Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Did She Really Say That?

Yes, it’s not a rumor. At the September 11 board meeting, board member Sue Brown questioned the need for K-3 class size reduction. Her exact words were:

And then finally, going over all the budget things with Jim and Ted, I am reminded that we have a $1.7 million encroachment because of class size reduction in grades K through 3. And I am just wondering, besides the fact that we know that we all benefit from extra attention and what not, is that investment paying off for our kids? An are we using the money in the best way possible when we are spending that kind of money for a very small group of kids?

(What not?) YCEA would like to gently point out that all students in YCJUSD have to attend kindergarten, first grade, second grade and third grade. EVERY SINGLE child in YCJUSD benefits from this program.

In a time when the District is NOT in financial difficulties, do you really want to be represented by a board member who questions the need for class size reduction?

As the board begins to look forward to next year, do not stand by and let them eliminate or curtail valuable programs. Talk to them. Let them know what you think!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Administrative Changes

In keeping with the new-found concept of promoting from within, the board has approved former CMS/MVMS principal Melissa Moore to the position of Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources.

In addition, the following administrative changes have been announced:

Principal - Canyon Middle School - Eric Vreeman (formerly Principal of YAS)
Principal - Yucaipa Elementary - Elizabeth Chronister (formerly AP at YHS)
Asst. Principal - Yucaipa High - Joe Hyde
Asst. Principal - Park View Middle - Joe Maletesta (formerly science teacher @ PVMS)
Asst. Principal - Park View Middle - Frank Tucci (formerly AP at RES & CES)
Asst. Principal - Valley & Yucaipa Elementary Schools - Dana Carter (former PE teacher @ CES)
Asst. Principal - Calimesa & Wildwood Elementary Schools - James Cherry (formerly AP at DES & YES)
Assistant Principal - Dunlap & Ridgeview Elementary Schools - Kristie Marino (formerly AP at PVMS)
Assistant Principal - Canyon Middle School - Mike Bennett (formerly AP at PVMS)

So, vacant positions include:

Principal - Mesa View Middle School
Principal - Yucaipa Adult School

Friday, June 29, 2007

YCJUSD has a new Superintendent

For those of you who are still checking the blog, yesterday morning, the District announced (via a brief email) that Dr. Sherry Kendrick was appointed our new District Superintendent. Let's hope that she is up to the task of rebuilding the relationship between the Association and the district administration.

Friday, May 25, 2007

YCEA Featured in California Educator

Take a look on pages 24 & 25 of the print issue or read it online here:

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's official, Hovey's packing his bags for Fullerton!

Here's the article in today's N-M.

We wish him well.

When Will Mesa View Open?

“In the best case environment, we could open up some time during the 2008/09 school year. If the timeline slips for any reason, then we may have to push back until the 2009/10 school year.”
Ted Alejandre, quoted in today's News-Mirror.

And how much will it cost?

Take a look at the article in the N-M to find out all the details.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pics from our Recognition Event

Teachers' Choice Award - Linda S. from the Specialists

Teachers' Choice Award - Susan A from Wildwood

Teachers' Choice Award - Lori H from Meadow Creek

Teachers' Choice Award - Melody F from Calimesa

Teachers' Choice Award - Marilyn S. from Ridgeview

Retiree Donna H listens to praise from her friend Pat P

Retiree Linda C receives her plaque

Susan A talks about her friend, retiree April K

A great crowd, great location - we'll be back!

20 year service pins
Grete L, Gayle T, Kay P

10 year service pins

Retiree Kay P shares the moment with her friend Adrienne M

Retiree Lana S listens to her friend Chris K

Valley Elementary

Dunlap Elementary and Teachers' Choice - Jan M.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

A Visit With Some Old Friends

Friday night we held our annual recognition event, where we honor our retirees, give out the service pins, and (beginning this year) announce the teachers' choice awards. We held this year's event at the Mill Creek Cattle Company in Mentone, and it was very well attended. In our next post, we'll show some of our honorees, but we thought we'd share pics of some of our former colleagues who joined us for the festivities.

Chris K.

Bonnie M.

Norma W. and Jack B.

Ellen G. and Ann M.

Dave G.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Should the Blog Continue? Sound Off!

Now that YCEA has finally reached a fair settlement with the district, has this blog served its purpose? Should it fade away into the Twilight Zone of the internet or should it remain---a sort of "virtual teachers lounge" where we can share ideas freely?

What do YOU think? Post a comment and let us know.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Congratulations, John!

Photo courtesy of Mark Watkins.

Yucaipa High School teacher John Hawkins proudly displays his CTA Communications Award, presented to him at the San Gorgonio Service Center Council WHO (We Honor Ours) Awards Dinner. John received this award from the California Teachers Association for his informative, illustrated set of emails called "Postcards from Orlando" sent from the NEA Representative Assembly last summer. CTA bestows only a small number of Communications Awards, for newsletters, websites, and for this "special" category in which John was selected. We're very proud that one of our members has received this statewide honor.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Local Businesses to Thank

Let's start the list - we'll update it as you let us know who/what business to add.

Please write them letters, patronize their businesses, and thank them in person.

These business sported "WE SUPPORT YUCAIPA-CALIMESA TEACHERS" signs:

Las Fuentes
White Rabbit
Big John's Philly Steaks
Hair 'n' U
Farmer Boys
The Water Store
Skat Trak
Dr. Wise Orthodontics
Roadrunner Towing
La Mexicana
El Pollo Loco
Mr. Crum's Donuts
Dr. Jarrett (chiropractor)
Rosa's Beauty Shop
The Training Zone
Valero (Wildwood/California)

Who else?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Presenting the People Who Brought You the Settlement:


What a heartwarming sight it was to walk out of the district office after 7 hours of sitting to see the hundreds of teachers, parents, and other supporters who came to the rally. Some of the negotiations team were moved to tears. It made us go back in there and continue to fight for a fair settlement.

We could never have done this without all of you.

This is the view we had out of the window after you finished your march around the district office. We found out later that the beginning of the line caught up with the end! How cool was that?!

Settlement Information - As Promised

You may view the settlement information here.

We hope you'll agree with us that this is indeed a great settlement!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Watch This Space!!!

On Saturday, after 5:00 pm, you'll be able to see all the settlement information right here! We decided to share it with you now, since we learned that we need to post the TA before the general meeting. This way, you get the information now, and have time to digest it and come to the meeting with your questions.

Thanks so much!!

T.A. Reached!

We've received word from the YCEA Negotiations Team that a T.A. was signed at approximately 2:15 A.M. this morning. We don't know any details about it yet but we're assured that all members will be presented with a complete explanation at a General Membership meeting next week.

638 Days to reach a
Tentative Settlement!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Huge Turn-out Today

Well over 450 teachers and supporters turned you think the school board got the message?
Here's a teaser picture (thanks MW) more to come...

Rally starts at 4:00

Let's hope that the Negotiations Team will be able to announce a settlement and that it will become a celebration instead of a protest.

637 Days Without a Settlement!

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Great Job On the Picket Lines!

Mail your pictures to and we'll post them here!

Dunlap Elementary had an AWESOME turnout:

See You On The Picket Lines This Morning!

Make sure that ALL of your staff is out there---show the parents, community, administration and BOARD that were are united and determined for a fair settlement.

Check back tonight for pictures.

636 Days Without a Settlement!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

California Day of the Teacher - May 9

How will the Board recognize us for all that we do?

Will they offer us a fair salary settlement?

Will they have the courage to stop by school sites and talk with teachers to find out what they could do to make things better?

Or...will they send out a cheap, Xeroxed proclamation and try to ignore us?

635 Days Without a Settlement!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Let's have a GREAT turn out Wednesday morning!

Remind your colleagues! Picketing BEFORE school at your respective school site Wednesday morning. Check with your site crisis captain about what time your site will start and end.

Let's put an end to the crisis THIS WEEK!

634 Days Without a Settlement!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Lessons Learned from Colton

Our school board members should read this!!!!

In Saturday's Sun, Colton school board member Marge Mendoza-Ware discussed the lessons she learned from the crisis in Colton. We are impressed. Her words should be required reading for all school board members, especially ours.

Here's her letter:

If we learn from our mistakes, then our mistakes may very well be worth the pain. If we share with others the lessons we learn and they take heed of those lessons, then we can see the fruit of our labor.

As a school board member for the Colton Joint Unified School District, I recently made some mistakes. It is my hope that school board members and administrators in other school districts will benefit from what I have learned..

• Lesson No. 1: Play fair. Do not insult your teachers by making a ridiculously low first offer.

• Lesson No. 2: Listen to your teachers. They are not trying to break the bank–they understand that if the bank is broken, they won't have a job.

• Lesson No. 3: Listen to your parents. Parents in the CJUSD wanted the district to dig deep and compensate the teachers with as much as we could.

• Lesson No. 4: Communicate openly, honestly and frequently with all stakeholders: teachers, parents, administrators and classified staff. Above all, be absolutely sure you are making your best possible offer.

• Lesson No. 5: Broken relationships are much harder to mend than those that remained honest and respectful. Do not let negotiations become a battle of us vs. them. If you do, your students will lose.

• Lesson No. 6: Your students are aware, and they are watching. They love their teachers and want the to be in the classroom, undistracted and ready to teach.

• Lesson No. 7: Visit your schools as frequently as possible.

• Lesson No 8: Remember your job is to facilitate the best possible education for your students. Having happy, well-compensated teachers and classified staff who feel you support their efforst is the quickest way to happy, well-educated students.

County Schools Superintendent Herb Fischer once told me about a time in his career when he thought he was absolutely correct in a position he had taken until one day he heard another side of the issue he had not considered. The argument was so compelling that he changed his position. I have always respected him for sharing that story.

I hope somewhere in my lesson you, too, will listen with an open mind, and if you have heard a compelling argument, you will change your position.

Jim, Patty, Sue, and Joyella - SHE'S SPEAKING TO YOU!!!!

Visit the Parent Site

arents In Support of Teachers have their own blog...visit it at:
be sure and leave a comment or two to show them that everybody in the Yucaipa-Calimesa community appreciates their hard work in helping to retain quality teachers in the YCJUSD.

633 Days Without a Settlement!

Friday, May 4, 2007

Let my people go!

Friday afternoon, YCEA was informed that the District has filed yet another unfair labor practice charge; this time, it concerns our notification that we intend to terminate the contract this month. Apparently they argue that we have no right to exit a contract even though we entered into it voluntarily. In fact, they seem to contend that our current contract will last, day to day, forever!

What will it take to make our Superintendent and the board change their minds? How about a horde of locust, frogs falling from the sky, a plague, or …

460 really frustrated teachers outside the District Office on May 10?

As promised...more pictures!

631 Days Without a Settlement!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

"I know we hid it around here somewhere!"

School board members, under the direction of Superintendent Mitch Hovey go on a treasure hunt, looking for all the taxpayer dollars that they have hidden away.

630 Days Without a Settlement!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Your Tax Dollars at Work

So, do you really believe the District when it tells you “Mesa View Middle School didn't cost local taxpayers?” Hmmm. Where do YOUR taxes go? Arizona?

For your information, take a look at these numbers:

In addition to the approximately $31 million dollars of taxpayer money from the state,

- $1,000,000 transferred out of the CFD (Community Facilities District)* to the General Fund “for construction of Mesa View Middle School gymnasium.”
- $391,153 out of the CFD to pay for environmental consulting and traffic studies for MVMS.
- $15,000 out of the CFD to pay for inspection services for the road.
- $35,670 out of Maintenance and Operations to pay for asphalt for MVMS.
- $5,283 per month, plus benefits, out of the General Fund, for a full-time custodian and groundskeeper to take care of an empty school.

* For our readers who don’t know what a CFD is: It’s a “Special Tax” paid by local property owners to finance public improvements and services. In this case, the CFD was established by YCJUSD, and the local property owners have a “Special Tax Lien” placed against their property.

Source: YCJUSD School Board Minutes for 6/29/04, 9/13/05, 2/7/06, 3/21/06, 5/2/06, 8/8/06, 11/7/06

629 Days Without a Settlement!

We're on YouTube!

629 Days Without a Settlement!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Great Turnout!

Let's hope that this sign of unity shows the Board we're serious about fighting!

Watch the blog for more pictures.

628 Days Without a Settlement!

Monday, April 30, 2007

BIG Protests Planned For Tuesday

Come join your colleagues, neighbors and family members at the corner of Oak Glen Road and Yucaipa Blvd. Tuesday from 3:00 to 5:00 for some good old fashioned picketing! It's important that we show our strength and unity before we have fact finding next week.

627 Days Without a Settlement!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

How do we compare to Rancho Cucamonga?

When we look at the visitor logs for this blog, we find that many of the visitors are from Yucaipa, Redlands, Calimesa, Beaumont, Loma Linda and other cities where our teachers live. We see occasional visits from throughout the state as well as worldwide. However, something that's interesting is that Rancho Cucamonga residents seem very interested in what's happening in the Yucaipa-Calimesa School District. It's amazing that this blog is regularly visited by visitors from Rancho Cucamonga even though a quick check of the district directory shows that no teachers live in Rancho.

To show our appreciation to Rancho Cucamonga residents for being so concerned about the plight of Yucaipa teachers, we'd thought we see how teachers in Rancho Cucamonga are paid versus their counterparts in Yucaipa-Calimesa.

At Rancho Cucamonga High School, teachers make anywhere from approximately $4,500 to more than $15,000 more per year than their counterpart at Yucaipa High, doing the same job with the same credentials.
Here's some examples:
Mrs. Z is a chemistry teacher at Yucaipa High, she is in her seventh year teaching and has just recently completed her masters degree. She makes $53,568 per year at Yucaipa High but if she taught at Rancho Cucamonga High School she would make $62,241 per year---$8,673 more which equates to almost 16.2% more.

As teachers reach retirement age, the difference gets even greater. A teacher with 33 years experience, a masters degree + 30 additional graduate units makes $15,122 more at Rancho Cucamonga High---more than a 19% difference. That kind of difference can have long lasting implications into retirement.
You can see the salary schedule for the Chaffey Union High School District (which includes Rancho Cucamonga High) here:
Yucaipa's salary schedule is available online here:

To be fair, we must point out that Rancho Cucamonga is not served by a unified school district, so that means that elementary teachers work in different districts than their secondary counterparts. So lets look at how things look on the elementary front:

Mr. Z is a fourth grade teacher at Valley Elementary School in Yucaipa. This is his first year teaching and he has a bachelor's degree plus 30 units of classes required to get his teaching credential. At Valley Elementary he makes $39,250 but if he taught at Terra Vista Elementary in Rancho Cucamonga he would make $44,002--$4,752 or 12.1% more. If he continued teaching in Yucaipa and moved all the way over on the pay scale, he would find himself falling farther and farther behind. A teacher with 24 years of experience and 75 units of graduate work (including a masters degree) only makes $75,329 at Valley Elementary whereas their counterpart at Terra Vista in Rancho makes $85,255 per year---$9,926 or nearly 13.2% more.

Terra Vista Elementary is part of the Etiwanda School District. Their salary schedule is available here.

626 Days Without a Settlement!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Something Fishy Is Going On!

Does the board NOT think the public and teachers will notice that they cancelled their May 1st board meeting (the same day YCEA had rallies scheduled in the afternoon) and then scheduled a "special" board meeting for the same day, May 1st, but at 2:00 in the afternoon. They have guaranteed that they won't have to hear any input from from teachers since they are holding their board meeting at a time when all district teachers are required to be in their classrooms.

Teachers and PARENTS are TIRED of the board's unwillingness to resolve the pressing issues in the district. Let's hope and pray they take action Tuesday to give the district's bargaining team the parameters they need to reach a settlement.

625 Days Without a Settlement!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Let's Hear it for the Non-Teacher "Teachers!"

Just to remind everyone that it's not just classroom teachers who are in this fight, we would like to post this fabulous letter submitted by our psychologists:

As student support providers (School Psychologists) for YCJUSD we wanted to publicly voice our support for our union’s stance in the current negotiation crisis. We believe that YCJUSD teachers, counselors, psychologists and speech therapists deserve fair compensation for the service they provide to the communities of Yucaipa and Calimesa. We firmly believe that a high quality and well rounded educational system is vital to both communities. However, for Yucaipa and Calimesa to have a high quality educational system it needs to recruit highly qualified and highly motivated certificated staff. This is not to say that Yucaipa-Calimesa is not already a high quality educational system but rather we believe in order to maintain its level of excellence Yucaipa-Calimesa certificated staff should be reasonably compensated. This would also create a competitive salary schedule to further recruit and maintain quality staff. After reviewing all of the facts, it seems reasonable to us that the request of being compensated the full COLA amount for salaries is a reasonable and realistic demand. We as student support providers deal with some of the neediest students in the communities of Calimesa and Yucaipa. These students bring many different issues to the classroom, from behavior disorders, to learning disorders, to cognitive disabilities, to autism and other disabilities. Yearly, teachers are asked to get students to meet higher and higher levels of academic standards and achievement goals despite the increasing needs that students bring to the classroom, thus placing increasing demands on teachers. These demands should not be the primary responsibility of the classroom teacher, rather should be the responsibility of a strong network of highly qualified student support providers, who are experts in the field of counseling, mental health and educational psychology. Along with fair and competitive compensation for teachers, YCJUSD student support providers should also be fairly and duly compensated. Failure to competitively and fairly compensate all YCJUSD certificate staff will put the communities of Yucaipa and Calimesa in a less competitive position to recruit high quality teachers and student support staff. Without high quality teachers students receive a less quality education. Without high quality student support staff students with behavior, emotional, learning, cognitive and other disabilities receive less quality support. Less quality education leads to more illiteracy and less quality student support leads to crime and other societal problems. Board members, community leaders and business leaders should then contemplate which is worse: paying YCJUSD certificated staff the full amount of Cost Of Living Adjustment or possibly having more illiteracy and delinquency in their communities.

YCJUSD School Psychologists

NOTE: We also include our counselors and our speech therapists!

624 Days Without a Settlement!

Kudos to Kathryn!

Today, The San Bernardino County Sun published a great letter to the editor from Kathryn Elliot from YHS. Way to go Kathryn! Yesterday it was the Press-Enterprise and today it's The Sun.

You can view Kathryn's letter online at the SB Sun website.

Great Words of Support from Up North

Yesterday we received this GREAT comment from a colleague who is a member of the Hayward Educators Association.

This comment was a follow-up to the great letter from Kathryn Elliot at Yucaipa High that was published in the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

Kate Day's words of solidarity and encouragement are ones that we think all members of the Yucaipa-Calimesa educational community should read so we are also posting this comment on the front page of the blog:

Hello Kathryn,
I am writing to you on my first day back in the classroom after our 10 day extraordinarily excruciatingly painful and glorious (yes, both) strike in Hayward. (See You Tube and search: husd strike) [link added] Today I am living in a different universe then when we began. I can't explain it in words. I was running on adreneline, fear, hope, dispair and most of all shere and utter determination to stick it out. Fortunately, 98% of my colleagues stayed resoulutely on the picket line.
The ace up our sleeve, beyond teacher solidarity, was the unprecedented support and incredible organization of our working class and largely, though not exclusively, Latino community. If you can stick together, teachers and community, and you hang on to the belief that you WILL be victorious, you will win.
All my prayers and leftover energy are with you. I will continue to monitor your struggle. Oakland teachers took personal and sick days off from work to join us on the picket line. I will do the same for you, if it comes to that. I will also send $ to your strike fund (and raise more from our union members) as so many districts around us did.
Keep strong and united, bottom line: eyes on the prize. Your cause is just.
In solidarity,

Kate Day
Park Elementary School
Hayward, California

BTW: Hayward teachers ratified their agreement yesterday. You can read about here.

624 days without a settlement!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Way To Go Kathryn!

If you take a look at the "Letters to the Editor" page of today's Riverside Press-Enterprise, you will find this great letter:

Be fair to teachers

The Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District is risking a great deal in its continued conflict with teachers. In the absence of a fair offer, Yucaipa is losing wonderful teachers, and it is no longer the progressive workplace where new graduates are eager to begin a teaching career. It is past time for the district to offer teachers the full cost-of-living adjustment settlement the district has been banking since July 2005, when the last contract expired.

A public school is not a business, and the funds distributed by the state are meant to be spent, not hoarded. The students and teachers of Yucaipa deserve better.

Parents, look beyond the "spin" you are hearing. The facts are that the teachers to whom we entrust our children every day are very dissatisfied, and they have been working without a contract for more than 620 days. This demonstrates extreme patience and loyalty.

The good results demonstrated in the district are not an accident; they are the result of the hard work of teachers, students and site administrators. As state fact-finding approaches, let the school district and board know you expect this impasse to be resolved. Our children deserve highly qualified, fairly compensated teachers.


We sincerely thank Kathryn for the time she took to wrote this letter and submit it to the Press-Enterprise. We also thank the editorial staff of the Press-Enterprise for being fair and objective.

In Other News: Gerald Bean, publisher of the Yucaipa News-Mirror, was recently honored by the school administrators association for the News-Mirror's "support of education in the community." You can read the entire text of the article (and find out about two YCJUSD administrators who were also honored) here:

623 days without a settlement!
Congratulations Hayward Teachers for finally reaching a settlement!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Help Wanted!

Know of any SCIENCE TEACHERS who are credentialed and qualified to teach biology, chemistry, physics, etc?

If they don't mind teaching in one of the LOWEST PAYING districts in the region, they may be able to get a job in Yucaipa.

Word has it that Yucaipa High is going to be needing a boat load of science teachers next year to replace all the ones who have jumped ship to take teaching positions with higher pay and better working conditions in neighboring districts.

Oh...we forgot. Yucaipa doesn't have any problems attracting highly qualified teachers despite having rock bottom pay. The over supply of eager applicants must be why the administration chose to not show up at teacher job fairs sponsored by the University of Redlands and UC Riverside. Please disregard the above announcement.

622 days without a settlement!