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 committe...

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?

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  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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