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!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

¿Habla Espanol?

Take a look at item #30 on tonight's board agenda: Amendment to Consultant Agreement

"District administration requests Board approval for Axiom, Inc. to provide translation services (into Spanish) for the School Accountability Report Cards, for a total of $16,285.00 per year (for a three year total of $48,855.00) to be paid with general funds and possible reimbursement through mandated costs."

We don't question the need to translate this information into Spanish for parents and community members.

What are your thoughts about this expense? Any thoughts on how the district could have better managed taxpayer dollars?

PS: Axiom, Inc. has offices in Rancho Cucamonga. Maybe they're the one from Rancho that checks this blog ever evening at about the same time.

621 days without a settlement!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Thank you parents, friends and fellow CTA members!

Notice something when driving around Yucaipa and Calimesa? Those yellow and red signs are everywhere! Drive down Third Street and you'll see them from one end to the other. Businesses on County Line Road have them posted on fences and in windows. Everytime YCEA receives another box of 500, they're quickly exhausted and more have to be ordered.

YCEA is expecting a new shipment in a couple of days...if you don't have one in your yard, call the office at (909) 790-3320 or e-mail with the address and a volunteer with the crisis team will make sure one is placed in your yard.

620 days without a settlement!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Write a Letter This Weekend!

The News-Mirror is not the only paper to think about when you want to share your sentiments about the labor relations crisis that Dr. Hovey and the Board of Education have created here in Yucaipa and Calimesa.

During the recent bargaining crisis in Colton, both the Press-Enterprise and the San Bernardino Sun both did a decent job carrying pro-teacher letters from parents, students as well as educators.

It's easy to submit your letter:

The Press Enterprise allows you to do it online at this link:
-Press Enterprise Letters to Editor-

The San Bernardino County Sun has an e-mail address or mailing address you can use:
US Mail:
Voice of the People
The Sun
2239 Gannett Parkway
San Bernardino, CA 92407

And letters to the good 'ole News Mirror can be sent to:
Yucaipa News Mirror
35154 Yucaipa Blvd.
Yucaipa, CA 92399

618 days without a settlement!

Friday, April 20, 2007


As YCEA and YCJUSD draw closer to Fact-Finding on May 10, it is likely that we will see a change in their strategy. A time-honored management negotiations strategy is that of the poison pill. Management offers something close to what the union wants, but then adds a stipulation that is unacceptable, and makes that stipulation the focus of the negotiations process. This has the effect of taking attention off of the broad reality of the situation, and refocusing it on a single, controllable issue. Last spring, the healthcare cost increase was an unintended poison pill to teachers voting on the contract, what will be the poison pill of choice this time? Perhaps today's News-Mirror offers an insight in their article on the Budget Committee findings:
"And while things like competitive salaries, increased discretionary funding to school sites and maintaining safety issues appeared on all three lists and the subsequent final list, surprisingly, maintaining class size reduction in kindergarten through third grade only appeared on the parent list."
We need to be aware that our Board and District Office will be making every effort in the next few weeks to divide and conquer us. Now more than ever, we need to stand together.

Will This Be Another "Snotgram" Friday?

What new misleading information will the district administration and board try and brainwash us with? They have a tendency to distribute this information late on Friday afternoons...will this be one of them?

Will they go back to the lower cost method of placing fliers in our boxes or will they choose to squander more taxpayer $$ on postage and envelopes. The one time they e-mailed their snotgram to us it backfired when countless teachers hit "reply" and responded to the e-mail. Maybe they will try something new and drop their propaganda from the sky?

617 days without a settlement!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Where is Dr. Hovey Leading YCJUSD?

Rather than trying to negotiate a fair settlement with his teachers, Dr. Hovey seems to think the labor unrest is a better way to lead a school district.

What would a teacher strike be like in Yucaipa?

Right now, in California, there is just one teacher strike going on...that is in Hayward.

Between 97 and 99% of the members of the Hayward Educators Association have joined in unity on the picket lines.

Less than 20% of students are attending class. Some of them sign in in the morning and then leave.

Despite offering substitute teachers $300 a day, qualified substitutes are lacking. According to news reports, there were 8 substitutes for 800 students at one large campus and according to another news report there were no substitutes at Hayward High School.

The district superintendent claims that students in these classrooms are being taught standards based curriculum. According to television news reports, newspaper articles and parent complaints, little learning is taking place. At some schools children are watching the Disney Channel all day, at another student the closest thing that came to teaching in the classroom was a game of hangman and at another elementary school students were making underwear out of paper to wear over their clothes while other students watched Sponge Bob videos.

Encourage Dr. Hovey to do the right thing and work with the board to offer teachers a fair settlement.

Ask Dr. Hovey to not jeopardize the education of the students in Yucaipa and Calimesa.

616 days without a settlement!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Are Yucaipa & Calimesa Residents NOT California Taxpayers?

The school board and district office administration want the community to think it's o.k. for Mesa View to remain shuttered despite tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money being spent on its construction.

Yes, it's true that the state provided the money to construct this school. However, where does state money come from? You've guessed it....taxpayers like you, your neighbors and friends.

Perhaps we should invite residents of other California cities to protest the district's mismanagement of this costly, taxpayer funded asset. I'm sure the taxpayers in Redlands, Banning, Rancho Cucamonga and Calexico would be upset to know that their tax dollars went to fund a "ghost school."

Members of the Yucaipa-Calimesa community should also keep in mind that keeping this school shuttered is costing the district considerable money on a daily basis. The school is staffed with a custodian, there are utility bills to pay, grounds to maintain (that nice landscaping isn't an illusion), insurance to pay, and much more. A couple of months ago flooding from a pipe that broke in a classroom building required emergency response by numerous district maintenance personnel.

We challenge the administration and board to do what's right and reasonable and work to resolve the Mesa View crisis just like they should be trying to resolve the negotiations crisis that exists.

615 days without a settlement!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Congratulations YHS TEACHERS & STAFF!

Yucaipa High School teachers and staff deserve the recognition for this accomplishment that the district office administration and school board will surely brag about.

President Oedekerk and Supt. Hovey need to be reminded that without QUALITY teachers, a school is just a collection of buildings, fields, asphalt patches and concrete. Yucaipa teachers are the LOWEST PAID in the region. You can't expect to attract quality teachers in the future or retain the quality teachers you currently have when you insult them. We don't want to see the Distinguished School Banner become the backdrop for teachers striking on Yucaipa Blvd.

Do the right thing! Settle now!

614 days without a settlement!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Feeling the pinch?

Remember, every time we receive a salary adjustment that is less than COLA (cost of living) we are taking a pay cut. Yucaipa-Calimesa teachers are not being greedy, we're just trying to keep our heads above water.

613 days without a settlement!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Hayward Teachers Go On Strike!

Will Yucaipa be next?

You can learn more about the situation in Hayward and lend some words of encouragement by visiting their blog:

Community support for the strike is strong. According to a poll by a local television station, 85% of parents in the community support the teachers going on strike.

Link to News Story

News coverage from the picket lines show parents pulling their children out of school when learning that schools are lacking substitutes despite $300 day pay for substitute teachers.

Link to video

612 days without a settlement!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Could this be the board's new mission statement?

"If you repeat a lie enough times, it will resonate."

611 days without a settlement!

Friday, April 13, 2007

District finds way to waste even MORE $$$ sending out "Snot Grams"

Can you think of some better ways the district could have spent the $$$ they spent on postage, Xeroxing, and envelopes plus all the time for a clerk to stuff, address, apply postage and mail the "snot gram" you received today?

Obviously the senior administration of the district and the school board think it's better to waste taxpayer money sending out garbage rather than fairly compensate teachers.

610 days without a settlement!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

We are Strong, and We are Together!

608 Days Without a Settlement!

So, you want to do something? Here are a few ideas:
1. Write a letter to the publisher of the News-Mirror, and let him know how you feel about the lack of coverage this bargaining crisis is getting. We are one of the city's largest employee groups, and we deserve fair treatment by the press as well as the District. Tell him that there are 1050 CTA members in Yucaipa and Calimesa, and we will be encouraging them to take action - like maybe cancelling their subscriptions.
2. Write a letter to the editor of the News-Mirror, and hope it can get published.
3. Talk to parents. Encourage them to contact board members and push for a settlement.
4. Talk to business owners and community leaders. They have a lot at stake, and labor unrest is not something that brings new business and new residents. Encourage them to contact board members and push for a settlement.
5. Talk to any of your colleagues who so far have been inactive or absent from negotiations support activities. Encourage them to participate!
6. Sign your name to the newspaper ad, which your reps have been circulating. Don't be afraid to go public with your name and support.
7. Sign your name to the "WE ARE YCEA" posters that identify you by site. Show the District that it's not just YCEA leadership pressing for a fair settlement.
8. SHOW UP at the picketing on May 1.
9. SHOW UP at the picketing on May 9.
10. SHOW UP at the rally on May 10.
11. Write letters to the editors of the San Bernardino Sun and the Riverside Press-Enterprise. You can do these either on paper or via their websites/email.

Any more ideas? We'll add them to the list.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

How's that for a formal statement of the obvious!

Instead of the traditional prevacation "snotgram" the District mailed each teacher a form explaining that if we had accepted the T.A. back in June with what amounted to a 6.5% pay increase (over 2 years) we would currently be making MORE money.

The Blog Committee would like to formally thank Mitch and Ted for spending district funds to provide us with a statement of the painfully obvious.

What would really be helpful is to see the same calculations for ... let's say ... a Colton-like settlement of more 10% for the same period. Why should Yucaipa and Calimesa teachers settle for less?