SCUSD Observer

Sacramento, California

Unwise decisions that repeat past mistakes…

On March 5th, SCUSD’s Board meeting concerning layoffs was a disappointing effort that will result in destroying morale and harming the emotional life within our schools.

Most of those dedicated to and involved with students will dig down and increase their usual self sacrifice. Some will have to pull back for self preservation. A few will be pushed beyond their personal breaking points. And why? To “provide flexibility” to management to issue “notice to a maximum number of certificated employees to ensure that there are no possibilities of surplus employees.” The Board has decided unwisely and put into motion a self-declared “worst case” scenario.

If the core mission is direct service to students then why is SCUSD cutting nurses, counselors, librarians, social workers, psychologists and social workers by 90%?

The reason stated for the cuts was that categorical funding has decreased by 4.5%. So why not a flexibility level of 4.5%? Why not the state average of 6.16% staff reduction (CTA) as sufficient flexibility?

The Board passed a second motion to bring folks back as quickly as feasible. Contact your Board members and ask for an immediate workshop to hear from direct service staff and the public about other areas of flexibility farther from our students.

Previous suggestions by management should also be considered. The $475,000 projected decrease from bottled water, postage, COBRA, and workers’ comp reductions that was demonstrated in 08-09 could be adopted. That will bring back about 3.5 full-time employees (FTE). There is a conservative estimate of saving $200,000 from outside contracts. That will bring back 6.4 full-time employees.

Eliminating The Connection is preferable to eliminating secondary music and art. That will bring back 5.1 FTE. The $94,000 three unpaid work days that unrepresented management generously put on the table would bring back 3 FTE. This brings the total of “student ready” positions available for immediate morale stimulus to 18 FTE which covers all 14.4 librarians and 4 of the music teachers.

We borrowed a million dollars from adult education to balance 08-09. Why are we not borrowing the $2.93 million needed to bring back nurses, counselors, librarians, social workers, psychologists and social workers? Ninety-five FTE could immediately have their hearts handed ba ck so that they can continue to give them to our children. A $3.93 million dollar total loan would still leave $4.77 million in this account according to the first interim report (the updated budget numbers have not been available after repeated requests).

Adult education is showing growing-ending balances, which is often seen as demand for this program increases during a recession. So why is SCUSD looking for flexibility from adult education teachers? Consider borrowing $6.5 K from the very fund their efforts create and bring them back immediately. This would still leave a balance of $4.12 million after bringing back 21 FTE.

The Board has not considered the take-rather-than-borrow flexibility for the remaining stated $7.3 million in 08-09 loans from/to itself. There is also a multi-year repayment flexibility.

SCUSD has been laying off and rehiring for the past five years. Our new Board repeated the past mistake of over-listening to management even though practicing better listening of the public. Management is being allowed to leave way too many answers for a later date. Our children deserve better outcomes that truly value the teaching and services they need from Board decisions. This is the recent campaign promise that should not be flexible.

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Written by scusdobserver

March 12, 2009 at 4:18 pm

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