Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Letter to YCEA Members

August 17, 2009

Dear YCEA Members,

Welcome back to a new school year – one that we know is going to be a fabulous one for our students, and challenging for us. I know that all of you are concerned about the financial situation in California and the District, as emphasized by the letter we all received from Dr. Kendrick during the summer.

Yes, indeed, it will not be “business as usual.” We acknowledge that the situation is dire. We will not stick our heads in the sand and refuse to participate in cost-cutting measures. However, we also acknowledge that there are many different ways to make cuts, and not all of them need to be on the backs of students and educators. Last year, in addition to agreeing to a furlough day, for the first time we agreed to pick up the increase to the cost of the health benefits. Also, we lost approximately 24 YCEA MEMBERS – some of which still do not have a job. We lost approximately 19 POSITIONS – so cuts were indeed made IN the classroom, not just close to it.

The Superintendent referred to “team spirit” in her letter. It’s that “team spirit” that is going to get us through this financial crisis. We fully intend to participate in the discussion, but before we even begin to consider further concessions on our part, we need to be able to see a District commitment to cost-cutting away from the classroom.

To that end, we are asking for your input. We are soliciting your suggestions as to where the District can save money. You may give us these suggestions in several ways:
1. Email your suggestions to budget@ycea.org
2. Visit the ycea.com website and use the “Email Us” button
3. Write us a note or letter and send it via District mail to the YCEA Office
4. Write us a note or letter and send it via regular postal mail to:
Budget Suggestions
Yucaipa-Calimesa Educators Association
504 Myrtlewood Drive, Suite A
Calimesa, CA 92320
Please provide us your input NO LATER THAN SEPTEMBER 11. Thank-you for your assistance. We hope you have a great year!

Cyndi Holman Patrick Smith Tom Herron
President Vice-President Negotiations Chair

If you would like to leave a comment/suggestion below, it will be considered ONLY on two conditions:
a. You are a YCEA Member
b. You identify yourself BY NAME

Anonymous comments will be rejected.

Don't let them mislead you....

I read with interest a handout from the District, meant for the school board, in which they outlined "Administrative Position Adjustments." They're trying to say that they lost two positions. Hmm. Which ones, do you think? They claim they lost the assistant principal at WES and the assistant principal at OVEC. They rightly point out that they added a principal at WES, and an assistant principal at MVMS, but try to claim that they really lost "two positions that would ordinarily be filled with new personnel."

What they failed to put in their chart is that they DID fill two administrative positions with new personnel! They created a new "Dean of Students" at OVEC, which is pretty much the same as the assistant principal, and they created a "Coordinator" of the Special Education Pre-School (also an administrative position).

The District now has 33 administrators, 2 more than last year. I don't see where that could be considered a loss of positions.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Evaluate principals based on student test scores?

Hmmm. Interesting concept. Probably just as controversial to principals as basing teacher evaluations on test scores is to teachers.

San Diego is trying to do it:

First Test for Principals: Getting Judged on Test Scores

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Don't Believe the Press!

No local newspaper - News-Mirror, Press-Enterprise, or Sun - has contacted any person in YCEA for information on the budget crisis and related issues. Every quote we see in the paper is from a District administrator or school board member.

It is irresponsible reporting to NOT get both sides of a story, and even more irresponsible to get a huge part of a story WRONG.

The first example is the Yucaipa News-Mirror's article from two weeks ago, which stated that YCEA supported the elimination of Class Size Reduction - and misstated it twice in the same article. As a matter of fact, SAVING Class Size Reduction was our #2 item on the list, after our proposal to reconfigure elementary school boundaries and eliminate elementary APs (one item). YCEA wrote a letter to the News-Mirror pointing out the error and requesting a correction, but so far nothing has been published correcting this error. Had reporter Bill Brown contacted YCEA for input, which would be fair and impartial journalism, then this glaring error would not have been printed.

Second, the Press-Enterprise quoted school board member Sue Brown: " 'The district's management team will take five furlough days, and cuts are being made in district office administration,' Brown said." Excuse me? There are NO cuts being made in district office administration! They converted two accountant positions into one in the business office, and didn't rehire a clerk position in human resources. But NO administrator has been let go or reassigned. Not only is Ms. Brown misrepresenting the facts, had a reporter from the Press-Enterprise contacted YCEA for input, which would be fair and impartial journalism, then this glaring error would not have been printed.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Word About Comments

The authors of this blog respectfully request that the nasty, personal comments stop. We will not publish them. Not only are they contrary to the point of this blog, they are misinformed. We'll give three examples:

1) The board did NOT make a choice between "saving" Dunlap and saving CSR. There isn't an "either-or" choice to be made, by either the board OR the negotiations team. The board merely pulled the Dunlap decision from consideration that week, delaying it until the next meeting. Then, because of the layoff timeline, it voted to approve the administration's cost-cutting recommendations. It did this just in case an agreement of any kind could not be met with the Association in time for the RiF notices. The YCEA negotiations team continues to work to save all possible jobs.

2) You cannot offer to take more kids in your classes in order to save jobs. Taking more kids into your class eliminates jobs. We HAVE to keep CSR classes at 20:1 in order to keep all of our members.

3) Two, possibly four jobs are subject to elimination if the closure of Dunlap is approved. Yes, many Dunlap members and parents are concerned about other issues related to Dunlap, but our priority in this matter has got to be the jobs.

We will continue to moderate the comments.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pink Friday is Coming to Yucaipa

Unless something is done NOW, many outstanding Yucaipa educators will be receiving pink slips in March.

Learn more about what you can do to help at the Pink Friday Website.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Small Ariz. District saves $500K with 4 day week.

The Bisbee Unified School District (under 1000 students) has figured it could save 13 teaching jobs and $500,000 if it added an hour to the instructional day and switched to a four day week.

Link to MSNBC.com article

Link to Sierra Vista Herald article

How many jobs and how much $$$ could Yucaipa (~9,700 students) save if it followed suit?

Just a thought to consider...