is another group of Thousands of people losing their jobs. Millions of families have been torn by this economy. When it is in your own backyard it is even more difficult.

    My children have been fortunate to attend the best school in the district, Ridgemoor. (I hope you all feel your school is the best.) They have had the Best teachers we could have hoped for. This includes “veteran” teachers and “rookies” as well. The combination of these is what makes this school amazing.

    Unfortunately 80-90% of a school district’s budget is people. I pray the groups of employees can come together and find a middle ground so the kids continue to receive the wonderful experience they currently are receiving.

    As parents we will also have to make sacrifices. I don’t know if that is driving our kids to school, because there are no buses. Or packing a lunch everyday, because there isn’t a lunch program. Changes are going to be made. I hope these changes unite us, not separate us.


    Thanks for all of your input.

    Jason

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  72. I would encourage everyone to contact Legislation. I am not sure if anyone knows but while they wait to make decisions on our school budgets we are losing money... had they made a decision in November their would be an addition 4 billion available for our schools... so please take the time to let them know our schools need to be funded properly.

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  73. Responsible and Conservative don't exist together. Yes the Liberals spend too much, but there issue is spending without proper funding. Conservatism doesn't work, is unrealistic, and based in ignorance. I wish the world was as simple as conservatives believe it is, but it isn't.

    School lunches are in the black because they are funded federally.

    Teacher retirements are equal investment between the state and the employee. It is better than the average retirement, but when 401k's became popular and every Tom, Dick, and Harry switched to them because they were going to make millions in the market, teachers held their ground and stuck with pensions. When times are good, your 401k will produce substantially more money than teacher pensions. when times are bad they produce less. We, as a society, allowed businesses and corporations off the hook, so we shouldn't complain about other's benefits. We need to expect it for ourselves.

    A strong intellectual society is vital to a strong America. We have spent the last eight eyes dealing with an administration that looked at intellectualism as a detriment. It is easier to con the stupid than the intelligent. Education is at the forefront of an intellecutal society. Running the educational system is extremely expensive, but the expense is worth it. To some, taxes are a burden, as we can see from previous postings, but taxes should be used to strenghten society, not the pocketbooks of a few.

    Cuts need to be made, and will, but California will continue to suffer in the future unless we throw out the faulted ideas of the past. Tax cuts don't work. Tax cuts are, in fact, regressive to the strength of our society. Tax cuts will create a larger deficit and will solve nothing. Spending needs to be cut where needed, but we should be concentrating on making sure our money is spent wisely, rather than cutting indiscriminatly. If we hope to compete in the coming future, schools should be treated with caution.

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  74. www.heritage.org/LeadershipForAmerica/education.cfm

    As a warning to people, heritage.org is the Conservative equivalent to Moveon.org, but with their facts even more twisted. Factcheck.org has corrected quite a few of heritage.org's factual errors and bias'.

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  75. Please don't cut the band program. If that is cut, what arts do the kids have in the district? The elementary music teachers already share schools anyway, so to cut a program already split doesn't make much sense. How much money would really be saved if band was cut? The kids would suffer with no substantial savings to the district.
    As far as busing is concerned, I think cutting it for middle schools is an idea and keep it for elementary schools. This way the little ones don't have to walk long distances. My son will be in middle school next year, and that gives me plenty of time to make arrangements for when he starts the 6th grade in September. That gives us ALL time to make such arrangements should it be neccessary. I think cutting busing to only the middle schools is a good compromise.

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  76. Good question! How much would we save if we cut___________? We need actual numbers not opinions and hot headed come backs. So, if you are out there...how much can be saved if we make cuts in music? bussing? etc. etc.
    If the entire MUSD certificated, classified, and DO all took a 5% paycut how much would that save? We save 65,000 per teacher (very high estimate because beginning teachers make much less) but we have 32 kids in kindergarten and that is not good. Can the DO furnish some hard facts to the public so they are better informed and avoid silly, innacurate arguing? Jason, what did you hear at tonights meeting?

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  77. Is anyone allowed to attend the BAC meetings? I know one was tonight, when is the next one? When is the board deciding what cuts they are going to make?

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  78. This evening's BAC meeting was closed to the public. I actually showed up, because I didn't see anything saying it was closed. But when I got there, I asked if I could sit in anyways, and report back to the folks. They wouldn't let me.

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  79. Steve, thanks for trying to get in to the meeting. It would be interesting to hear what they are tossing around. To the person saying the district, teachers and classified should take a 5% cut across the board, the classified personnel who do not work at the district office are ALREADY taking a TWO AND ONE HALF MONTH pay cut. I don't think they could afford much more of a cut than they are already getting. I do agree, however, that those who work at the district office should take some sort of cut, whether it is a percentage, or a reduction in hours. As it is now, they are not taking any cuts yet.

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  80. At yesterday’s meeting, the BAC began going through the enormous amount of suggestions it has received. This process will continue next week, as we attempt to quantify every possible option.

    Once we put all of the options on the table we try and prioritize the options. I believe this is going to be the difficult part, because one’s priority is obviously different form another’s, but the feeling I received is there will be some consensus on many options. After all, everyone is going to have to sacrifice to make it work. The cuts are going to be so severe that if there isn’t compromise, the budget will never be “balanced”.

    As a note, the BAC is only preparing suggestions to be presented to the Governing Board who will ultimately make the final decision. So, please continue to “brainstorm” ideas and post them or convey them directly to the Board.

    Thanks,

    Jason

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  81. Jason -
    Do you have the date of the Board Meeting that these suggestions will be presented?

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  82. Jason,
    Can you comment on this?
    Do you feel some of the district office people on the BAC are leaning or pushing to eliminate CSR because it saves a huge chunk of money and that they feel all of the other things are just too small to cut and do any good? In other words, are they looking at a simple solution by cutting big things instead of being creative and cutting lots of small things?

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  83. We do realize that classified's pay will be cut by the transition to traditional year. Many certificated staff also are taking a cut as their 210 day contract will be drastically cut to fit a traditional year. Noone ever thought traditional would be a reality and many in teaching, as in the rest of the country are regretting having gotten used to spending what they were used to getting. But alas, we in this district are all facing a double whammie, traditional track and the present economic reality. The traditional track system cuts the pay of all our special services personnel(certificated)and any teacher who relies on off track income, such as the young and energetic teachers, lower on the pay scale who substitute in their off track time to earn money. The worst for them if they are one of the 65. Last year our District was very good to them and I am sure it will be hard to bring the ax down this year. We teachers who love our new staff and the DO who, as of last year had mercy and stuck to "we are family" refusing to hand out those pink slips.
    This is hard for all concerned. Thank you Jason for volunteering your time. I have faith you and the rest on the BAC will painfully do your very best for our kids in the end. You all are in my prayers because it will take a divine intervention to keep my little angel from having to share a K teacher with 32 other kids who are their mommy's angels and whose mommy's want the best for them.

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  84. To February 05, 2009 6:33 PM:
    I believe the Board will be discussing the budget options at the February 24 meeting, but I am not completely sure on that. I know the timeline is very tight.


    To February 05, 2009 7:56 PM:
    As far as Class Size Reduction goes, my opinion would be that this is one area that is going to be hard to keep. The reason I say that is because of the large dollar amount that is associated with. The most difficult thing about that, it is one area that almost everybody wants to see maintained, including myself. Also, the BAC is looking at many options big and small, that include CSR down to the amount of postage used.


    To February 05, 2009 8:42 PM:
    You write as though you know that CSR is going to be eliminated, by your comment of 65 teachers getting the worst of it. Please enlighten me on how you know that this is one of the cuts? The reason I ask, if the decisions are already made, I will stop wasting my time.



    Thanks for the help,

    Jason

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  85. Jason -
    It appears to me that the poster who commented "if they are one of the 65" is only making comments based on the observations of the comments we have read here, the comments being circulated in the community, and an understanding of the District's finances. It is a reasonable conclusion that CSR is in serious jeopardy as you, yourself, have said.

    I have to admit that as a long-time community member, it is difficult to believe that we can save Class Size Reduction this time around. The districts around us are being faced with the same challenge and I don't think the Governing Board and the BAC can be faulted if they have to make that decision.

    I think they should also look at reducing the work year for the classified staff that has not ALREADY taken a hit in their paycheck.

    Eliminating transportation is such a double-edged sword. If you eliminate it, you risk losing ADA for students who can't make it to school consistently - and that WILL happen.

    I am curious to see if the district plans any public forums like they did last spring. Jason -any word on that??

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  86. Ok, IF class size reduction is eliminated, is it all or nothing? Or can it at least be kept 20/1 at the K-1 level where the students need it the most?

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  87. Jason,

    do you know why the minutes are not posted from the last BAC meeting on the districts website?

    Also can you comment on whether or not the union has offered up any ideas or is supporting any of the cuts?

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  88. If you would like to save class size reduction I would encourage you to call 1-888-268-4334. This is the number the will get you to your state legislator and you can let them know how the cuts will be affecting you child and our education system.

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  89. No. I do not know that csr is definately going to be eliminated. I believe that MUSD has had a primary goal to be the top school district in the county. I would hope, and you should too until the very last minute, that they will come up with the best solution and the most minimal effect on effective programs. CSR has been powerful in keeping our scores up. To eliminate it is going to have incredible consequences when it comes to the quality of the school environment, the ability to maintain good teachers, and the ability to keep our scores where they are or to improve. Noone is wasting their time in searching for the best solution. Call the numbers, picket if you can, write legislators, whatever it takes. Who wastes their time when they are called to serve? If you believe in the cause you will go down fighting.

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  90. 1-800- Waaahhhh!

    It is the same old union song and dance routine.

    Please - show us some empirical evidence that CSR delivers a better educational product. How do you measure it? What are the grades? What are the scores? How do you define your position?

    What makes you think that a 20:1 ratio in K-3 delivers a better lesson plan? No one can quantify class size reduction and they never have!

    And another thing.... The CTA espouses the vile filth that California ranks somewhere near the bottom of 'per pupil spending' in America. Guess what? Wrong again!

    According to the Rand Corporation the state of California ranks #28 out of 50 in per pupil spending, yet, California only graduates 65% of the 9th graders who enter high school. In contrast, the state of Iowa ranks #35th in per pupil spending, yet, Iowan's graduate 85% of pupils who enter the 9th grade.

    So...which taxpayers get more education bang for their buck?

    I am sick and tired of the CTA Union stating that Proposition 13 ruined education funding in California. What is ruining education in California in the Teacher's Union!

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  91. To February 06, 2009 7:57 PM:

    I have volunteered to be on the BAC because I am concerned about the education that my children will receive. I do not feel I am wasting my time. That is, if decisions have not been made and the suggestions that are being brought to the BAC are really going to be considered. If the District and the Governing Board have already made their decisions “behind closed doors” then I feel they are wasting my time. When I see posts that say 65 people are going to lose their positions, which is consistent with going to 30:1, I become skeptical that eliminating CSR has been decided on already.

    I don’t know who is posting when they post as anonymous. So when someone posts that CSR is going to be eliminated, the post could be coming from someone that has direct knowledge.

    Thanks,

    Jason

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  92. "Every industry in America are taking hits... why should teachers keep their jobs?"

    Well...let's see, perhaps because it is important to educate children!

    We are well aware that all of America is taking a hit. We too are willing to do our part pay decreases and all. Most teachers are not in it for the money. They teach becasue they LOVE children. We do not get paid much to begin with, a cut in our salary will hurt, but we are used to it and would choose that over losing class size reduction. Losing class size reduction would be horrible for our children. We should keep these cuts as far away from the classroom as possible. Our children are the future and we cannot forget that!
    In addition, neither my husband or I have EVER had 100% of our health benefits paid for, in any of the districts we worked for. Get your information correct! We have always paid a large portion of that as well as spend our salaries on school supplies and necessary educational material that engages students!

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  93. "Too many Dam Teachers are commenting here.."
    I wasn't aware that teachers were not allowed to post their feelings and opinions here... I guess we forgot to ask your permission, so sorry. Perhaps we are posting because we are concerned about the state of education and how it will affect our children. I may be a teacher, but I am a concerned parent first! I appreciate hearing the constructive ideas being formed here and I hope the BAC committee is looking at these suggestions and gaining ideas from them.
    In regards to your spelling and grammar, it looks like you must not have a had a very good "Dam" teacher or perhaps it wasn't the teacher and had something to do with the fact that you had 30+ students in your classroom growing up?

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  94. Do we need 1 district superintendent and 3 assistant superintendents? That is a lot of money in salaries for a small district.

    Do D.O. secretaries and assistants need their own secretaries?

    How many people do we need sitting around answering phones?

    State testing should be eliminated when we are in a crisis such as this. State testing is a HUGE cost and if eliminated or scaled back could save a huge amount of money. Is testing more important than the education of our children?

    Benchmark testing is another huge cost. Can it be suspended until money is better?

    Do we NEED a new language arts adoption or will the adoption we have work fine for a couple of more years?

    Parents should be required (not suggested) to supply their children with the basic supplies they need for school.

    The district is using a very expensive company to order school supplies. We get very little for a large amount of money. Have they looked into finding a supplier with lower costs? Wal-Mart and Target have some wonderful school supply sales with prices much less than half of what we pay now for crayons and pencils.

    Do we need Zangle and how much could we save by eliminating it? We can go back to turning in attendance on paper.

    Do we need OARS? How much could we save by eliminating that?

    I do not see why on earth food services needs to be employed on anything less than a 10-month salary? If students are not in school, we do not need food services! A yearly menu would save a lot of paper. It is basically the same menu every month anyway…

    How many custodians does a school really need? Other districts have 1 custodian during the day, and 2 custodians at night and every room gets cleaned every night. We have many custodians and our rooms are cleaned every other night…

    What savings can be made by a 1%-5% pay cut on all district employees? Certificated, classified, D.O. (including superintendents).

    Busing needs to be eliminated or fees increased greatly.

    I realize that these ideas greatly influence people’s jobs. I don’t want to see anyone lose his or her job or take a decrease in pay. No one deserves that! However, I am more concerned to see cuts being taken at our children. As far as I am aware ALL of the BAC ideas are taking direct aim at our children’s classrooms. They are looking for big-ticket items such as getting rid of class size reduction. They need to broaden their ideas and look at other items that will not affect the students. More importantly we need to be calling our state legislators and letting them know how unhappy we are that we are being forced to make cuts that should NOT be happening.
    Once again I apologize to those that would be affected by some of my ideas, but as a parent and a teacher I have to look at ways that would be less harmful to all of my children.

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  95. No---the Union is NOT giving any ideas. Salaries across the board need to be cut. We are in a fiscal crisis and all district personnel needs to take a pay cut. A pay cut will not hurt our students. It's unfortunate that the union is not stepping in to suggest a pay cut. I have been to several schools and teachers are suggesting a pay cut for all to save class size reduction, jobs, and to preserve the educational environment for all students. Here are some numbers that have been thrown around:

    For teachers to take a pay cut at 1% would be a savings of $500,000. What would this number look like if all district employees took a pay cut? What would a 4% pay cut look like?

    If class size reduction gets eliminated it will be very difficult to get back.

    Think about it…
    Bigger classes
    All students on campus at the same time
    Less support staff

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  96. Yes! We do rank around 28 in pupil spending. You are right Mr. Feb. 6 at 10:19. However, you are short sighted in several areas. The demographics in CA do not compare to Iowa. With LA, San Fran, and a few other huge weights we rank very low in scores. This is true. When scores are averaged in a state this big that is what you get. I, as a conservative, republican, and very financially practical person do not side with CTA on many, many issues. The immigration issue this last few years and how our former president handled it (or should I say did not handle it) made me sick. It did not make me vote Democrat because they won't solve the problem either. The demographics of this state along with todays poor parenting and special education anomalies make the educational challenges incredible. There are no easy answers. BUT, CSR has worked in this district and you would have to be an idiot to insinuate that there will be little difference with 32 kids demanding a teachers time and attention. Our scores are in and you must be out to lunch! CA ranks 49 in class size. Or did you not notice that right under the table of per pupil spending? Class size does make a difference more so than spending.

    Good teachers such as this district has can teach on a shoe string. Many have stated they will take a pay cut over the loss of class size reduction. That is commendable. The union cannot suggest it though because the majority of teachers are not K-3 teachers. The union has not formally come out against it either.
    I do not have 20 in my classroom right now but I support CSR because the majority of the kids that come to me are grade level and ready to go with my curriculum. It was NOT that way before CSR. The standards are much higher now. Our children should not have to pay for our mistakes. They deserve a good education and a positive school experience.
    I encourage many of you who have not been in a classroom recently to call one of our schools and ask to visit. I suggest you visit several grades at several different schools. The staff and children will welcome you and I am sure it will be a wonderfully positive experience.

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  97. You make a good argument and, although I don't agree with you, I appreciate the fact that at least one teacher acknowledges the erroneous 'per pupil spending' diatribe that always seems to get put forth when funding education in California is discussed.

    We all need to measure performance in some way. What that way is seems to always be up for debate so your opinion is as good as mine. However, I view the successs of the educational mission as Kindergarten through graduation from the 12th grade and how many students actually graduate at the end.

    There are socio-economic conditions that make that difficult to be sure. However, when you measure per pupil funding against the graduation rates of all 50 states it really does open you eyes.

    Therefore, you have not persuaded me that CSR in any way effects the product that is produced at the other end... that is to say graduation from the 12th grade.
    After all, isn't that really the goal... well rounded young adults who have a similar baseline education with basic skills to either go out into the work force, go to college or join the military?


    All three of my children went to Menifee schools. All three graduated high school. All three...much to the damage of my pocket book because I make too much money and cant' get those 'free edcuational dollars' for college...did at least go to college. However, each blossomed as students at different times in their lives. One always got it right away at every grade level. One didn't get it unti around the 8th grade. The last one didn't get it until the 2nd semester of their sophomore year of high school. Yet, all graduated and all went off to college.

    Class Size Reduction in grades K-3 is not that important and can be TEMPORARILY increased during this fiscal crisis. It can be restored when the economy returns and the District can ramp staffing back up to meet the CSR levels.

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  98. Go to http://www.legislature.ca.gov/ and let your legislators know that you expect them to do the job that they were elected to do. Until we know what the budget is, we are all just shooting at moving targets. The problem is, those targets are too often our children. Let your voice be heard by the people who can solve this crisis.

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  99. To Anonymous, at February 07, 2009 10:15 PM:

    I believe the numbers you discuss, 1% and $500,000; represent a District-wide number. I am pretty sure it is not just teachers.


    To Anonymous, at February 06, 2009 12:53 PM:

    I do not know why the minutes are not being posted. I thought the District was going to try and put them on the website.

    To this point I have not heard anything regarding negotiations with the Unions. Because of the short timeline that the District has to present a budget to the Board, I would guess that negotiations are ongoing.


    Thanks,

    Jason

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  100. I think we should start by eliminating some of the maintanence and janitorial people follwed by the busing . I saw some parents out with vans last time we went through the budget crisis offering rides for a fraction of the cost and it helped other parents out too. Also get rid of the food service , that stuff is unfit to eat and my children never buy it. Then start with the ADMINISTRATIONS salaries and cut there... Start with these items BEFORE you hit the classrooms or other programs that will actually affect our kids. Sally

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  101. I am not sure if everyone is aware but if we agree to let class size reduction go IT IS NOT a temporary solution. If the board in fact votes and class size reduction is cut it will never come back to Menifee. So we need to remember that, we also need to remember that the district gets money for having class size reduction, if CSR goes that money will follow and the district will once again be looking at things to cut.

    For those of you who don't know teacher are will to take a cut. While our union is not talking about it but the teachers are. We know after teacher day in and day out the that the children are what is most important, and that they are what comes first, we are willing to take cuts so that it does not affect them.

    I know I will be at the board meeting on Tuesday. My goal is to let the board be aware that teacher are will to take cut to keep the cuts away from the children. We have also talked about other ways the district might be able to save money, through our benefits packages (health insurance), and to also look at what the district will save by not have to fund BTSA which is a program designed to help teacher be successful with our children in their first two years of teaching, as there will no longer be a need for the program.

    Finally as a teacher I would like to let the community know that teachers are trying to come together to come up with solution for the budget crisis. We are not sitting around hoping it won't affect us, we know that it will, but many of us are trying to keep it from affecting the children and the classrooms in which they learn.

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  102. The district does indeed receive a monetary incentive to achieve CSR. However, that monetary incentive DOES NOT cover the total compensation costs (salary, health & welfare benefits, and STRS contributions) for the extra teachers it takes to achieve a 20:1 ratio.

    ...and another thing.... Eliminating food services is absolutely stupid. The food service program is completely self-sustaining and continues to operate in the black year after year. It does not encroach on the district's general fund revenue and because it actually earns revenue in excess of expenditure it should not be touched.

    Conversely, busing does! Busing and unfunded special education mandates and programs are the biggest encroachers to a school district's revenue.

    Busing is not required by law.

    Special Ed is required by law.

    The stark reality is that total compensation of employees is the biggest expenditure for any school district in California. Therefore, with this deep recession and an unprecedented deficit, there is NO WAY that employees will not be affected.

    That is the cold hard truth!

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  103. I'll bet food services makes money. Chicken rings, bean and cheese burrito, pizza, chicken tenders, and trukey corn dogs are the main course (that rotates each day) and fruit and veggie bar, choice of milk. I can't believe this food is allowed to be served in schools. Parents, your children would be better off if you made them a lunch everyday. There is nothing well rounded about the food served and it is really disgusting.

    Jason, please ask this question of the DO, Why is food services working all summer long when there are not going to be any students. The menu never changes and can just be copied from this year. I could have the Aug- June menu ready to print in about 2 hours.

    Also, has the DO provided an exact budget for the BAC to go over. I would think that with the qualified people on this committee you could all come up with a lot of little things that could be cut if you were provided with the information necessary. They should give you a print out of the budget and where every penny goes so that you have all the facts and can make responsible cuts.

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  104. I think most of us are realistic, and we realize that the employees are going to be affected in someway. Payroll accounts for approximately 90% of the budget. Teacher salaries account for about 47% of the total payroll (according to our district's SARC report a couple of years ago). Yes, this is a large sum, but what about the remaining percentage that makes up district payroll? None of us wants to see anyone loose their job! But we are supposed to be educating children. That is our goal and our job. Right now, all of the rumors that have been circulating have the students and teachers taking the full brunt of of this deficit problem. Many very good, creative ideas for saving money have been presented to the BAC. There are many ideas that may save a little here and a little there, but when added together could amount to a sizable amount of money. A lot of people feel that these options aren't being given greater consideration, or any consideration at all for that matter. Implementing some of these cost cutting ideas could save some jobs, and help keep drastic cuts from the children. Teachers want to preserve 20:1 because it best serves our kids. We are willing to take pay cuts to keep it. We are most certainly not in this profession to make money! We are here for the kids, and because this is a truly meaningful profession.

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  105. 20:1 CSR will not stand. Other districts are already coming to that conclusion and have made that difficult choice, i.e. Jurupa Unified for one (reference the PE article last week). Other will surely follow and there is no way Menifee can not cut CSR in a K - 8 district.

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  106. The Teachers Union is not suggesting anything. The Union president is doing nothing, but protecting incompetent teachers. I have been in the district for more than ten years and have never felt represented by the union. The bottom line is teachers are willing to take a pay cut.

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  107. I love teachers. Some of my very best and dearest friends are teachers. The one's I know CANNOT stand the teachers union. The problem with "teaching", in the long run in California, is the California Teacher's Association (CTA). Why? The union attempts to espouse the American way but, their dues go toward inherently ANTI-AMERICAN activities, virtues and values. In other words... Socialism.

    The CTA is what is known as a 'closed shop'. You have no choice but to join. You have no choice but to pay dues. You really have no voice because if someone is 'Senior' to you...you get 'bumped' from your job even though you perform it better than the lame ass who bumped you. You have a veiled attempt to 'elect' that your dues go to non-political purposes but, we all know where the money gets spent.

    I grew up around this crap. I have deep imbedded feelings about my views toward unions. A unionized work force in a PROFESSIONAL setting, i.e. Teachers, is an oxymoron. We can calmy debate the manufacturing industry but, when it comes to doctors, lawyers, teachers, air traffic controllers and yes, even public safety unions, i.e. fire, law enforcement, emergency services.... come on... give me a break! Really...where is the adverse working condition for a teacher?

    Here's clue - get paid for your performance and the product that you produce. Don't get paid, or rewarded because you have so much time on the job and you're entitled to the next column and step on the pay scale.

    That is inherently 'anti-American' and is socialist at is core.

    I am so sick and tired of the teacher debate every year that there is a contract negotiation or significant fiscal event in California that effects public education funding.

    Hey...here's a novel idea. Why don't we have teachers spend time in OTHER INDUSTRY before they become teachers of America's youth. Why do I say this? Let me begin with this...

    Lets take a 21-year old college grad with a teaching credential. What experience do they have? What real life experiences can they contribute to the lesson plan?
    How can they possibly relate to:
    - an abusive parent or relative;
    - a deployed sibling or parent in Iraq;
    - a student with parents who have lost their jobs.....

    I can go on and on and on.....!

    I hold a bachelors degree, a masters degree and 35 unit beyond a masters degree. I have experiences beyond the remote comprehensions of a snot-nosed 21-year old college grad with a teaching credential. I have had a successful business and I have had two failed businesses.... but, what does the State of California say to 'us types' .... we don't have a credential...so we cannot teach K - 12 in California.

    California is heading for a collision course unlike that it has ever seen due to 'public employee unions'.

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  108. Class size reduction will not come back once it is gone. It is not a temporary fix. The state will not ever say "oh we took it this year, you may have it back now" in a couple of years. It just won't happen like that. These cuts will not just be devastating to the schools, children, and teachers, but it will also damage the state even more. Unemployment and forclosures will rise, test scores will fall. We need a government that will support our schools. We NEED money to be pumped into the schools. That would create more jobs and increase student scores in California. Pump money into schools and we can have qualified teachers, counselors, speach therapists,psychiatrists, bus drivers, music teachers, pe teachers, librarians. These people all help students and it is SAD that most of these areas are already cut. These students are the ones who will be in charge of our state and country in the future- don't they deserve the best education and support staff? People can use research in any way they want. You can find research that supports class size, and you can find research that does not. The truth is that it DOES work, and teachers and parents and anyone who has been in a classroom knows that. Every teacher has a time period during the day in which the teacher pulls students to work with in small groups and individually to meet each student's needs. By adding children to a classroom it means less time is spent per group and individual because then teachers have to make room to meet with the additional students.There is also such a diverse population in our state that small class sizes are a must.We are living in the times of no child being left behind, but adding 5- 10 kids per class, we are guaranteed to leave SEVERAL students behind- again ask anyone in the classroom who work directly with the students.The district appears to be saying it has to cut both large and small costs anyway- why can't we give our children another year to be successful and cut the smaller stuff first? It would buy some time and hopefully we will have a turn around to where things might pick back up and then our students wouldn't ever need to placed in larger classes. People have provided several ways to cut money without taking it from the classroom and it appears that no one is listening. The smaller stuff, when added up will make a difference. Give our students a chance.

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  109. Oh my dear God...what planet am I on and what COUNTRY am I in?

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  110. Oh my dear God...what planet am I on and what COUNTRY am I in?

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  111. . . . I think somebody needs a hug . . .

    I'm not going to debate the Union issue - my experience with unions has taught me one thing - You take the Good with the BAD. It's a lot like life.

    But I can't believe you actually meant to say this out loud:
    "Lets take a 21-year old college grad with a teaching credential. What experience do they have? What real life experiences can they contribute to the lesson plan?
    How can they possibly relate to:
    - an abusive parent or relative;
    - a deployed sibling or parent in Iraq;
    - a student with parents who have lost their jobs....."

    It's very possible that the 21-year old grad WAS one of the students you describe. It's very likely that the 21-year old grad grew up with friends like you describe. A 21-year old grad is not very far removed from the school setting and all the trials that their peers have endured. I say they can RELATE very well to these things.

    I'm not sure why you are bashing our new young teachers. We need them. Where do you think older more experienced teachers come from?

    I'm confused . . you started by saying you emphatically LOVE teachers and some of your dearest friends are teachers. But I didn't see much support for teachers in your tirade against the CTA and public education. I guess I have missed your point completely. But then I don't have your amazing credentials.

    . . .just keeping it real :)

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  112. That's o.k. 'just keeping it real'... I work more than 184 days, 205 days, 215 days or whatever work schedule you're on with MUSD.

    I work on average 285 days out of 365 days. I work most Saturdays and I have 10 paid holidays. Lets just say you are a '215-dayer'... you work 59% of the calendar year and I work 78% of the calendar year. I won't even go down the road with you that you only work 6.5 hours per day or 32.5 hours per week while the rest of the working world puts in 40-plus hours in a week.

    I maintain that you are overpaid for the work that you do, the hours you put in and the number of days worked in a year in comparison to other comparable employees. You are VERY WELL paid for what you do. Oh by the way... why do you get more money on the pay scale for completing more college credits or when you obtain a Master's Degree as if over night your graduate degree immediately makes you a better teacher? Why do the union reps get to take time off or 'legislative leave' to work / lobby their peers when they should be in the classroom?

    The point of my previous argument was that the CTA (or some entity) has mandated credentialling requirements and has 'locked out' leaders in other industry that would make exceptional teachers.

    The other point of my argument was that the few teachers that I do know can not stand being mandated to join the Union.

    With respect to the 21-year old teacher not being far removed from the classroom, presumably that peer or age group. You actually make my point. I want teachers that 'lead and inspire' students to perform and do the best they can and motivate them in ways that a parent, family member, clergy or other adult role model can not do.

    I do not want teachers that 'relate to' students because they are 4 or 5 years older than the high school junior or senior they are presumably 'molding'. For crying out loud...your 21-year old teacher is still trying to figure things out in life for themselves!

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  113. As a parent of a Menifee Union School District child, and a very proud member of the Firefighters Union, (Yes, "Union Haters" on this site it's my turn now)I am truly disappointed in what has been done by the Menifee Teachers Assoc. to prevent layoffs. We as Union Brothers and Sisters in this Great Country did not get what we have today, Salaries, Benefits, Retirement, Ect, like it or not, by sitting back with the attitude of.." Can't we all just get along with". I was upset to learn that the MTA President was very unprepared to conduct an Q & A session last Friday, and did'nt have many answers to some very important questions for her dues paying members. Ms. MTA President, it's time to step up, or step down!!!!This is crunch time, and no "we can't all get along",when you have job losses hanging over your head.Anyone else feel this way???

    To the post above @ 12:17p.m., do you really want to go down the road of overpaid Teachers & the hours they work???? I know there are some folks on this site that will eat you alive!!!!Think again!!!! I'M JUST KEEPIN IT REAL!!!!

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  114. Um . . . "guy who needs a hug" - it's "keeping it real" here.

    Just for the record,I'm NOT a teacher, never was and never will be. I, too, work 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year with the average vacation leave and holidays thrown in. My job is not on the line, so contrary to what you may think, I have no personal agenda in my posting.

    I just thought your post was unnecessarily hateful and demeaning and I wanted to make the point that new young teachers are the future of teaching.

    That's all I wanted to say - now I'm going to be "keeping it quiet". :)

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  115. Great post by the individual of 12:34. It is the closed minded that perpetuate this problem, as so elequently shown by the 12:17 post.
    I also work a 40+ hour a week and year round to boot, but I chose my profession and it doesn't involve 20-30 kids, which is wy I chose it.
    Post 12:17...Are you suggesting we examine all occupations and decide what pay is valid. I've got news for you, we would have millions of differing opinions on who's job is more valuable.
    After reading further into your post I take issue with a couple items. First lets start with your misunderstanding of hours (obviously scewed to make your point a little more grand). You must not know many teachers/or you are just witness to the wrong ones. The teachers I know get to school at 7:00 and at very least leave at 2:30 (37.50 min weekly hours)...there's your first hole! Second, you must not be witness to teachers who are up until 11:00 + grading papers and creating new and exciting ways of teaching our/your (if you have any)children...you can do the math on the extra hours yourself. Third problem that I see with your argument toward teachers is your comment regarding pay. Are you aware of all the personal funds that get spent by teachers to ensure proper learning. I don't know about you, but I would like for the foundation of my childs educational career to be filled with educated teachers of which you won't see when offering $10 hour wage (see how I scewed that to make that point more grand)!

    As for your confusion on the pay scale and "over night"..."immediately makes you a better teacher" upon obtaining a master degree comment...overnight?...what masters program do you know of that is accomplished over night (i think that speaks for itself)? With all that said I can understand the need for teachers to take a pay cut if it is going to save teachers, but not becuase you "feel" they are over paid. I guess going off your theory of a teachers education and the need for increased pay for "college Credit", a nurse should be paid the same as a doctor, after all it's only more college credits!

    Not everyone gets/deserves a trophy and it is time for the "teachers" union (it is still the teachers union right?) step up, roll up your sleeves and do what's right by the teachers.

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  116. I am incredibly offended by the blogger who posted that teachers make too much money, and they work less than people in other professions. As a relatively new teacher, I am very well educated and very hard working. I work 10 to 12 hours a day, 5 days a week, plus extra time on the weekends. I also spend a considerable amount of time working while I'm off track to be prepared for the months I'm on track. I love my job, and I love to work to make learning enjoyable and meaningful for my students. I also sub while off track because I am at the bottom of the pay scale, and the extra money is helpful. Plus, I spend a lot of my own money in my class for my students. A lot of us work a lot more than most people realize!

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  117. Dearest 12:17 Post;
    First of all, let me ask where you learned to read and write? Was it perhaps from a long line of teachers? Or did you learn everything you know from just wandering through life. Secondly, as a teacher of nine years myself, my job is much more than teaching "reading, writing, rithmetic." My job includes 32 students who come from completely different socioeconomic backgrounds, emotional backgrounds, etc. and to teach them an absurd amount of information (to mastery of course) in a very short time ("184, 205, 215 days). We have increasing demands placed over us as each day passes not able to forget that if these students don't "get it" our job might be on the line.
    I have come to learn over time that you must first meet a child's emotional needs before you can hope to reach their brain. And, it is a very good thing for all of our children that YOU DID NOT choose this profession because you see it in such a cold-hearted manner.
    The post a few previous to my own states that teachers do NOT work the hours you so flippantly gave out. Yes, those are the hours required of us that we DO get paid for. Have you ever sat with a teacher who is grading papers until midnight giving students much feedback on papers so they can, in fact, become coherant writers one day? Have you ever had a wife/husband come home and explain why he/she had to use some of his/her own paycheck for an "awesome project" for the students? Have you ever talked with a teacher during his/her "break" on one of the many UNPAID days spent in the classroom planning for their return? It is clear you have not and you are thus speaking to a subject which you really have no clue.
    Every year, we have to start all over from scratch with a new set of students. The list of students will certainly read like the "12 Days of Christmas" with an array of emotional/educational backgrounds. Yet, we will rise up for the challenge and forge ahead with every intent of making a difference where we can.
    A person like you will never get it because you have closed your mind completely to what it actually means to be a teacher. I encourage you to come into a classroom and be a fly on the wall on any typical day. Then, maybe instead of breaking down one of the foundations of our society, you might come to their defense. Either way, it makes no difference to me. I would like to ask you this favor though. If and when you ever have children, please make a copy of all of your lovely blogs and send it to school with your child. That way the teacher knows where you stand in regards to all the time and energy he/she will devote to your child regardless of your OPINION!

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  118. I appreciate all of your responses and rhetoric toward my postings. They only serve to confirm what I and many, many others in the formerly great state of California believe. I’ll leave you with this…English author George Orwell’s
    "1984" written in 1949 suggests:

    “Totalitarianism is a concept used to describe political systems whereby a state regulates nearly every aspect of public and private life. Totalitarian regimes or movements maintain themselves in political power by means of an official all-embracing ideology and propaganda disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, a single party that controls the state, personality cults, control over the economy, regulation and restriction of free discussion and criticism.”

    Nothing more embodies the CALIFORNIA TEACHER’S UNION, PUBLIC EDUCATION in general in California, and the gerrymandered California State Assembly that keeps the teacher's union so powerful.

    I can’t wait to read the rhetoric in the newspapers following budget discussions and decisions by the school board.

    Have nice life polluting the minds of America's....err sorry...not America.... California's youth!

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  119. to Anonymous, at February 09, 2009 6:50 PM

    Since you feel teachers are polluting the minds of the youth, if you have kids you have the right to pull them out of this terrible system and send them to a private school where most teachers probably don't have teaching credentials or master's degrees and teach for $25k to $35k per year. Or you could homeschool them yourself.

    I also challenge you come in and watch teachers in action. I have such respect especially for elementary elementary teacher (of which I am NOT). How many people can take 20 to 35 kids in a room and keep them all quiet and on task at varied levels of learning? The first time I ever went into a classroom as a parent volunteer I realized that this is a job I could never do. A good elementary teacher has my highest respect. It takes a special kind of person to work with kids the way they do and it really grieves me to keep reading how much you want to tear them down and throw them under the bus. Go walk a couple of miles in their shoes before you make such rude and ignorant comments.

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  120. To Anonymous Blogger at 12:17:

    I would love to respond to your comment in your previous blog:

    "I hold a bachelors degree, a masters degree and 35 unit beyond a masters degree. I have experiences beyond the remote comprehensions of a snot-nosed 21-year old college grad with a teaching credential. I have had a successful business and I have had two failed businesses.... but, what does the State of California say to 'us types' .... we don't have a credential...so we cannot teach K - 12 in California."

    It sounds like you would like to become a teacher. However, even though you hold a bachelor's and master's. Your majors probably have nothing to do with learning how to teach children or classroom management.

    You would need to go the extra mile to do the work to obtain a credential. This would include completing the credential courses necessary for teaching as well as passing rigorous tests mandated by the state (CBEST, RICA, etc.). You would also have to complete student teaching (unpaid) or a supervised internship program. Then, when you began teaching, you would have to complete a 2 year BTSA program being supervised by a mentor.

    It sounds like you would like to be a teacher, but just because I have a bachelor's and master's degree that doesn't mean that I could just decide to become a doctor or lawyer one day and it would magically happen with no extra training.

    I have worked in other professions before becoming a teacher. I worked 40 hours plus per week. But, I was paid overtime when I worked extra hours (as I'm sure that you are) and I never had to take my work home with me. I hardly ever leave when my duty day is done and on that rare occasion that I do, I take my work home with me to finish during my time with my own family. Teachers put in many hours after work and on the weekend that we are not paid for.

    It's a good thing that the state does have strict requirements and makes it tough to get a teaching credential, so that people that are dedicated to and care about children are accepted into the profession.

    Of all of the jobs that I have had, I love this one the most. It is the most challenging and the most rewarding. Even though I am one of the "older" teachers, I have worked alongside these "young" teachers just out of college and I respect them and their life experiences. They have great ideas and a love for teaching. So, knowing how hard they have worked to become teachers and knowing that they are dedicated otherwise they could have used their educations for higher paying professions, as I'm sure that you have.

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  121. I guess you told me!

    Since you are an 'older' teacher, you will hold onto your job at the expense of the 'younger' teacher regardless of performance.

    Gotta love the Union!

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  122. 12:17...

    Are you done yet? You have made your point, You dislike Unions!!!! Guess what...there never going to go away, why? Because we love to hear of people like you who cry about all that we get,pay, benefits, retirement, maybe you should have tried being part of organized labor, then you too would be retired, like the rest of your friends, instead of working 285 days per year. Have you heard the term " Live better work Union???? You need to remind your so called teacher friends who "hate being forced to be in the Union" to be thankful for what they have, or they too would be making the wage of $25-$35 K per year like a private school employee ! Got any more old school quotes like"1984" ?

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  123. The lack of leadership from the teachers union was evident last week. Last Friday the MTA president held a question/answer session for all teachers. The room was filled with concerned both new and veteran teachers. The teachers in the room were asking the hard questions as to what stance the union is taking and what suggestions it has offered to the BAC. Both of these questions went unanswered. The MTA president resorted to the fact that 70 teachers will be let go at the end of the school year. She went on to talk about the process of RIF’s. As a union we SHOULD have spent the bulk of our time brainstorming possible solutions. As suggestions were brought up the one person who has the role of representing the teachers as a unit was shooting down each suggestion that affected her.

    There was a lot of talk about teachers taking a pay cut to save jobs and keep classrooms manageable with 20-1 in the primary grades. Teachers are willing to take a pay cut as long as the pay cut is fair for all district employees. I am one of those teachers at the bottom of the pay scale. A pay cut would greatly affect my family. If me taking a pay cut meant I helped save 70 jobs I would gladly do so. The MTA president is trying to protect those teachers who are at their max pay. I have many teacher friends throughout the district and the sense from most teachers is they are willing to take a pay cut if it meant saving jobs and keeping class sizes manageable. Thousands of people are taking a decrease in pay why should teachers be any different.

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  124. “You only work 6.5 hours per day or 32.5 hours per week while the rest of the working world puts in 40-plus hours in a week.”
    In my many years of teaching, I have NEVER worked a 6.5 hour day and I don’t know of any teacher that has. We are PAID to work 7.5 hours every day. The many hours we put in after and before our duty days are NOT PAID. We are also NOT PAID for all the planning and prepping we do on weekends. We are still NOT PAID for work we do while we are off-track to better the learning of our students. We are working hard creating inviting, welcoming classrooms, grading papers, planning curriculum, differentiating our instruction to meet the needs of all of our students, prepping work, making copies, creating teacher made materials to enhance the subject matter we are teaching, and this list just names a few… Now let’s talk money… Every year I spend on average $1,200 of my personal salary on necessary supplies and items that benefit the children in my class. I know of very few professions where you need to invest your own hard earned money on the job you do.
    I cannot begin to explain how offended I am by your ignorance. I too invite you to come and spend a day with me in my profession. With your clouded vision of what you think teaching is, it is clear that you will not last long in my shoes. However, if you feel you can do my job and do it better presumably, go pay your college tuition dues and take the courses needed for your teaching credential. Keep in mind that you will NOT be PAID for the student teaching you will have to complete to get that credential.
    In addition, I did not gain my Master’s Degree overnight. I worked hard on week nights and weekends while working just as hard in my classroom every day. Overall, it does not make me a better teacher, but it does make me a specialist in the area my degree is in. As with most professions, the completion of a Master’s Degree does earn you a higher pay.
    Have you ever met a 21 year old teacher? After 4 years of college, a year of credentialing, extensive exams like the CBEST, RICA, and CSET, and 2 years of BTSA training, most teachers are a minimum of 23 years old. They are dedicated, hard working, fearless, inspiring, and innovative. Most of them have lived through many experiences that make them more than qualified to address any situation that arises in their classroom and if they come across something they are not, they are smart enough to collaborate with another teacher to find a way to best address that situation. They are far from “snot-nosed” but will come across thousands of snot nosed students that they will love and care for across their career. Luckily, the little pay they recieve for their TOTAL hours worked (PAID and NOT PAID)is not what will keep them coming to work every day, it is a love of children.
    What is so disturbing is that most people posting on this site are looking for ways to help California’s educational system and yet you are here to bash on people that are at the heart of the matter looking for ways to best serve California’s children. Get your facts straight and why don’t you try posting something that can benefit the situation California is in. Shame on you.

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  125. WOW! Unions protect BAD teachers! Our students would have a much better education if the Union was not present because all teachers would have to perform at their very best year to year.

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  126. For those of you who have a strong opinion I think you should voice it tomorrow at the Board meeting. If you are willing, it will be at 4:30 at the District located on the corner of Newport and Menifee Road.

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  127. Time is running out for ideas, lets get back on track folks. We need more ideas and back up plans to give the budget commitee. It seems as though I am hearing a lot of teachers o.k. with pay cuts, as long as teachers don't loose their jobs!! Sounds like a start as long as it's all the way to the top of the district office.Statewide employees are taking paycuts, so why not MUSD??? Anything but layoffs!!!!! MTA President are you listening now?????

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  128. By Anonymous, at February 09, 2009 9:47 PM


    "Time is running out for ideas, lets get back on track folks. We need more ideas and back up plans to give the budget commitee. It seems as though I am hearing a lot of teachers o.k. with pay cuts, as long as teachers don't loose their jobs!! Sounds like a start as long as it's all the way to the top of the district office.Statewide employees are taking paycuts, so why not MUSD??? Anything but layoffs!!!!! MTA President are you listening now?????"


    Yes, we are willing to sacrifice a portion of our paycheck to save our colleagues jobs and to keep the best possible learning environment for our students.

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  129. "You can't teach a hungry child"

    For those who believe that the District should eliminate the Food Service Department; you really need a reality check. Bring a lunch from home? Here are a few examples of lunches that come from home; Dry Ramen noodles, Lunchables (full of sodium) fried chips, cookies, soda, an unopened can of tuna. Parents bring in fast food for the students. Most of the lunches from home end up in the trash as well as the ones the Food Services Department provides. The students are more interested in going out to play then they are eating. Do you remember when you were a child? All we wanted to do was go out and play with our friends. It is more so nowadays because parents tend to not allow their kids to go out and play at home.

    District employees can not force the students to eat.

    The Food Service Department works very hard to provide a hot meal for the students at a very reasonable cost ($1.50 Elementary). Try sending a sack lunch from home at that cost. They offer a main entree' item, choice of milk, and a fruit and veggie bar with a bread item. With all the State and Federal regulations as well as other factors; the variety of food items they can serve is very limited.

    They also have to face the challenge of serving (at some sites) over 400 meals in less than an hour. That’s just fewer than 7 meals per minute. When is the last time you were served a meal in under a minute? No business out there can do that?

    For the blogger that question the Department being open during the summer months; it is only the office staff and not the whole department working during the summer. There is still work to be done even when students are not on campus.

    It is easy to sit on the sidelines and complain about something you do not understand. If you have the time please come out and eat lunch with your child; it might give you a better understanding of the challenges the school district deals with ever day during lunchtime.

    Many District employees would be willing to take a cut in their salary as long as it is a District wide cut. It just can’t be at the top or bottom, it must be District wide if cutting salary is proposed. Anything other than that would be insulting.

    To all the District employees out there: Stand strong and support each other, as we will all need to support one another during this very challenging time.

    God bless….

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  130. Well 12:17 you continue to amaze me. I know this post will show me lowering myself to your level and it is probably wasting everybodies time including mine, but your ignorant/arragance is mind numbing. Kudos for supplying old quotes to make your post seem longer and attempt to link yourself to a quote that may or may not be relevant. At least we all know now that you are capable of using google. From what I hear it is apparent to that you don't respect teachers very much at all (get the ruler to the back of the hand as a kid?)...at least those that don't fit into your small box of what a teacher should be. You say they make too much, are too young, too old...what is your idea of the perfect teacher, do you even know yourself? You are entitled to your own opinion (although a wrong one), but in my opinion, teachers (which I AM NOT)make good money, but their job is vital to supplying the building blocks and shaping the minds of our youths (since it doesn't happen at home all the time..(know what I mean?) and they deserve EVERY penny. Maybe you are a lawyer and want these children to grow up uneducated so you can continue your goal of job security at all cost by allowing these kids to enter the world with less than an education and when they go out and commit crimes you can defend them and rake in large sums of money(theres that money thing again..are lawyers paid correctly?...they have A LOT of college credit). I can not fathom a person, like yourself that feels an education is worthless, which you have reduced it to through your unwanted rants (you may not realize that). I have all ends of the spectrum covered in my family and I am witness 1st hand to both the effects of an educated lifestyle and uneducated. We may all be expelling wasted energy because you sound like a 16 year old spouting off nonsense in your parents basment. If you are, then your posts make perfect sense. If you want to quote American authors that is all well and good, but why dont you go out and find some statistics on crimes commited by those with an educated back ground and those without. Don't get me started on our teachers trying to teach to non english speaking students and having to take away quality time from those that can actually understand what is being said...TEACHERS WEAR MANY HATS!!! If you want to be mad at someone 12:17, why don't you focus those efforts towards the unrealistic Califonia Standards being imposed on our teachers. America seems to have its priorities completely backwards and in general a lack of understanding regarding what is right and wrong. I am sure you are one that agrees with the government on giving the financial sector bail out money even after they pocketed profits. Don't you think that common sense(oh, wait sorry) would show that the educational system should be a priority? Maybe some of that money should make its way to the schools so that my family members and friends who are teachers don't have to go to Kinkos to run copies because they are on a paper ration. I am in the financial sector and make good money (with an only an AA...that's low college credit, should we dispute my rank?)and feel no bail out money should be given. I am in danger of losing my job without it. But with the rational brain that I have I disagree with bail out money mainly because why should the American public pay for something a few CEO's messed up? I feel that money could be better spent elsewhere...schools maybe? Don't get me wrong, I don't want to lose my job, but being morally sound I would hate to keep it while others lose theirs and at the demise of such companies. I owned my own business and was forced out by the economy. Did I get bail our money...NO. I had to man up and find another job...that's life. You irritate me to the fullest 12:17, why don't you grow up, open your mind and be a solution instead of adding to the problem! Maybe you should find another place to post your comments...I heard Baseball and Football players make a lot, but maybe you are ok with that because it benefits you in a tangible way. I'm done with you...moving on to something constructive...sorry for those that had to read this.
    Has anyone brought up any ideas like turning one light switch on instead of two, or letting the fields dry out, Lord knows there's enough water on them to house a whale at all times. Then there is the ever so popular pay cuts...which I completely agree with a previous post that said if anyone gets a paycut it better extend all the way to the top. You could probably save money by keeping jobshares. I know by eliminating some it would cost the district more because some of the teachers who remain from the elimination of jobshares would be forced to full time work and may draw a larger salary (don't comment 12:17). And before 12:17 posts back on that one, let me just say that it takes the compatibility of two teachers to share a class and be effective, and some just won't work. I pray that for the sake of the teachers in danger that the MTA throws out the "what should I do" mentality and start brain storming some of your own ideas...or take some of these. Not everyone gets along, and nothing will get done by sitting in your office until this blows over. We need a pitbull fighting for these teachers not a golden retriver...WAKE UP MTA...WHERE ARE THE PROTESTS OR THE RALLIES WE SAW LAST YEAR!!!!!! ARE YOU THERE MTA???? DONT LET ALL THE MONEY PAID IN, BE WASTED DUE TO MEEKNESS!!! I'M SURE YOU CARE, SO SHOW US!!!

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  131. 11:55 this is "12:17"... finally something that we can agree on... no bailout money for any sector.

    Economies expand and contract, sound businesses survive and bad businesses go... this is the nature of things. Government produces nothing and only consumes. So, when the economy contracts so must governmental entities contract... including PUBLIC EDUCATION!

    For someone who claims to 'not be a teacher' you are too well versed on the issues at hand. One can only presume then that you are married to a teacher.

    Can't wait for the reduction in teaching staff due to increased class sizes. The numbers appear to be finally up on the web.

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  132. This country needs to go to a 4 day work week All Federal and State jobs should be a 10 hour work day 4 days a week. Then we could look at going to a 4 day school week. The Britains are doing it; why can't we do it?

    Greed is eating this county alive.

    Maybe Exxon Mobile can donate part of their 47 billion dollar profit they made last year. Hope they do not ask for a bailout.

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  133. "Can't wait for the reduction in teaching staff due to increased class sizes. The numbers appear to be finally up on the web."

    "12:17" are you serious? Why would you be excited to see teachers get laid off? You truly need some help. Why would you wish anyone to lose their jobs? That is so sad! What do you have to gain with teachers being let go? I don't even understand where you are coming from. Please leave this blog and don't return. You have nothing to offer this blog.

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  134. For those of you who were not at the board meeting tonight this is what I said...
    I am a teacher in the Menifee Union school district and I am here because I want the board to know that our MTA union leadership does not represent the views of my fellow teachers or myself. I also believe that their failure to offer possible solutions to the current budget crisis jeopardizes the education of our children in our district and represents a complete failure of leadership by our union. I believe that despite the views expressed in the Budget Advisory Committee by the current union president and the past union president, who are supposed to be the voice of the teachers, our voice is getting lost. At a time when parents are losing their jobs and families are losing their homes, our schools should be a stable, secure, and supportive place where students feel valued and cared for and where they can receive the best education possible. It is well known that smaller class size improves the learning and achievement of all students, and abandoning class size reduction will only undermine the quality education our students are now receiving. I chose to leave another school district three years ago to join the Menifee Union school district because I believed in the leadership of the district and their focus on doing what is best for our students. Because the union leadership has failed to communicate the views of the teachers they are supposed to represent, I am here because I want the board to know that I, as a union member, am willing to discuss the possibility of a 5% pay cut that would include ALL district employees. I want the board to know that as a union member, I am willing to discuss the possibility of rewriting the contract to shorten the instructional school year and to clarify for all union members with a new contract reflecting a shortened year, members will receive a full year of service credit to STRS. I am here to let the school board know that as a union member I am willing to look at a salary freeze for all employees. I am here because I love my job and my students, and I do not believe the union leadership is acting in the best interests of our students or our teachers. In closing, I want the board to know that the union leadership does not speak for most of the teachers in the district. We need a union that represents the best interest of both students and teachers, The Menifee Union school district prides itself on being a family. Like any family that is facing a crisis, we need to lock arms and face this together. As teachers our primary concern is to preserve the quality education that I am proud to say our students currently receive in the Menifee Union school district - even if it hurts a little in all of our wallets. Thank you.

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  135. So... in your scenario...every industry, every public agency, except schools, takes it on the chin?

    I've made my points and the cuts are not my decision and I have no input to those proposals other than on this forum.

    I've said my peace and I will continue to put forth my anti-union message for public agencies, including school districts.

    I'm am so tired of the Union message..."We need to keep cuts as far away from the classroom as possible." Give me a break... every cut effects the educational service that is provided to our children in public education.

    What makes you think your job is more important than the school counselor, the receptionist, the health tech, the librarian, the crossing guard, the bus driver, the custodian, the groundskeeper...you name it.

    Your rhetoric makes me sick and teh botto line is that the teacher's union continues to eat their young!

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  136. A Note from a Bus Driver....

    I love how Others want to cut busing...Cut Cut Cut.....We already took a loss of wages last year ...And no other department did ! Again everyone says cut Busing....We are being cut ANOTHER 2 and a half months...Just so you know to eliminate the rest of Busing will only gain the district $500,000...
    If you even out each of our salaries it's close to $27,000. a year ...We make the big bucks don't we ? Yet we are the first in line for cuts.
    Also A pay decrease across the board and no step increase for us , thats fair just keep cutting us more ...
    How about a decrease across the board for everyone who hasn't been cut yet ? We are at work at
    6:00 AM before anyone else, work a split shift, and leave at
    4:15 PM

    So my friends someone else is going to have to pick up the slack...You won't hear from many drivers because we already know that no one in this district cares anything about us...or how we are supposed to take care of our families...Everyone is out for themselves....Take from anyone else except me Attitude....

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  137. Nobody has mentioned the tremendous costs that the district pays for benefits, which are mandated at 100% participation. Each month the DO pays over $500 for my benefits, and the sad thing is that I don't even want or need these benefits. The teachers are told that they must accept these health benefits because it is a condition of employment. They have made an agreement with the medical group to require 100% participation so that teachers pay lower costs out of pocket for these benefits. I say, allow teachers to opt out of benefits. This would save the district lots of money. It would of course cause teachers to have to pay more for their benefits, but I think that would be better than a pay cut or any lay offs. Please look into this!

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  138. FYI: The only teachers on the BAC are MTA reps. Although they do represent teachers to a certain degree, they also have a political agenda, and that is why certain ideas or suggestions have not been brought up. The committee needs some regular teacher representation!

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  139. I am skeptical of this BAC...rumor has it that the higher ups at the DO have already determined their plan of action and that this committee is just to appease the community. Are you really listening to the comments and suggestions? Why aren't the minutes posted?

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  140. "We may all be expelling wasted energy because you sound like a 16 year old spouting off nonsense in your parents basement. If you are, then your posts make perfect sense."

    You are so right! "12:17" seems to be on this blog constantly. I can't believe that he/she actually has a job. Maybe his/her X-Box is broken and being argumentative and delighting in the misfortunes of others is entertaining for him/her.

    This blog is intended to be a way to brainstorm ideas to help education and to put children first. It is not about putting down teachers and being happy about them losing their jobs!

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  141. "Just so you know to eliminate the rest of Busing will only gain the district $500,000..."

    **ONLY** $500,000...? Sounds good to me!!! CUT IT. Please. This is an excellent way to save a large sum of money, OUTSIDE of the classroom. Parents, we can pull together and get our kids to school. It will be difficult and frustrating, but it is feasible. Let's keep cuts out of the classroom as much as we can!

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  142. Kudos to the teacher who spoke last night at the board meeting. MTA needs to wake up and start doing their job.

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  143. "12:17" is an ignorant, spiteful person who has probably already been laid off from their job as it is obvious by the incessant, bitter and constant posts. 12:17, perhaps if you focused less on a teacher's union that does not directly effect you, we could collectively brainstorm ideas to bring to the school board. Your bitterness towards unions solves nothing, but let me thank you first hand for showing me the blaring ignorance that resides in my town. It keeps me on my toes. And no, I'm not a teacher, I changed my mind in college because I did not want to deal with ignorant know-it-alls such as yourself.

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  144. Wow! Such vitriol coming from someone who claims to 'not be a teacher'.

    My income is in the high six figures (actually, I took a $195K draw out of my company last year). I'm not a government employee that sucks the economy dry. I produce and I meet payroll.

    My employees produce and they get paid for their service in my company. They are happy because I treat them well. They don't unionize because I take care of them with incentives, pay them well, create a good organizational climate for them to succeed, and I treat them with respect.

    I also pay up the ass in taxes - federal, state, social security, SDI, health care, unemployment... you name it and I pay it. I'd like to give them more for their efforts but, in California, you get killed in taxes! I'm sick and tired of the state and fed taking more and more from my company that actually produces jobs in this state.

    So, before you get on your bandwagon you Socialist puke...why don't you look in the mirror and ask yourself "what good or service did I produce today?". What risk have you taken to achieve prosperity? What business have you started to achieve your goals in life? Or are you and your teacher wife sucking off the government cheese for so long that you can't live without that type of job?

    As far as the Teacher's Union not directly effecting me....? Really, I mean how lame can you be? Public Employee Unions are the Achilles Heal of the state of California. The demands of the unions are unsustainable!

    Education in California drains 42% of the entire state budget (and that's the lowest figure I've seen). Total employee compensation is anywhere from 82% to as high as 94% (depending on school district) of total general fund revenues for public education. Yet, public education in California only graduates 65% of the entering freshman in high school. Yeah...that's real productive!

    Ignorant? No! Spiteful? You're damn right! Why? Because I'm sick and tired of you riding my coat tails. Once I begin liquidating all my company's assets, I will most certainly be leaving the 'United Socialist Republic of California'.

    You and your teacher's union have a nice life!

    -- "12:17"

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  145. The DO keeps failing to take cuts that are suggested, claiming that administrative positions have already been cut last year to save money. Let it be very clear that no administrator lost their job last year. The administrators were merely redistributed to other sites. They also claim that losing the DO for the summer is not an option...why not? It seems to me that the DO is top heavy and should be taking some of the cuts before teachers and students are effected. What about putting a hold on the superintendent's salary increase? Anybody think of that one? The DO admin have yet to take any hits. It is time they do!

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  146. Oh "12:17", once again, how wrong you are. You are a presumptuous little one aren't you? I am not a teacher as I've already stated before, and I'm not even male! I own and operate two small but prosperous business here in Menifee. I am a concerned parent who wants and expects the best out of public education for my two children. I empathize, admire and respect teachers. It's people like you my friend that a teacher's union exists. If you despise public school teachers so much, and you say you make so much money, put your kids in a fancy private school and get off this blog! You have nothing constructive to offer! Oh, and I'm sure your employees LOVE you.

    Signed,
    "Socialist Puke"

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  147. Take a pay cut, work less days, give in here and give up there.

    Guess what, the District is still gunna cut the jobs they need to cut.

    Pay cuts to save class size reduction and teacher jobs... YES!

    Pay cuts and they increase class sizes and lay off teachers anyway... NO!

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  148. Do you really want to be heard?

    Special Budget Meeting
    Menifee Union School District
    Governing Board

    February 17, 2009

    Quail Valley Elementary

    6:00 pm



    Budget items will be on the agenda. If you want your voice heard, please attend this meeting. At stake are class size reduction, reduction of programs, and many other cuts to our children’s education.


    Keep cuts away from the classroom!

    Please Come!

    Cuts Hurt Hotline--Voice your concerns: 1-888-268-4334

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  149. As I read through this entire blog, I find myself getting very frustrated and feel as though the our children’s education is being thrown away like a piece of garbage. We, as a society, go through the education system in order to better our community, our own children, and ultimately ourselves. I knew as I went through college that I was not getting into teaching for the money, it was for the love of the kids, the satisfaction of touching the future, and the thought that I could make a small difference in this big world of ours. I am appalled that certain members of the community feel as though education can just be swept under the rug. I understand that our state has really dug a hole so deep, we are not sure how and if we will get out. However, the one safe, constant, and important contribution to the community should be education. With education, one of your children may become the one person who will make a difference in government, may go on to find the cure for what ails us, becomes a teacher, a lawyer, a doctor, an engineer, an author, or wherever their minds and dreams take them. Yes, teachers work 180 days a year, however that is just contract language. What is not included in this is the time spent grading, planning, meeting, conferring, sitting on committees before and after school, and many weekends prepping for our students. This does not include parent conferences, in which our contract states that we must conduct parent conferences before or after contract hours, as well as give extra prep days a year during our off track time, which are non-pay days. Everyone has choices in life, including career choices. Teachers choose their profession because we have the privilege of working with the most fun, dedicated, stubborn, humorous, loving, affectionate, charismatic, determined group of people we will ever come across, your children! I thank God every day for instilling in me the gift to teach, every day, I walk into my classroom and feel blessed knowing that a new day and new adventure is about to begin.

    The state is in financial trouble, in turn, leaves our district with the burden of budget cuts. It is not easy, but as parents, community members, and future leaders, we must stand up and say we will not accept class size reduction! We will not accept cuts to our education system, and we want what our children deserve. I keep hearing a lot of “….will only safe us this amount.” There is not one, single item, which will cut 14 million from our budget. Well, if we add up the “will only” we might start making a dent.

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  150. Well, the final scheduled BAC meeting was held tonight. (There will be more in the future, just nothing scheduled now) After sitting through more than two and a half hours of discussions I recommend everyone that is in favor of Class Size Reduction attend the meeting on Tuesday night and let your voice be heard.

    The representatives of the MTA have made it clear that they have given and given and do not intend to give anything else. In response to a 1% cut, a MTA representative made it known that they were not willing to give that. They brought up eliminating CSR at every opportunity in an effort to ensure it was eliminated so they would not have to endure any cuts.

    The outlook for the future budget is not as dire as once thought, at least for right now. The current budget could be “balanced” without eliminating CSR. So, attend the meeting on Tuesday and speak out.

    Thanks for all of the input. The suggestions that have been written here and those that have been sent to the District are discussed at the meetings, and there is power in numbers.

    Thanks,

    Jason

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  151. Hi,

    I too attended the meeting with Jason. I just want to clarify the position of the MTA a bit more. As simple as it seems, salary cuts are complicated. It is my belief from everything that I have been a part of is that MTA has not officially voted on anything and the reps at the BAC meeting cannot predict the vote on the subject of salary cuts. Some have commented that MTA is not willing to take cuts in order to save jobs. We need to be clear that there is absolutely no guarantee of anything. There can be salary cuts and still lay off staff members and lose class size reduction. MTA knows this because there have been other districts that have agreed to take salary cuts and/or furlough days only to have their collegues get pink slips shortly after. Just as easy as it is to say take a paycut- one can say, "I will take a paycut, my colleagues will be unemployed, and/or class size reduction will still be cut." Again, there are no guarantees. One thing that is very clear to all involved is that if we lose class size reduction in any form- it is gone forever. Another note is that just because we save class save reduction now doesn't mean that it will not be cut the next year or the following year even though the paycut was taken. I hope that this makes sense. This is a very complicated process and I hope that my explanation didn't oversimplify it too much to overshadow that fact.

    Thanks for your time,
    Bonnie

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  152. Thank you to all that are working hard on this issue and sticking to the subject. I appreciate the specific information on dollar amounts and cuts. I appreciate the specific updates. Please go to the meeting and stand up to keep our class sizes small. Every "body" will make a difference. All the kids in tow will make a difference. Quail Valley is a bit out of the way but remember, it is in Menifee-our city. I is a very nice, new school and set in a very pretty location. You all do not have to stay long. Half an hour can seen like an eternity but bring snacks and we will love to see every on of you!

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  153. ....Yeah and there is no parking either! This should have been done at one of the middle schools like last year. More room for the public in the mpr and in the parking lot.

    Who came up with this lame one?

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  154. Bonnie,
    Did MTA really do this? "They brought up eliminating CSR at every opportunity in an effort to ensure it was eliminated so they would not have to endure any cuts."
    If so that is not who I want representing me. They can offer ideas "drops in the bucket" instead of suggesting something that takes away from our children. I am so sad if this is truly how MTA represented themselves and all the teachers.
    I am glad you cleared it up a little bit to make it not look like MTA is completely selfish. Though if Jason is taking it that way they must not be doing a good job of getting their point across.
    MTA should not be suggesting CSR at all, right?
    Thanks!

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  155. Maybe this is only the beginning of the cuts since K-14 is about 40% of the overall California budget and an easy target. I can think of some awesome models in the private school sector that could be adopted if it wasn't for the Union mandates and intervention.

    We're all grown ups here and most of us work for small companies without all of the entitlements that come with Union membership.

    It's not a complicated thing. If you are running a household and you can buy milk at store A for less than store B...it's not a hard decision. There must be personnel cuts, and if teacher A costs more than teacher B I'd cut from the top.

    Haven't the Unions created the disparity in pricing offering rewards for higher degrees instead of preference or performance? Teachers aren't as equal as milk perhaps, but until there's a way to measure productivity that makes sense, the district will have to do what they have to do, and cutting more expensive teachers first, makes the most sense.

    If the district decides to cut any more meat from the bones, or programs that keep students engaged and eager to attend, then I may as well home school or find another alternative that will cut district revenues even further.

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  156. Thank you Jason and Bonnie for your time and effort on this.

    My two cents: cut teacher pay, cut classified pay, cut administrator pay. Cut the lunch program. Cut teacher supply budgets - parents will have to supply their child with school supplies. Cut 2 weeks out of the school year. Suspend state testing. Suspend curricular adoptions.

    I will say that with all the panic and uproar over this school budget, something amazing is happening within our community. I've seen parents show up to help in the classroom, or they have sent in extra supplies. I've had more hugs from kids and more thank you's from parents.

    We all need to pull together as a community to get through this. Things will work out, they always do. We just have to stay strong and be there for each other.

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  157. Just to clarify about the representation of MTA. The district wants to have all employees take a 1% paycut. This would save CSR and jobs. The MTA president would not hear of it. She is only protecting her paycheck instead of looking out for her union members. In a sense the MTA is pushing for CSR to be eliminated because the head of MTA doesn't want to take a slight pay cut. Wake up community! We need to pull together and voice how this is wrong for teachers to not take a pay cut to save CSR.

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  158. MTA leaders are not telling teachers, community members, and parents the whole truth. They are saying one thing at meetings and fighting a whole different battle that supports their own interests when they attend the BAC. I want my daughter in a class with 20 students not 30!

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  159. I also have heard that the at the BAC committee meeting the union was given the choice to take a 1% pay cut and the union turned them down... I guess it just goes to show who they are really trying to protect!

    MTA don't you think you should have at least presented this to the union?!! Or can those of you at the top really say that you have to have the 850$ over 12 months!

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  160. I am a proud Union member of Pulic Safety, and my city has offered our Police & Fire Departments 2 choices: 2-3% pay cuts, or layoffs & less "boots" on the streets. Guess what? Both Unions voted unanimously to take the paycuts, because that is what is in the best interest of "all dues paying employees" and the public who provides our paychecks!!! MTA if this is true about giving up CSR, instead of taking paycuts, you are not a true & united Union!!! Remember who pays your paychecks. Giving up CSR is "POLITICAL SUICIDE"...Think about it MTA!!!!!!

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  161. Increasing class size from 20:1 to 30:1 will save the district somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 million over two fiscal years. (The math has something to do with 65-100 teachers).

    It is reported that MUSD has a total payroll of $45 million. So, lets do the basic math for those of you who think that taking a 3% paycut will help.

    $45,000,000 x 3% = $1,380,000 for one fiscal year. For two fiscal years that is $2,760,000. This does not include contributions to health and welfare and STRS contributions that the district pays. So let me ask you this?

    If the district needs to trim $14 million over the next two fiscal years, how does cutting your salary by 3% or even 5%(i.e. $2.7 million), as shown above, even begin to make a dent in the $14 million deficit? It doesn't. You still have other cuts to make. If the data regarding increases in class size would yield $10M in savings...well, I think you can figure out the math.

    No combo of salary cuts, text book cuts, food service, busing, supplies, testing, or adminstrator layoffs gets you to $14 million. That is reality. Those are the numbers! (Oh by the way...food service makes money so why cut it?)

    Parents, guardians,teachers and board members who are wrapped around the emotional axle of CSR prepare yourselves for the inevitable reality... Class sizes will increase above 20:1!

    There is NO WAY AROUND IT!

    If CSR (K-3 and 9th) was such a critical requirement in public education and can be empirically documented and proven to be more effective, why then is CSR not mandated for 4th-8th and 10th-12th grades? Huh, I ask you?

    This is an UNPRECEDENTED fiscal situation. There will be teacher layoffs and there is NO WAY AROUND IT!

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  162. Hi,

    I encourage all of you to read the notes from the recent BAC meeting. Numbers have changed.

    At the BAC meetings the district does not propose anything- they are simply there to inform the committee; therefore they never proposed a 1% cut, but merely gave the cost savings on it.

    Teachers only make up 48.6% of the payroll budget plus benefits.

    There are few if any teachers, district staff, or even Board members that want to get rid of class size reduction.

    The true cost of class size reduction is just under 1 million a year, not 5 million a year since 4 million is given to the district in a different categorical to pay for it. Running a $5 million dollar program for the cost of $1 million is money well spent. Wouldn't you like $5 worth of gas for $1? The debate now is this fund was always restricted- meaning it could only be spent on class size reduction... as of this year's proposed budget it is assumed that they will be unrestricted. This is called flexibility by the powers that be- you get money in a titled category and you can "flexibly" move it to another category. Therefore the district gets $4 million for class size reduction and under this "flexibility" has no real obligation to run it. Think about that...

    I would love to address all of your comments and concerns to the best of my ability, but it would have to be on a blog- open to interpretation and little chance of rebuttal to clear up misunderstandings, that is why I haven't commented much. There are so many sides to every item to consider and debate.

    I encourage all of you to come to the Board meeting on Tuesday night at Quail Valley Elementary at 6 pm. Hopefully the presentation given by the district will clarify a lot of the misunderstandings. Feel free to speak, remembering the real blame is directed at the State Government- it is not the districts, the teachers, the childrens fault we are in this mess.

    I am confident that you will see that our district's financial team has put us in a good financial position under the current conditions. If you do any research and compare our situation with other surrounding district's you will see how lucky we are to be in Menifee! We have held on to jobs, small classes, music, and bussing just to name a few- much longer than many of our counterparts- and understandably we are not willing to give it up now!

    If parents really want to help right now, they can call 1-888-268-4334 to complain to the lawmakers in Sacramento. One other thing that you can do is spread the word to have your child in school every single day. The district is funded through daily attendance- no child, no funding. Every day a child is not in school we go further in the financial hole. If we got all children to school every day, it would be easier to balance our budget!

    Thanks again and again,
    Bonnie

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  163. The reason CSR is not 4th-8th has to do with money. They reduced classes minimally. I think the 14 million number you are throwing around will not hold. I have worked in this district for 18 years at the most challenging school in the district. I know what we were teaching back then and I know what the kids could do back then. Have you been in the classroom working with kids over the last 10 or more years? The truth is that the standards were raised, the teachers were trained, and the class sizes were reduced. There is only so much time in the day to cover the standards and test the kids. More, much more kids are successful in the upper grades now because their teacher in K-3 has time to analize student test results, focus on remediation for kids that don't meet standards, and bring the majority of kids up to the standard.

    If you increase the class size by 62% there is no way in heck a teacher will do anywhere near what he/she does with 20. So you may say, "just pass out 12 more books, papers, and pencils." Have you ever timed how long it takes? Go into a classroom and observe! Have you ever watched a teacher test a K, 1st, or 2nd grader on the reading? We have to test them individually. Multiply 10-15 minutes times 32 and see how long that takes! A great reader only takes 15-20 minutes to test. Most classrooms have 20% very low or "slow" students. Bless their hearts but they can take at least 20 -30 minutes to test.
    We have done a great job since CSR because even these "slower" more timid, whatever the case, students get the time and attention they need from a well trained teacher! When these little ones sit at a reading table they are full of ideas and distractions as they jabber about friends, moms and family activities, events of their days, or what their favorites are. A great teacher smiles, gives them time to focus, then begins the lesson.
    With 12 more kids, 62%, do you think these little guys are going to be able to express themselves, relax and learn? It will be, "be quiet, sit down, pass out, collect, do your work, re-do your work, no, I do not have extra papers, clean up, and why did you start that before I gave the directions!" Get real those of you that are stuck on $ numbers!

    The numbers that count are the numbers 20 to 1. It is not an "emotional axle that teachers, parents, etc. are wrapped around!" It is a reality. Go look in the face of our kids and tell them about your 14 million! Whoever you are I hope you are not in education.

    The kids are the reason we have jobs!

    I have faith that our top DO people know that and that they still want this district to be the best! They know CSR makes a difference and that the public and most of the teachers have supported them as they have pushed us toward excellence.
    If they let CSR go it will not just be political suicide but our teachers will be resigned to defeat. It will be an employee moral suicide. We have worked to hard to let that happen.

    Yes, we need to take a paycut and if it is a drop in the bucket so be it. Find other drops and use our reserves! The state is raising our taxes anyway and I, who never vote Democrat will be glad that the 800 bucks for my car registration and the increase in sales tax will be allowing our next generation to get the education that is vital to ensure democracy. Maybe someday some of these kids will have the answers that neither todays D's nor R's can seem to come up with.

    If our state is going to heck in a hand basket at least our kids will be educated when it does!

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  164. Cutting Class Size Reduction will save MILLIONS and when the rest of us were kids we had 32 in a class and we managed to do just fine. I think there are just some lazy teachers out there ....

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  165. When I was a kid we had 32 in a classroom too, however times have changed. When I was a kid my mom was home with me to help me with school work.My parents were invloved and worked in the classroom and were on the PTA and served on the school boards. Now times are a changing.More and more children come to school with learning problems, behavioral problems, various language and cultural backgrounds, and disabilities.Autism itself is on the rise.Parents are working two three jobs to make ends meet, and there are several who are not at home everyday to help children with school work and with reading.So then the only opportunity for children is in small classrooms where the teachers can help. Teachers ony wanting CSR to remain just because they are being lazy???? Yeah right. Step into a classroom and look at what they are doing!

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  166. Let's also remember that the standards and expectations have changed as well! The kids are expected to do more difficult work at an earlier age. School is quite a bit more rigorous now than it used to be. The concepts that my son is learning in third grade weren't taught to most of us until we were in fifth and sixth grade. When he entered first grade, he was expected to be able to write and read. School has changed a lot since we were in school!

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  167. Granted times are changing and expectations too...Also some parents do work alot, but there are parents out there that just don't care too......Why not rent out MES to an afterschool childcare program that helps out with homework at a reasonable rate, that will help parents out.. That YMCA is outrageous..Who can afford the $350. a Month.. They say I don't qualify for a discount but I cannot afford them....So behold I have Latch key kids

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  168. Jason,
    I'm a parent and a teacher. In the BAC meetings, was there ever a discussion about eliminating the media rep job? How much does she earn per year and how much advantage does the district get from her position? Teachers used to contact the media themselves. Even though she is a very nice person, my professional experiences with her have not been positive. Actually they have been mostly useless. Is her job more important than an assistant principal?
    As long as I am on that thought, the assistant principals do a lot of work. Who will do their work if their job is eliminated; it still needs to be done. Are the extra secretaries at the DO or the transportation or food services people who will be paid for work when there are no students in school more important than the assistant principals?

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  169. Jason and Bonnie,
    The meeting notes stated that there were many more options discussed. What were the outcomes of those discussions? Why wasn't anything mentioned in the notes about the pro's and con's for the suggestions bought up and "dismissed" as just discussion items? I am curious why some of them aren't being considered...like benefits suggestions.

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  170. I have been a teacher in Menifee Union Schhol District for nearly 15years and am very concerned by how the MTA is representing teachers in the BAC. I was told that regular teachers could not attend the BAC meetings because the MTA was standing in for all teachers. But when I hear that they were recommending getting rid of CSR, I feel highly betrayed and very under-represented. I can't think of a single teacher in our district that actually wants the removal of CSR on any level. I know that the decisions to be made are not easy, but I think that if the BAC got a truer sampling of what teachers really wanted it would be quite different from how the MTA is representing us. They never want to concede when it comes to staffing, pay, or benefits, but I think that in such ecomonic times we are more easy to reach an agreement in those terms when we look at the other options that can effect the students so greatly. We love our jobs and the students that we teach, and most of us would be willing to make some short term personal sacrifices to make sure that the educational setting and the students would be least effected. The MTA is meant to protect the teachers, but the teachers are here to care for their students. Regular teachers need to be heard on the BAC and any other committee whereby the decisions of that group impact them and their students.

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  171. California State Standards are so very rigorous now. Did you know that kindergartners are reading and writing now? I too, had classes of 32 growing up, but the curriculum and expectations have changed since then. We are 2-3 years more advanced, and our students are learning things at a much earlier age. Class size reduction allows for teachers to differentiate instruction to meet the needs of the students so that they have better chances at achieving these high standards. Students are learning to read in K and continue to further their skills in 1st grade. In most of the recommended class size reduction plans that the BAC discussed, K and 1st are listed on the chopping block. This would greatly hinder the forward progress of our students towards meeting the standards and in learning to read. We need to make sure that our students get a good foundational education in these grades and we should not get rid of CSR there. As for 2nd and 3rd grade??? People will be divided in answering this question as it is not an easy one. However, it would save a lot of money and these students, in my opinion, would be the least effected out of the bunch.

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  172. As a 4th grade teacher I had to teach kids to plot points on a coordinate grid and solve for the ordered pairs in an equation such as y=3x+5. I never had that kind of math until middle school when I was growing up.
    If their 3rd grade teacher had not taught the 20 she had last year so well this lesson would have been a complete disaster. As it was, I taught it for several days and half the kids said they got it. I taught it again to the half that didn't going slower and using more visuals than the 1st time and after the 3rd time 25% more kids got it. Next week I will re-teach again and hopefully they will all get it as that is my goal. This algebra is going to be on the state test. They are required to know it. Most of the parents freaked at the homework and sent the kids back with notes asking for more from me because they could not help their child.
    7 of my students have attention problems and 5 are serious behavior problems.
    Despite this, my objective is that they know this algebra. So, no matter how many times I have to go back over it I will until they all get it. That is what I do with every standard the state requires. And that is what other teachers are doing too. Lazy??? Ha Ha!

    If you are unfamiliar with the new standards of todays kids I challenge you to go to the CA ED Dept. website and look them up. See what todays kids are required to do. Read the 4th grade standards. I think you will be more than amazed at how different it is.

    Millions may be a big number.
    There are other ways to save money. Lazy are the people that are copping out and choosing CSR so fast.
    No guts no glory...Menifee needs to hold out as long as possible and do whatever it takes to do the right thing and save class size reduction.

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  173. The Menifee Teachers Association is not responsible for balancing the district's budget on the backs of the teachers through their jobs or their salaries. How is MTA supposed to propose a plan when there is no state budget? Would you be able to balance your home budget if you did not know what your income was? The blame lies with the state legislature, not the district and not the union. How many of these bloggers have also contacted their state legislators? Once we have solid information, MTA will work closely with the district and the Board to do whatever is necessary to make it through this state-imposed budget disaster. It would be irresponsible to act prematurely until we have all the facts.

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  174. To Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 3:48 PM:

    I believe the option of eliminating any unnecessary positions was mentioned, but I don’t remember if the media rep. came up specifically. I do know, that NOT ONE person in the room was in favor of eliminating the assistant principal positions, except those in the district office.

    To Anonymous, at February 14, 2009 6:49 PM:

    It is my understanding that the compensation reduction, “pay cut”, may encompass reduction in benefits, if that is what is negotiated. As I had said in a previous post, the MTA made it clear they are not willing to give anything else, they have given and given and they are done giving.


    Just a reminder, the governing board will be making the decisions on the budget. So attend the meeting on Tuesday and let them know how you feel.

    Thanks,
    Jason

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  175. The MTA president is just now responding. I have been in the district as a teacher/parent for eight years and I have never felt represented by the union. In a time like this we need to "help" the district by giving a little. If we don't give a little I will have 30+ kids in my first grade class next year. We don't all have the luxury of teaching half day like you MTA president. Since you are released half day to do union business you probably don't care to keep 20:1. Who pays for you to work on "union business" half day? Maybe that should be eliminated to save some money. You have failed to understand that you represent all teachers. By the time the budget comes across it will be too late for the Union to offer any suggestions. We have to act now to preserve our educational system.

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  176. From my understanding WE pay for the President to be out for union business, through our dues. Cutting that may save US money.

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  177. All of this talk is speculation until we have a state budget. Once again the state legislature has failed to pass a state budget. They are "trying" again today. Call your state assembly and/or state senate member and tell them to do their job to protect our children's education. Call 1-888-268-4334 to be connected to your legislators. I went online to read the budget proposal. Did you know that the state is proposing to increase lottery payouts and stop using lottery proceeds for education? This would have to be a ballot measure. Call! We elected them and they are accountable to us!

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  178. Superior union leadership!

    I cannot wait for Guido and his baseball bat to show up at picket lines at school districts. Class size reductions (CSR) will not survive.

    ... a unionized workforce that has MORE PROTECTI0N under California law than any collective bargaining agree could ever protect.

    Look for the union label!

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  179. Cut salaries that do not affect our kids education. The district is fat fat fat...3 Assist Supers. multiple levels of secretarial positions. We have a Mormon influence in this community..they monopolize our leadership and District jobs. Cut their jobs and the salary of DO employees..not all teachers are bad but the ones that are make it harder on the good ones..New blood is needed....Change are her to stay.

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  180. We have a mormon infuence here? What an ignorant, predjudice statement. I am not mormon and would never be but I will say we have awesome mormon employees with great values and work ethic and I support them 100%. Shame on you for bringing up such silliness! Do not derail this blog with rediculous, irrelevant, mud-slinging. If you do not have something to say toward a quantifiable solution to the money issue then stop being part of the problem.

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  181. We have a mormon infuence here? What an ignorant, predjudice statement. I am not mormon and would never be but I will say we have awesome mormon employees with great values and work ethic and I support them 100%. Shame on you for bringing up such silliness! Do not derail this blog with rediculous, irrelevant, mud-slinging. If you do not have something to say toward a quantifiable solution to the money issue then stop being part of the problem.

    ReplyDelete
  182. To all of you who think that teachers should take a pay cut and suck it up....
    the whole state of california is in debt, so your suggestion would therefor go for all californians. if you took a pay cut or paid more taxes then it would help the state. so pony up or shut up. teachers have taken zero raise for two years. the price of living has gone up over 8% but teachers have not been given even a COLA raise. we are taking pay cuts by the district cutting per student funds. we go out and spend out own money to keep the classes going as usual.

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  183. Dear "Teacher" of 7:22 PM,

    Please stop spreading untruths to the community on this forum. You have gotten a COLA increase at Menifee School District each year as far back as I can remember. In addition to your COLA, you get an annual 'step and column' increase to your salary regardless of your performance.

    If your argument is based upon a decrease in purchasing power due to inflation, well, I would agree with you up until about last summer. The country and Southern California has now entered into a period of deflation. Down the road, when it comes time to pay the piper on all this 'stimulus' money, we will enter a severe inflationary cycle. Why? The government has printed the money to inject into the economy with nothing to back up the paper.

    I am sorry that people will lose their jobs. I've been there and done that three times in my lifetime. It ain't fun, its stressful, and it disrupts families.

    However, I do not want to keep you employed 'just because'. I don't want my taxes to go up just to keep you employed.

    Sorry.

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  184. To "Teacher" of 7:22 PM:

    I don’t work for MUSD and will be asked to take a pay cut if the board approves a couple of the suggestions by the DO. The DO has proposed increasing a bus pass by $100. This is a $100/child out of our paychecks. Also, the DO has suggested requiring parents to provide $22 in supplies. This is $22/child out of our paychecks. These are on top of the pay cuts (lay-offs) many of us have endured from our employers. So, your comment of, all of California is in debt is correct. So, everyone needs to make sacrifices for the kids.

    Thanks,
    Jason

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