Browsing Posts tagged organizing2012

Please join SCTA and the Central Labor Council on the North Steps of the Capitol at 5:30 pm Monday March 5th.

Join the Central Labor Council to demand that Wall St. and the 1% pay to refund education, jobs, essential services, and a better future!

Two good news stories from the Sacramento Bee over the past week are worthy of your attention. 

1.  “Courses for Laid-Off or New Teachers Emphasize Math and Science” (2/22/12)  (http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/22/4281220/courses-for-laid-off-or-new-teachers.html)

The Bee reports on a new partnership between California State University Sacramento and the Sacramento City School District to help laid-off teachers earn credentials in the hard-to-fill subject areas of math and science.  Forty teachers are enrolled in the program, directed by the very capable CSUS Professor Pia Wong, with their coursework paid for through a grant from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation.

Sac City math teacher Joseph Barnett teacher Carlos Rico may have been the first to propose the idea for such a program during the debate over Superintendent Raymond’s plan to bring temporary Teach for America corps members to the district two years ago, ostensibly to fill math and science teaching positions.   At that time, the District had just issued over 700 pink-slips to teachers.  Barnett noted in testimony before the school board then that many laid-off teachers likely would jump at the chance to be re-credentialed in math and science in order to fill high-need teaching slots.   Other Sac City teachers echoed this and urged the District administration to seek new partnerships with the CSUS teacher preparation program rather than rely on a corps of temporary teachers from outside the community with only a few weeks of training.

SCTA President Scott Smith was thrilled to offer full endorsement and support when notified by the Superintendent that the re-credentialing partnership had been created. 

“The Superintendent and leaders at CSUS deserve credit for pursuing this innovative solution to filling teacher staffing gaps.  This partnership points to the power of teacher-informed, community-based solutions.  It also is a solution that has at its core respect for the teaching profession and those who intend to make teaching their life-long vocation,” said Smith.

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Formula for deriving a teacher’s value added score in New York City

One of the biggest topics in education lately has been the use of Value added measures  also known by the acronym, VAM. In recent days, New York has been roiling in controversy with the release of teacher reports (more at New York Teacher Ratings Released — “At Best Unwise, At Worst Absurd”).  The release of teacher “ratings” by the LA Times a year ago led to similar controversy about accuracy, fairness, and whether such ratings are at all appropriate. Many of you may be wondering, what is VAM?

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Pink Slipping 

Last Thursday, the school board voted, without comment, to approve pink slips for 389 teachers.   By law, teachers slated to receive a lay-off notice for the next school year must be served with their notice by March 15th.

The ongoing inability of state lawmakers to provide sufficient revenue to local school districts, combined with over-spending by our own school board, has made the pink slipping of hundreds of our members an unfortunate, professionally-damaging annual fact of life.    As in years past, SCTA is preparing an experienced legal team to represent each and every member who receives a pink slip, no matter your hire date.  We serve all teachers—pink slips are disruptive to the teaching staff of every school and every school program in this district—and are committed to returning our pink-slipped members as quickly as possible to minimize such disruptions.  We are ready for this battle.

Moreover, SCTA will not cease in our efforts to press the school board and Superintendent to pursue school closures and discontinue millions of dollars in discretionary contracts with outside consultants in order to preserve the jobs of teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses and psychologists—those who work directly with students each and every day.

To receive SCTA legal representation through the pink slip process you must be an active member of this local before you receive a lay-off notice. That means you must have signed up using an SCTA membership form.  If you have any question about your membership status, or know that you need to sign up as an active member, please contact your site representative or SCTA office staff as soon as possible.

Say goodbye to school sports, music classes and school-bus transportation, and hello to more crowded classrooms.

At least that’s the scenario facing Sacramento City Unified School District schools. Last week, the school board approved a brutal list of cuts totaling $28 million.

Sacramento News and Review, 2/9/12

Join your SCTA colleagues, parents, community members and students from our K-12 schools and adult education programs in a rally against this devastating budget that would wipe out:

  • Music teachers
  • School counselors at middle and high schools
  • Librarians in middle and high school—librarians in lower grades have already been cut
  • Adult education programs
  • Stipends for sports coaches, yearbook advisers and band teachers
  • Nearly all school-bus transportation

Sign making at SCTA Offices (5300 Elvas Ave) on Wednesday, February 15th, 4:00 p.m.

For more info: www.rally4education.blogspot.com or  www.sacteachers.org

At the heart of our work is a single, simple promise to our community: We will make every decision based on the best interests of our children. We will put children first.” –Jonathon Raymond

Under their watch, the SCUSD school board and their employee, Jonathon Raymond, spent $42 million on consultants for the 2010-2011 school year. This school year, 2011-2012, they have spent approximately $39 million on consultants. How can they afford to spend so much on consultants, if there is less funding available from the state every year?
Due to the ongoing state budget crisis, since 2010-2011 SCTA members have been giving back to the district $95 dollars per month per teacher to help the School Board and Jonathon Raymond balance their budget. This agreement was supported by teachers with the understanding that the money would be used for K-3 class size reduction. It reflected our professional knowledge that lower class sizes—especially in the early years—is one of the most important ways to support learning in all children. It also reflected what parents said in surveys and at community forums that they most wanted the District to preserve.
In 2011-2012 the district was facing a deficit again. The School Board and Jonathon Raymond added $2.34 million of new spending to their deficit. At the same time, they took our $95 monthly contributions, but increased—not decreased—class sizes in Grades 2 and 3. They also under-funded school sites by withholding federal Title 1 money and keeping it at the District office.
This year the SCUSD is facing a deficit of approximately $27.9 million. In the proposed budget due to be approved this week, the School Board and Jonathan Raymond will balance the budget by cutting services, by cutting all student extracurricular activities, and by laying off personnel. There is scarcely any mention of cutting consultants and contracts.
In the first community budget forum held this past week at Luther Burbank High School , Jonathan Raymond told the audience that 70% of consultant and contract spending is required by state and federal law and therefore non-discretionary. If that is indeed the case, that still leaves 30% of discretionary consultant contracts that should be addressed. The total consultant costs over the past two years amounted to approximately $81 million. That would make the discretionary portion—the contracts that the School Board and Jonathan Raymond have entered into by choice—about $24 million, an amount that is very near what Jonathan Raymond claims is the District’s deficit. Consultants do not trump smaller class sizes. Consultants do not trump librarians, counselors, nurses, music teachers, adult education teachers and K-12 teachers.
Here is a very small list of consultants out of the hundreds that the School Board and their employee, Jonathon Raymond, have determined will serve “the best interests of our children”:

What Can You DO?

Attend one of the remaining public budget forums conducted by Jonathan Raymond and the School Board. All begin at 6 pm:

  • Monday, January 30 – C.K. McClatchy High School (library
  • Tuesday, January 31 – Rosemont High School (big theater)
  • Monday, February 6 – John F. Kennedy High School (main auditorium)
  • Wednesday, February 8 – Hiram Johnson High School (small theater)

Bring your SCTA Budget Fact Sheet with you. Point out the sacrifices teachers have already made and continue to make. During the last budget crisis, teachers bailed out the district when, each teacher agreed to give back $95 per month to save the K-3 class size reduction. Ask what happened to the $95 and why we’re still seeing new discretionary contracts with outside consultants.

ORGANIZING  UPDATE

Welcome SCTA members! This is our first of weekly updates from the Organizing Committee of SCTA. The goal is to keep you updated with a clear picture of the unique state of the budget. We want you to understand the current situation, as we stand up for students, education, and your esteemed profession!

SCHOOL CLOSURES ARE SENSITIVE // SCHOOL BOARD UNWILLING TO MAKE NECESSARY DECISIONS

Recently, our school board decided to shelve discussion of school closures. Although it is a tough talking point, the reality is that we operate the district as if we have 54,000 students, when we have about 42,500.  Again, the discussion is not easy and involves many stakeholders, but the school board recently refused to take action on recommendations for consolidation by a “7/11” committee  that board members themselves appointed.    Approximately half a million dollars a year would be saved if the number of under-enrolled sites identified by the 7/11 committee were closed or consolidated.    That translates into teachers saved from unemployment and the important programs and student offerings preserved.

If the board took action and made necessary site closure/consolidation decisions, the number of pink slips issued in March would be reduced. Class sizes could be maintained, perhaps even reduced, at critical grade levels.  Split classes could be eliminated.  In these tough times, the quality of education would be maintained, perhaps even go up, attracting more students to your site. Although some sites would close, your job would be secure.  We understand that the burden will be borne by teachers and students and families who have to move sites, but without these changes, the district will continue to slash programs, increase class sizes and lay off teachers in order to maintain campuses it cannot support.

Superintendent Raymond’s last letter indicated that without a concession from you  (of up to $4800 in salary and benefits), he would have to increase class sizes, reduce plant managers and custodial staff by 50%, eliminate all adult education, and eliminate sports, cheerleading, drama, marching band and others.  Action by the school board to consolidate schools and stop unnecessary spending on contracts and consultants could save many of these important extra-curricular programs.   A generation of students would have opportunities to experience sports, music and the visual and performing arts. Don’t let the district propaganda machine point its finger at us and demand we share sacrifice when we already sacrifice:

  • $95 for class size reduction (an agreement that was not honored by SCUSD).
  • $20 a month for current retiree benefits.
  • The above amounts total a $2250 annual per teacher give-back to the district.   Also important to consider is the 14% DECREASE in spending power since we have not received a Cost-of-Living-Allowance in 4 years.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Stay informed. Read your SCTA messenger and the Organizing Committee updates.

Realize the School Board and Superintendent thinks it is your responsibility to bail them out of bad fiscal decisions that include a failure to act to consolidate schools.

Attend school board meeting and future rallies and demonstrations that hold the School Board and Superintendent accountable.

Let your voices be heard at the Community Budget Forums

Five Community Budget Forums have been scheduled to provide families, employees and others with information about SCUSD’s 2012-13 budget and to receive feedback on proposed cuts. The schedule is:

Thursday, January 26 – Luther Burbank High School (cafeteria)

Monday, January 30 – C.K. McClatchy High School (library)

Tuesday, January 31 – Rosemont High School (big theater)

Monday, February 6 – John F. Kennedy High School (main auditorium)

Wednesday, February 8 – Hiram Johnson High School (little theater)

All meetings will begin at 6:00 p.m. The district has also created a new budget page on SCUSD’s website (www.scusd.edu/BudgetNews) that includes links to media stories, updates from Board of Education meetings and a suggestion box. It also includes facts about our finances and questions and answers relating to rumors and myths about the district’s budget.

Diane Ravitch Speaks Our Truth

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It was an incredible event with over 3,600 turning out to see Diane Ravitch and other educators speak. We will have more information posted soon, but here is a bit of what happened last night…

Photos

Diane Ravitch Event 1/20/2012

Audio from parts of Ms. Ravitch’s speech


Huge thanks go out to JivAn Feliciano, high school student and event volunteer for the photos and audio featured.

Selected tweets from the live coverage of the event on Twitter/Facebook gathered by Larry Ferlazzo

Links to stories before and about the event

SCUSD Budget Update Fact Sheet

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Prepared by SCTA Organizing Committee
January 2012

1.       The District has overspent its budget by hiring consultants that it cannot afford: approximately $39 million for consultants in 2011 and $42 million for consultants in 2010, for a total of $81 million dollars in consultant fees for the past two years.

2.      As a result of this and other district mismanagement, including spending down its cash reserves, the District now faces a budget deficit $29 million dollars.

3.  The District has overspent its own budget and is now looking for a teacher bailout to save the day.  This could cost each teacher between $380 to $480 per month–on top of the $2250 each teacher will have given by the end of the 2011-2012 school year–to fund class size reduction and retirement trust fund start-up.   Superintendent Raymond and school board members  continued to overspend, knowing full well that Average Daily Attendance funding will be lowered by the State, due to the ongoing budget crisis.

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