MUSD will NOT cut teachers

There will be no layoffs of teacher positions this coming school year. About a hundred people cheered to this news at last nights meeting. T...

There will be no layoffs of teacher positions this coming school year. About a hundred people cheered to this news at last nights meeting. The district will pull from it's $9.2 million in reserves to avoid layoffs according to Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Gil Compton.

Some administrative positions have been eliminated, but all employees will keep their jobs, Superintendent Linda Callaway said. The governing board approved a motion to accept the budget proposal at Tuesday's meeting and is expected to give final approval to the plan at a meeting at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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  1. HOORAY!!!! This is the best news I've heard about budget cuts yet.

    Thank you MUSD for thinking long and hard and doing what's right for kids! I am sure that there will be sacrifices to make this happen, but I am also sure that those sacrifices are worth it to keep class sizes from increasing!


  2. Great news! Thank you.

  3. While this is indeed great news, everyone needs to temper their enthusiasm. The Governor's May Revise may force cuts back on the table if state revenues (meaning tax increases) don't come in as projected.

    Just a cautionary tone... We're not completely out of the woods yet.

  4. Even if the May revise is worse they will not be able to cut CSR or lay off teachers because it will be too late. Though unfortunately they may cut other areas that will affect many people. We will just have to continue with our prayers and be patient.

  5. Whatever! In the moment I glad to hear this as a parent. I was looking into a private school. I have one child who is above average and another that is below average to almost average...with the possible cut backs and class size becoming larger my little one could get lost. The child and I are working together at home with the below average subject. Thank goodness for the reserves. Savings is always a great thing. Great to hear it for the teachers!!! FEW..

  6. During the meeting on Tuesday, there were a number of very disturbing events that occurred. As a member of the BAC I felt the “assumptions” list did not represent the true feelings of the BAC. There was not one person in the BAC meetings that favored eliminating the Assistant Principal position. This “assumption” list was a list of what the DO wanted, not what the BAC suggested. Almost every one of the items on the list was from the DO.

    Another reaction that I still do not understand is that of the cheering and celebrating by the teachers. There were severe cuts that were made to people’s lives that night, but the teachers obviously didn’t care about anyone but themselves. I am beginning to understand now why the public may have a hard time sympathizing with teachers and their pay. The teachers were balking at any cut even if it was 1%, but they are cheering when someone else’s pay is cut many times that.

    The biggest problem I have, is with the Governing Board. What is the purpose of the Board? It appears that they are puppets of the DO. I thought they were elected to serve the will of the people not the wants of the DO. Every item that is placed in front of them by the DO, they approve. If they are not going to think for themselves, why do we need them? They knew that the elimination of the Assistant Principal positions was not supported by the BAC, yet they went ahead and eliminated them anyway. I did not hear one member ask what the saving would be to cut them. How much was saved by eliminating those positions? Another problem with the Board is they Choose not to take questions or make comments about their lack of decision making. They also will not respond to emails. As elected officials they should make themselves available in some way.

    I ask if you are going to respond, that you put your name on your email so I don’t have to refer to you as anonymous February 26, 2009 8:36.

    Jason Roth

  7. Jason,

    The loss of CSR would be a huge blow to students, teachers, and our community as a whole. All parties are thrilled that CSR could stay, at least for now.

    Most of the teachers that were celebrating were NOT going to lose their job regardless. They were celebrating the saving of CSR which is a great asset to our schools and community. Please excuse the teachers' enthusiasm. They meant no disrespect to the difficult cuts that were made.

    The fact that saving CSR also kept65 people from our community in their jobs (for now) is also cause for celebration given the alternative.

    I do understand your frustration as you try to rationalize the decision making process. Your efforts with the BAC are appreciated by our community. I too would have questions if I felt my time, effort, and suggestions were not taken into account.

  8. Jason,

    The answer to your question is in the title of the BAC - The Budget ADVISORY Committee with emphasis on 'advisory'.

    It is not your decision rather, you were asked as a community member for input. It is not the DO's decision rather, the DO is required to present assumptions to the Board for decision.

    The fiduciary responsibility for the Menifee Union School District rests with the Governing Board not the Budget Advisory Committee and not the DO. However, the Superintendent and the Assistant Superintendent of Business are required by California law to 'certify' the annual financial report to the State.

    Relax... you did your job very well and the ADVISORY committee advised the DO staff and you came up with some good recommendations.



  9. To Anonymous February 26, 2009 12:03 PM:

    Thank you for the clarification. I have never felt that the BAC made the decisions. I am fully aware the Board is the one that has the “final” say. The purpose of the BAC, according to the DO, was to present options to the Board so they could then choose the cuts. Where were all of the options? The only options presented were the ones from the DO in their “assumption” list. Were those the only viable options?

    Is the least important position in this District the Elementary Assistant Principal? Obviously the people I have spoken with and those on the BAC do not think so. So maybe it would be helpful for the Board to step up and convey the logic behind the cuts that they made. Explain why they made the decisions they did.

    I am not doing this for me. I want what’s best for my kids. And if you knew me, you wouldn’t have to say Relax….

    Jason Roth

  10. Attending the Feb 17th meeting might have clarified the assumptions. The public is encouraged to ask questions. I don't recall you speaking on this subject at the meeting of the 24th. VP's make somewhat more than teachers, about $100,000/year each. What alternatives would you have suggested? Reserves are cut to the bone. The district is looking at alternatives for temporarily substituting for the VP's.
    On another note: What does any discussion or diatribe about/against illegals have to do with the MUSD budget? It seems to me that too many people are going off on tangents based upon their own prejudices or agendas. I don't want illegals here either but the forum is not this particular blog.

  11. Jason,
    Two board members that were known for listening to the people and "being available" were voted out in the last election by people who simply want "incumbants out" and new people in. It seems the voters are getting what they voted for. Victor and Phoebe are sorely missed.
    Do not forget, teachers in this district are also parents of kids in this district. The cheering is not just that 65 jobs were saved but that our kids will get a better education.
    As for a drastic pay cut over a job loss. There is room to be thankful. Some schools have had less that full time AP's all this year. It is not easy but we make it work. Most teachers work hard to support the school, the principal, and the parents. Many teachers have admin credentials and fill in when necessary. Committee's are a reality and teachers do much more than just lesson plans and homework before and after the bell rings. We are already making up for the cleanliness of our rooms and buying supplies. So be it.
    But, we cannot do without those extra 65. Your comment re: the "public's sympathy" is shortsighted. Our public in Menifee knows how hard we work and how much we care about their kids. A minority make disparaging remarks and bark loudly on blogs but mostly in this community I feel that Menifee has been supportive and understanding of what we do. At the least, most say they would not trade places and shut themselves in a room with 20 kindergartners or 32 5th graders. And, let's not talk about 34 middle schoolers bless their little hearts!
    Yes, we parents/teachers are very happy for the CSR issue. Our kids and the quality of their education were put first here and that is what counts.

  12. Whoa...whoa...whoa! "We are already making up for the cleanliness in our rooms"... Give me a break.

    You and your Teacher's Union are the first to say 'keep cuts as far away from the classroom as possible'. So, when those custodial cuts, playground supervisor cuts, crossing guard cuts, aide cuts, and bus driver cuts are made... you 'elitist teachers' have the gall to say "we are already making up for the cleanliness in our classrooms"...

    WOW...WOW! You people are truly pathetic in your attitudes. What gives you that sense of entitlement? Do they teach that to you in college as part of your credentialling process?

    Why not go work a real job for a change and see if your 'leadership', 'mentoring' and 'coaching' skills can measure up to those in the regular non-unionized work force. Better yet...why don't you go hold a sign up at the Newport off-ramp that says 'I have to clean me classroom...can you please help me?"

    Unbelievable...truly unbelievable!

  13. To the blogger on February 26, 2009 11:12 PM

    You know as well as I do that if Teachers didn't have their unions and were paid only on there performance then there would be very few teachers in the state of California. Out in the real world if you don't perform or basically do a good job (kids passing, test scores ect.) then you get fired or replaced with some one that will. But we can't have that now can we?

  14. So we have people with anti-teacher agendas spreading their ignorance through blogs. Spew, spew, spew. Boy, some peopke sure have anger issues about teachers. Eliminate the venom and the substance of the "arguments" is certainly lacking. BTW: WHat does this have to do with the MUSD budget anyway?

  15. Why is it when someone has an opinion there is always some pinhead that starts throwing out the word agenda? Look its not an agenda it’s fact if you go to any other profession and you do not do the job you were hired to do you get replaced.

    No one hates teachers. I, in fact have great respect for them. I could not go to a room with 20-30 kids and remain sane. However I do feel that people are tired of teachers always screaming, more money, more money, more money, and then threatening every one with, “the kids are going to suffer” speech. How about we ask the teaches to forgo any raises, bonuses, and salaries increases for the next 5 years. And tell the districts to put that money into the schools and for supplies. How many do you think are going to stand up and vote for that?

  16. OK, I'm glad no teachers wu=il lose their jobs ~ Their education is expensive and they invest a lot of time, effort and money into our students AND our schools. I agree with Jason that cutting the 4 current AP positions is a questionable action. WHY did NO ONE seem to feel there is any FLUFF OR EXCESS at the DISTRICT OFFICE ~ For a district our size, do we REALLY need a superintendent AND 4 ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENTS who have numerous Directors working under them? I didn't see any suggestions for cuts coming from this area ~ the big question is WHY? IF APs are expendable, and they deal directly with the students and support the Principals, it seems to me that at least a couple of Asst Superintendents might also be expendable (and save a lot more per head count)!

  17. Does any one know exactly how many directors are under each Assistant Superintendent? Also why does the Superintendent need 4 assistants can he/she not do their job on their own? Why? Is there any one that can tell me if cutting the fat is so necessary to help better educate our kids then why not put the infuses on the kids and not the district office jobs. I would bet we could very easily cut over a half a million dollars a year if we cut out those positions. If it’s not a good idea please explain to me why.

  18. Just a thought folks, but most of the school districts throughout the county are having to shut down schools, lay off teachers, and eliminate CSR. Menifee didn't have to do that. Maybe that's a credit to the administrative staff that we have.

  19. unreal... really.... even after all the hard work the district staff did to keep CSR and all the teachers jobs there are some that will continue to complain. The postions at the district are needed, the Ditretors positons are the one the run the departments. Which in some cases can be over 70 employees. Most bloggers don't understand what others do when it comes to the Jobs of others. It is easy being outside looking in. To all the unhappy people out there..... If your not happy with your job, it may be time to move on...

  20. Wow calm down lady, I do beleve that all every one is saying is before there is anything taken from the kids other peaple need to go. that's all take a chill pill have a glass of wine and relax. you sound like my x-wife.

  21. Its interesting how some people attack teachers who only want to be appreciated and paid for all of the years of their education and continuing education they put into their teaching careers. Children do suffer whe you pack their classrooms with undisciplined children. And until the schools can hold parents accountable for being good parents at home then how can u hold schools accountable. Learinig doesnt begin or stop in the classroom, you morons!!!

  22. MUSD has 3 Assistant Superintendents - 1 for business services, 1 for personnel, and 1 for curriculum. This is the bare minimum and are completely different in the responsibilities. Combining any of them would be akin to assigning a lawyer to take on a doctor's responsibilities. Some school districts are "administratively top-heavy." MUSD is not one of those districts. These administrators are responsible for a budget of 10's of millions of dollars and several hundred employees.

    BTW: It is unfortunate that people must inject name-calling into their arguments. It weakens any valid points that they may actually have.

  23. If people are concerned about the way that teachers get to keep their jobs even when they don't do their jobs well, maybe we should introduce some competition in the mix. Privatize the school system and let the schools be run like businesses. Then you'll be able to see if it makes a difference in how teacher's teach.

    BTW, I don't think that teachers are the problem. I think that teachers are held accountable for the lack of parenting that goes on (which is unfair) and I don't think that they get just credit for what they DO accomplish in the classroom.

    Generalizing about teachers is no better than generalizing about anyone else. Sure there are some who aren't good at it, but that is true of every profession. Many of us accepted the challenges of teaching when we chose the profession. Many of us would take pay cuts to have smaller classes. Many of us forego the luxuries of the regular workforce so that we can work longer hours than we get paid for, spend thousands of our own money for classroom supplies, and put up with the blame-game that many people play because we are dedicated to what we do.

    Careful not to judge us all. And careful when you think that teachers are at the heart of the trouble with today's education. In my opinion, teachers are the only thing that's keeping it afloat.

  24. Teacher Quality Said To Be More Effective Than Class Size In Student Achievement.
    In an opinion piece for the Washington Post (3/2, B2), Jay Mathews writes, "Here and in the rest of the country, school superintendents who have been forced to raise class size hope they can reduce the number of students per class when budget troubles ease." But Mathews questions "whether that would be the best use of our tax dollars." For example, if Fairfax County schools were to receive "a surprise $44 million from the federal stimulus package this summer," school officials "could make each class, on average, two students smaller, or it could do what some high-achieving schools do: Keep class sizes large and focus instead on more energetic recruiting and training of teachers." Mathews adds that he has "have seen some high school teachers keep as many as 50 students moving forward, with enthusiasm, in challenging classes." They accomplish this by making lessons lively and encouraging students to "adopt a team spirit to support each other as they learn."

  25. From the Press Enterprise:

    “Lesson in Solidarity.”

    “Some Inland schools administrators use furloughs, cash donations to cut own pay”

    “Olsen-Binks, who earns $195,000 a year, offered to give up five days in her contract. She will work those days but not get paid.”
    “Corona-Norco Superintendent Kent L. Bechler plans to donate $50,000 of his $250,000 salary to his district, giving back $25,000 each year for the next two years.”

    Leading by example can be a positive tool.

  26. Pay me $195,000 and I'll rebate 5 days. Give me $250,000 and I'll rebate $50,000.

  27. It's great that the decision caused so little upset in the classroom and community. I'm glad the school had a healthy reserve to draw from, this year and that no one lost a "job". I hope it's realistic and sustainable, given the economic trends.

    This has been a great educational exercise for me personally as I researched some of the suggestions and comments on this blog since the 'crisis' was announced. It seems to me that there needs to be some major reform in school funding and local administration.

    Making good local decisions based on the existing state and federal funding streams is really hard if not impossible, and seems to hamper the flexibility of local controls that the public doesn't really see. I don't think we'd like Temecula or the city of Riverside telling us how we should run our schools, but yet we're complacent with Sacramento and Washington DC calling the shots? Why have local districts at all if the critical funding decisions are dictated at that level. Isn't local better?

    I don't know the answer, but surely there's enough brain power to form a think tank of people who really want whats best for the children and community of Menifee.

    I also can't believe that teachers in Menifee feel the need to be represented by a union. Someone really needs to explain to me what added value there is, besides political action. What's the ROI on that? Why aren't more teachers free agents. Are there a lot of issues that require union representation?

    Also, I have to respond to Mark who posted that teachers "only want to be appreciated and paid for all of the years of their education and continuing education they put into their teaching careers." I'm guessing that Mark might be a teacher. Public school teachers are employed by the public. If any teacher for one minute thinks that taxpayers should be paying them back for their investment into their own career choices as well as their additional investments to enhance their careers, then that would highlight the second major reform that's needed in our school system.

  28. To anonymous March 02, 2009 8:57 AM:

    Look at it as a percentage not the dollar amount. Would anyone employed by MUSD be wiling to give up 10% of their pay?

    If so, please step up and be the first. Maybe others will follow.

  29. "Teachers are public employees..." This is too simplistic of a generalization. Check and you will discover that until a few decades ago (not that long ago), when teachers began being covered under collective bargaining, they wre paid next to nothing and had no rights worth speaking of. Under thos conditions, you wouldn't have any teachers today worth speaking of.

    Looking at percentages is a fallacy. Fixed bills are in dollars, not a percentage of income. It is a fact that larger salaries can absorb largere hits. The government recognizes this fact when the percentages of taxable income rise with income earned. (Don't go off on how the middle class eats it in taxes because this blog doesn't deal with that subject.) Would I give up 10% of my pay? If my bills went down a like percentage, then I would.

    Teachers are NOT free agents. After a certain number of years, there is NO moving about districts without taking a HUGE hit in pay (if the other district will even hire a veteran teacher at all). Manny Ramrirez is NOT a teacher.

  30. 1) "Would I give up 10% of my pay? If my bills went down a like percentage, then I would."

    Aren't you in control of your bills?

    2) "Check and you will discover that until a few decades ago (not that long ago), when teachers began being covered under collective bargaining, they wre paid next to nothing"

    Yes, that is when teachers taught because they loved teaching.

  31. If you think that teachers get into teaching for the "fame and fortune" of teaching, I disagree. I think that MOST teachers get into teaching because they have a desire to teach. In fact, when I was going to school to learn to teach, we joked about getting into teaching IN SPITE of what we'd eventually get paid.

    California pays it's teachers pretty well compared to other states, but other states still manage to retain good teachers. Maybe the inflation of teachers salaries in California needs to be addressed along with the administrative overhead. Teachers in our neighboring state of Oregon make nearly 25% less than teachers here and the cost of living difference does not justify that large of a difference.

    And before the question of credentials arises again, Oregon and California are reciprocal states which means that they both require the same thing to enable their teachers to teach. So Oregon teachers merit the same pay but they are paid much less than California teachers.

    Are teachers in Oregon getting ripped off? Or are teachers in California overpaid? Just food for thought.

  32. To all the union bashers and to answer a question Jason asked... There were many teachers who were all for a 5%-10% cut in salary across the board (from Superintendent to part time lunch supervisors) as long as it was everyone in the district. However, the union said this was not a good idea because it would mess with retirement benefits. In other words, many were willing to sacrifice for the good of the students and to save other's jobs but the people running the union would not consider this option.
    Please don't judge the selfless teachers by the union that some choose to represent them.
    Also, if a teacher decides not to join the union they still have that money come out of their check but it goes somewhere else. The benefit of joining the union is legal support and advice if it is ever needed. In this day and age of sue happy people some feel it is better safe than sorry.

    Thank you for your time and support of the students. It is a sad fact that the governing board and the DO protect each other and didn't take into consideration some of the recommendations of the BAC. I would really like to know what all of the recommendations of the BAC were.


  33. MUSD is proud of having most if not all its teachers "highly qualified" as NCLB has dictated teachers should be. This means that teachers have degrees in the subject area and/or have a masters degree. \
    Step and column in this district is very limiting if you do not have a masters. A fiscally wise person gets the masters because it will affect their retirement in the end and again, the district has Highly encouraged it.
    One's seniority on the job can be affected if one is not "highly qualified."
    A decent, real, masters degree costs about 20 to 25,000 last time I looked. Teachers cannot access the higher pay until they get the extra degrees or certifications. They "bottom out" on the pay scale. Yes, COLA is given to them no matter what but 2% most ofthe time does not cover "cost of living increases. And, 2% of 40,000? Not a huge amount.
    Many teachers have horrendous school loans from college. You cannot be a teacher without the degrees whether you "love it" or not.
    The high average of 60,000 is not reached unless you are there for at least 10 years and have the degrees which means you have the student loans.
    Who can support a family on that in CA? Isn't that why LA teachers are paid incredibly more than even Menifee? Because NOONE wants to work in LA. NOONE can afford to commute to LA. or any of these CA communities like SF, SD, even Orange County. No one wanted to work in Menifee when I came here. Now, everyone is here and we want to be one of the best districts in Riverside County.

    Don't give me that Oregon stuff! My sister worked in LA as a teacher. It was a no win situation. San Diego was not much better.
    We need men in teaching. We need men on campus, in classrooms, setting good examples, and being there to balance the environment. We have some, but not enough. Why?

    Because men know you CANNOT support a family on the salary. Both parents have to work full time, the daycare is outrageously expensive, etc. etc.

    Give it a rest. CA pay for teachers is not comparable to other states. It is set to keep and maintain good teachers in a state where it is tough to teach and tough to stay middle class.

  34. to: Anonymous, at March 02, 2009 8:24 PM

    To see the BAC recommendations go to the MUSD website and click on the Budget Advisory button. Look at both items shown dated Feb. 12.(The presentation and the minutes)

    The last two lines of the minutes shows the agreed recommendations - 1)Recommend the foundational "Assumption List" to the Governing Board and 2)PRESENT a list of additional programs (see above) - for the Board to consider in making additional cuts IF NEEDED. The good news is that they were not needed.

    From what I read I don't see this "District Office/School Board" agenda, I see them working together with a shared concern to try and keep the cuts away from the students and save jobs. I am greatful for their work and think that they should be commended.

  35. To March 03, 2009 10:01 PM:

    Many families are supported on less than what a teacher's salary is.

    So the answer to your question of who can support a family on $60,000, is many.

    The average household income in this area is less than the average teacher's salary, and most of the benefits in the private sector aren't near what they are in the public. So this "poor me" attitude by Some teachers is getting old.

  36. Anybody who says that teachers are not responsible for student failures has not read ANY research on the subject. Blame it on parents if that makes you sleep better at night, but the research clearly disagrees with you and there are thousands of counter-examples across the country.
    Research says that three consecutive years with an above average teacher puts students in the 89th percentile. Three years with below average teachers puts them in the 31st percentile. One of the speakers at the budget meeting said that the quality of the teacher has 5 times the influence of all of the other factors combined (including socioeconomics, race, gender, parent education, english proficiency). Turns out that it is actually TEN TIMES the effect of all of those other things combined.
    A study in Tennessee found:
    "- The effect of teaching on student learning is greater than student ethnicity or family income, school attended by student, or class size.
    - The effect is stronger for poor and/or minority students than for their more affluent and/or white peers, although all groups benefit from effective teachers.
    - The effects accumulate over the years."

    In Texas, they found:
    "Teacher quality differences explained the largest portion of the variation in reading and math achievement."

    All you ignorants who think that the district office is "top heavy" . . . they knew about the power of teaching and you didn't! That's why they work there and you don't! (No, I don't work for the district office. I am a concerned parent.) Keeping teachers and having a competitive salary schedule to attract highly qualified teachers is THE BEST strategy for school improvement. I get so sick of people who think that because they went to school up to the 8th grade, that they are experts in how schools and district offices should work. Administrators don't tell you how to twirl signs or flip burgers, so you don't tell them how to run a district office. If you want to run a district office, then go to 5 years of college (minimum) and rack up $50,000 worth of student loans, teach for 10 years, get your Master's Degree and administrative credential (another 2 years of college and $60,000 in loans), be a principal for 5 years, get your PhD (another 4 years and $60,000), and then see if you still think that $100,000 is too much pay and that there are too many of them.

    Thank you to MUSD for protecting your most important asset, teachers.

  37. To March 04, 2009 3:05 PM:

    "Keeping teachers and having a competitive salary schedule to attract highly qualified teachers is THE BEST strategy for school improvement."
    That must mean CA has the best teachers in the Country, because they make the most.

    "Thank you to MUSD for protecting your most important asset, teachers."
    Oh, and I thought the kids were the most important asset. I have this all mixed up.

  38. In response to the 8:32am blogger -
    The average family income in Menifee is actually $62,000. That isn't a lot of money anymore. Especially in California! Family size and needs vary greatly. It isn't easy to support a family in Southern California on 60k. It is doable, but difficult. Teachers making 60k have been teaching awhile - about 10 years. Remember that is only an average. Newer teachers (which make up a considerable number of our teachers) make significantly less! Some of the newer teachers work more than one job to get by. If I wasn't married, I'd never be able to support my children let alone myself on my salary. None of us went into this profession to make the big bucks! We teach for the enjoyment, fulfillment, and the for the love of the kids.
    You mentioned the "poor me attitude" you feel many teachers have. I think the reason you would get that impression is that many teachers are defensive as a result of some of the blogs on this site. We are hurt by some of the disrespectful and irresponsible comments by a very small few in the community. All I can assume is that some of you have had a bad experience with your child's teacher. If that is so, I'm really sorry and disappointed to hear it. Those type of experiences are so unfortunate. Please don't judge all teachers accordingly. Most of us work incredibly hard, and are very proud of what we do for a living, and we put the kids first. We have spent a lot of our own time and money on our education. We have put a lot of love, emotion and energy into our careers so that we are highly qualified to teach your children.

    In response to the last blog - teachers in this state do make a little more than teachers in other states because it is unbelievably more expensive to live in this state. I'm from out of state, and believe me when I say that your dollar goes much farther in other states!