Friday, August 1, 2014

July 22nd Board Meeting: Sorry(Support Staff) ... Sympathy(Admin) ...Shock(Community)

Part 1 ... "Sorry" (Support Staff)

On July 22, 2014 due to financial uncertainty and distress, the Union for the Calaveras Unified support staff--CSEA--was denied a negotiated wage increase by the CUSD Board of Trustees

Board of Trustees: Sorry, Calaveras Unified Support Staff, but due to financial constraints and uncertainty, we currently can't afford to honor your fully justified cost of living wage increase.

Vote: 4-1 (Trustee Gustafson voted in favor of the cost of living wage increase)


Part 2 ... "Sympathy" (Administration)

The County Office of Education Supported the 2 Admin Raises:
Superintendent Northington, who did not stand up in defense of the CUSD support staff cost of living increase, did however stand up in defense of the 2 CUSD Admin wage increases.

History prior to July 22nd meeting:

On June 24, 2014, two CUSD administrators (Director of Personnel Liz Stanko and Director of Fiscal Services Titia Ashby) were each approved wage increases of $16K a year.           
  • Director of Personnel moved from $74K to $90K--a $16K annual increase
  • Director of Fiscal Services moved from $74K to $90K--a $16K annual increase
  • Together the 2 administrative wage increases total $32K.

At the July 22nd board meeting Trustee Gustafson attempted to rescind the vote that gave the raise on June 24th. He was over ruled (primarily by the input of County Superintendent Northington as the agenda did not reflect a vote to rescind the wage increases, but only to consider/explore the job descriptions of the positions in question (Director of Fiscal Services and Director of Personnel). According to the leadership attending the meeting a vote to rescind (or take back the wage increases) could not be immediately considered by the board. Trustee Gustafson's attempt to rescind the Admin wage increase was denied (or over ruled).

Related Consequences of Upholding Admin Wage Increases:
1. These wage increases show favoritism to administration. .
2. These wage increases create a wedge of distrust and unrest between the CUSD administration and the district's support staff (CSEA).
3. These wage increases were not fully and completely explained during the June 24th meeting and gives the appearance of manipulation and deceit.
4. These wage increases appear to cause (or add to) the district's current and ongoing financial distress.
5. These wage increases make it harder for the public to fully believe in the district's ongoing claim of transparency.


Part 3 ... "Shock" (Community)

The level and depth of the anticipated cuts is overwhelming and leaves a small community wondering ... "What Happened?"

1. Severity of Cuts has been softened and minimized by the Media: Valley Springs News and Calaveras Enterprise.

2. Reporter Mike Taylor (Calaveras Enterprise) is a friend of the board and a close friend of Superintendent Campbell; Nick Bautista (publisher VSN) is a friend and fellow Rotarian of both Superintendent Campbell and Trustee Reusche. Its hard to ask the hard questions and present accurate "facts" when you are a long-term and loyal friend with the person you are interviewing. Typically, the public is presented with only one side of the story; rarely does the reporter interview or give evidence or facts from the opposing party on any given issue.

3. The Trustees claim to be not fully aware (or informed) of the severity of the budget crisis.

4. The CUSD Trustees claim to have not obtained the letter-report (from County Superintendent Northington) which outlines the level of and depth of the district's financial distress

5. The information related to the CUSD  budget crisis has been minimized, softened, and held a safe distance from the board and the community (for a considerable time) in hopes that an upturn economy would solve the district's perilous financial crisis without anyone really being completely aware of the depth and severity.

---------------------Part 3 Continued -----------------------
Budget Action Plan: 
"The Board will engage in discussion to develop a CUSD Budget Action Plan to address the Multi-Year Projection (MYP) Negative Qualifications for 2015-16 and 2016-17

(Handout from July 22, 2014 CUSD Board Meeting)
Discussion of CUSD Budget Cuts 
Reductions Needed and Reflected in 2014-2015 Adopted Budget

1. --Sports/Athletic Programs
2. --Consolidation of Up-Country Schools
3. --Staff Reductions (K-6)
4. --Staff Reductions (7-8)
5. --Staff Reductions (9-12)
6. --Reduction of Maintenance and Operation Staff
7. --Admin Reductions (VP's)

------The End------

Link to July 22nd Board Meeting Agenda
Link to Board Meeting Audio Recordings

To better understand the budget certification process—Qualified vs. Negative—view the CSBA article: Understanding Qualified & Negative Certification and the Role of the County Office of Education--pg 6 

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