October 16, 2010

School Budgets Cut Again, Ho-Hum

Another day, another school staving off impending doom.

Teachers, school staff OK salary freeze

by Nick Veronin,  Mountain View Voice Staff

Teachers and staff of the local high school district have agreed to forego salary increases for two years.

The pay freeze, together with a change in retirement benefits for some staff members, will help the Mountain View Los Altos high school district save money, officials said.

At its Sept. 13 meeting, the high school board approved salary freezes for teachers and school staff represented by the California School Employees Association.

The teachers union and the local chapter of the CSEA went along with the district’s plan, which ensures that salaries will not increase for employees represented by either union until the 2011-2012 school year at the earliest.

Cupertino Unified School District added five furlough days to this year’s calendar as part of the staff contribution to covering a $3.4 million shortfall.  San Jose Unified schools took last week off.

State legislators budget deal, after 100 days of no action on allocations, does not pay schools the full amount they are owed.

Some schools are asking the voters for help.  Three school districts have placed parcel taxes on the November ballot, including Cambrian (Measure L, $96 a year), Foothill-DeAnza (Measure E, $69), East Side Union HSD (Measure I, $98),  Another four are seeking bond measures: San Jose/Evergreen (Measure G, $268 million), Santa Clara Unified (Measure H, $81.1 million), Franklin-McKinney (Measure J, $50 million), and Moreland (Measure K, $55 million).

The parcel taxes require a 2/3 vote to pass, the bond measures require 55%.  And if you want some political intrigue, two neighborhood associations have organized against the San Jose/Evergreen bond measure, claiming the community college district has wasted money on unneeded projects, needless travel, and consultants.  The best quote from the arguments against the measure is “The San Jose Mercury News has said that their fiscal credibility on a scale of 1 to 10 is zero.”

How are things in your school district(s)?  Any stories of treachery in budgeting?  Wait, isn’t Los Altos in the Real Bay Area?  Why are they dealing with budget issues?  What do you bet nobody read down this far? 

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

9 Responses to “School Budgets Cut Again, Ho-Hum”

  1. nomadic Says:

    Still building your herd of teal deer, madhaus?

    My guess as to why Los Altos is not in the RBA would be the influence of transient guests in bordering Mountain View. Or it’s the apathetic old people. 😉

  2. SEA Says:

    Thanks madhaus. Now I’m thinking about the velocity of “buyable” school budget cuts, lol.

  3. Petsmart Groomer Says:

    It looks like the districts are waiting for Superman too.

  4. DreamT Says:

    So a “salary freeze” is now in the same category as “budget cut”? The entitlement nation is indeed alive and kicking.
    Next time I cannot negotiate as high a raise or bonus as I’d wish, I’ll also complain loudly about cuts.

  5. madhaus Says:

    #4, if you’d read the entire article you would see that retirement benefits were reduced for nonclassified employees by putting a ceiling on their health benefits. That is indeed a cut.

    COLA increases have long been part of school budgets. Reducing them to zero sounds like a budget cut to me. What you are referring to in the business world, “Next time I cannot negotiate as high a raise or bonus as I’d wish,” is a negative first derivative, which still results in a positive increase. After all, this statement suggests you are still getting a raise or bonus, just not as high as you wish.

    The MVLA HSD teachers are also not getting as high a raise as they’d wish, because they aren’t getting one at all. Then again, the article neglected to mention that the MVLA high school teachers are the highest paid in the entire state. (Data from 2008-09 school year.)

    The average pay in the district? $95,365. The average for teaching experience in the district is 11.2 years experience, and 9.3 years in the district.

    By way of comparison with other high school districts in the RBA and out, here are the average salaries:

    Campbell: $65,596
    East Side Union: $77,613
    Fremont Union: $73,323
    Los Gatos/Saratoga: $91,181
    San Mateo Union: $79,706
    Sequoia Union: $79,784 (Redwood City/Menlo Park)

    and K-8 districts (pay is lower than for high school teachers)

    Belmont: $69,070
    Cambrian: $71,620
    Campbell: $66,955
    Cupertino: $68,258
    Hillsborough: $84,735
    Los Altos: $73,569
    Los Gatos: $73,350
    Menlo Park: $86,027
    Mountain View/Whisman: $61,147
    Portola Valley: $89,587
    Ravenswood: $58,261 (East Palo Alto)
    Redwood City: $68,755

    Saratoga: $75,808
    Sunnyvale: $65,894

    Unifed Districts (K-12)

    Palo Alto: $83,994
    San Francisco: $60,116
    San Jose: $66,170
    Santa Clara: $70,735
    South SF: $58,818

  6. nomadic Says:

    Short answer: I budget for salary increases for my peeps. Sometimes budget cuts make them come out or be decreased.

    From the employee’s perspective it would be unwise to make a family budget based on presumed raises, so I would agree that isn’t a “budget cut.”

  7. Petsmart Groomer Says:

    > it would be unwise to make a […] budget based on presumed raises

    Tell that to Woodside.

    And since we’re talking about schools, see one of the comments:

    The one thing that I can not stand about any school district, and I have school aged kids, is like the fire department and the police department, when you tell them to cut their budget by 10%, the first thing the school department does is propose to cut the sports program or make some other ludicrous proposal to arouse simple minded parents.

    The school district is supposed to cut administrative jobs at district headquarters, not teachers or sports programs. Of course, parents wouldn’t take notice or care if jobs at the district headquarters were cut, hence the silly season, with districts making absurd proposals designed to anger parents, with no one calling the district on these proposals.

  8. nomadic Says:

    That parent raises an interesting point. I’d argue that a sports program probably has more value than more bureaucracy. I doubt school admin is running all that lean.

  9. Real Estater Says:

    We are #1!

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