News

Teachers union questions furlough days

Trustees 'reluctantly' move arts money into general fund

Teachers union president Darren Day told the school board Tuesday night that teachers had trouble understanding the "layoff days" being negotiated with the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. He said they ask him, "Did the teachers not do the work they were asked to?"

"Teachers ask me this all the time," he said.

"Have we done everything else we could?" he asked. "What's best for kids is happy, honored teachers."

Negotiations with the union are expected to center on voluntary furlough days for the entire district and Day, president of the San Ramon Valley Education Association, had been asked to give feedback from teachers on plans to enact furlough days, whereby teachers take a day off and are not paid for it.

Statistics provided by the district showed that each furlough day would save an estimated $760,000. The spending plan being considered would have two furlough days next year, three the following year, and four the year after that.

"Have we done everything else we could?" Day asked. "What's best for kids is happy, honored teachers."

"It's important to all of us to feel we've been included in the decision," he added.

On Tuesday night, the school board also voted to "sweep" money from categorical programs funded by the state and divert them into the general fund to cover district shortfalls.

"Our superintendent has challenged us to prepare students for the 21st century," commented Barbara Farmer, visual arts teacher at California High School, during the public hearing, asking how students could be taught to think creatively when arts programs were being cut.

"As Einstein said, 'Imagination is more important than knowledge,'" she said.

"The state gave flexibility to the individual districts," reported Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services, Christine Williams, "and we had to look through all the categorical fundings."

"There is $2.8 million in categorical funds to be moved into flexible funds," Williams said. "Sometimes we get the money late in the school year. Sometimes we don't spend all the money, we wait for a rainy day. The rainy day is here." Although, she noted, it will benefit the district generally rather than the art and music programs.

The cuts will take the art and music funding back to where it was three years ago, said Williams, before the extra funding came from the state.

"Did we build the budget with the idea that this would be swept?" asked Trustee Greg Marvel.

Williams said yes, that otherwise they would have had to make cuts somewhere else.

"We're impacting the quality of education to our kids," said Marvel but nonetheless moved to pass the cuts.

Trustee Rachel Hurd complimented Farmer on her comments and said, "Arts are important to develop out-of-the-box thinkers." She reluctantly seconded the motion.

"I'm as disappointed in this as anything," said Trustee Paul Gardner. "I believe arts is as important as science and reading and writing. But we are between a rock and a hard place and there is no comfortable place to go."

Trustee Ken Mintz commented that he shared everyone's frustrations.

Board president Bill Clarkson took the vote, which was unanimous, and commented, "It was a reluctant first move, a reluctant second, and a reluctant vote."

Comments

Posted by Rick, a resident of Danville
on May 28, 2009 at 6:49 pm

Did the teachers not do what they were asked to? In a word - NO!!! No, the best thing for kids is good teachers, not ones who are "honored and happy." What a bunch of self-congratulators. Who demands to be honored? I don't honor most teachers. I think most are pretty lame frankly. A lot of people agree. Sorry


Posted by Nancy, a resident of Danville
on May 29, 2009 at 7:27 am

Happy and honored? What!?! While I think we can all agree that the job of a teacher is vitally important, teachers (like most everyone else) are ultimately employees. It's ridiculous that in these times of extreme financial hardship, SRVUSD and other districts have to deal with people like Darren Day. If the district needs to implement lay-off days, so be it. I don't recall my employer asking me for my feedback when my company recently closed it's doors for two weeks to cut costs.


Posted by G, a resident of Charlotte Wood Middle School
on May 29, 2009 at 7:58 am

The entire district "don't get it". What a surprise, we're in an economic slowdown! Where were these "trustees" 6 months ago, 12 months ago? Where were the teachers "stepping up to the plate" and volunteering to make the sacrifice "for the children"? They are using their "Imagination" that the money will fall from the trees. If the "trustees" had been doing their job, they would have initiated cutbacks that counted then. NOT when the crisis was upon us. What a bunch of "uneducated" or perhaps "over educated" educators! They just don't have a clue! Every aspect of the district MUST take cutbacks, The board, the supervisor, the entire administrative staff and network, AND teachers. From top to bottom. Any hestation of support for these cutback by any of the parties involved, including the UNION will show where their true colors are. Educating students, or protecting themselves. What a sorry lot.


Posted by Teacherman, a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on May 29, 2009 at 8:46 am

Its also important to understand that the remarks made by Darren Day are not representative of the entire teacher community in this district. Many teachers I have come to know in this profession don't necessarily need awards or appreciations for the job they do. They really just want respect from their students and from their community, as we all do. And of course respect is earned. Its not given because of what you do, its given because of how you do it.

So I don't believe with the statement, "What's best for kids are happy honored teachers." I do believe it is a small variable piece to a large equation. I could list numerous other things that serve our student community better, starting with healthy environments and practical learning experiences, up-to-date technology and a collaborative approach to education. However, if you don't feel valued, like in any company or organization, your job becomes a little more frustrating to do. But don't honor me. Instead, just ask me about my job (How's the business of education?) and I will determine my own happiness.


Posted by Brittanicus, a resident of San Ramon
on May 29, 2009 at 6:11 pm


The major cause--ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION COSTS.
Americans will soon be overwhelmed by a new push for a path to citizenship or AMNESTY. It is an ever relentless effort by corporate execs, open border crazies and free traders to saturate our nation with even more cheap working laborers. Not only will it lower wages at already new lows, but non-skilled Americans will be in direct competition of newcomers stealing their already elusive jobs. Any new form of AMNESTY will cause even more people to rush the border, looking for a free handout from taxpayers. It was also start the next waves of chain migration of family members, sponsored by those legalized will come here. It will be a nationwide catastrophe on the Social welfare safety-net of Americans. California's looming budget doom from its pandering to the illegal alien occupation, may just be the tip of the iceburg as other states start to audit the books? As an example? How many illegal immigrants are in the prison system at Federal and state level.

Rep. Phil Gingrey's H.R. 878 will End Chain Migration, which has 25 co-sponsors. We also have Rep. Bob Goodlatte's H.R. 2305 that will End Visa Lottery and has 31 co-sponsors. Next in line is Rep. Nathan Deal's H.R. 1868 End Birthright Citizenship by foreign mothers, that has 47 co-sponsors. Rep. Marsha Blackburn's H.R. 2406 Local Enforcement, such as 247(g) has 29 sponsors and lastly Rep. Heath Shuler's SAVE Act (E-Verify). This law will make E-Verify mandatory and has not gained political momentum yet. Without these deterrents our country will be overrun with cheap labor, that taxpayers will have even more money extorted from the pay packet to support the millions already here and the hordes that will follow. Call your Senator or Congressman to sponsor any of these new laws. Find out more at NUMBERSUSA. Also watch Chuck Baldwins Immigration videos at Web Link He said, "Without a doubt, illegal immigration is one of this country's most serious problems. The toll exacted by illegals is incalculable."


Posted by Ron, a resident of Danville
on May 29, 2009 at 6:54 pm

They stated that the cuts will take them back to three years ago. They better plan for 10 to 15 years back because thats where they need to be, and thats across the board. Get lean, lower the overhead to their current budget and when things turn, run lean for awhile then re build. Too bad none of these people have the tools to make this happen. What ever the union says they are giving up, they will get back. They dont give anything up unless they get something in return.


Posted by Mexican fan, a resident of Danville
on May 29, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Brittanicus - What the?? That is not the reason here. I own my own company, 85% are Mexican and you call entry level of 45k to 85k a year low wages? Who do you think is the back bone of the labor pool? I wonder where are all the people that are having these jobs stolen from them. They are not knocking on my door for work. Not all Mexicans are fence jumping criminals.


Posted by huh?, a resident of Danville
on May 29, 2009 at 11:03 pm

"Without a doubt, illegal immigration is one of this country's most serious problems. The toll exacted by illegals is incalculable."

Gotta love fill in the blank rhetoric. In the past year, I've been told that gay marriage, abortion, liberal activist judges, a Democratic Congress, a Democratic President, the Bailout Plan, were each the most serious problem. So, which one is it?

I agree that illegal immigration is a real, significant problem. But, jeez, every single issue is framed in terms of being the most critical problem facing Americans.


Posted by Rick, a resident of Danville
on May 30, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Hey Mexican fan, Britannicus wasn't saying that all Mexicans are fence-jumping criminals. He was being specific about illegal immigrants, whom you probably hire for cheap. You are wrong that native-born citizens of the US won't work as well in these jobs for 45 to 85k a year. That's a lie. No one's buying it.

To, huh, illegal immigration is the single largest economic waste in California. We wouldn't have economic problems - no deficits, no debt, if we just stopped illegals from attaining welfare benefits.


Posted by Rick, a resident of Danville
on May 30, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Please post your business, Mexican fan, for I know many people who could use a well-paying labor job.


Posted by Not a union fan, a resident of Danville
on May 30, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Darren Day, get a clue! Get back to the negotiating table and give something up, to preserve the jobs of hundreds of YOUR constituents. Would the people who are enjoying this recession please raise your hand? Why should teachers as a group be untouched?
Go back to the California Teachers Association and tell them that unions all over the country have gone too far. They are putting businesses out of business. When the teachers union wants to talk about Merit Pay, revising tenure rules, and mandatory CTA membership requirements (a parting gift from Gray Davis), then you might get some sympathy. I'd love to feel "happy and honored" in my job...if I could get one. Revise your expectation, stop whining, and be part of the solution!


Posted by Teacherman, a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Jun 1, 2009 at 12:31 pm

How does an article about SRVEA and furlough days ignite a debate about illegal immigration?

No doubt, it is an issue but come on, I don't believe any person or group of people, except maybe our public office holders (who We the People actually control), are at fault for the local financial troubles in our school district. At my high school we have less than 10 students who are registered English Language Learners. I expect most other schools in this district have similar demographics, except for maybe Dougherty Valley.

In short, debate the issue in the article at hand. Save your long-winded illegal immigration arguments for a more appropriate forum.


Posted by Rick, a resident of Danville
on Jun 2, 2009 at 8:11 am

Teacherman, you show the ineptitude of your colleagues. You are so mentally weak that you can't see how our state's budget crisis effects the local district. You are either dim-witted, or will try anything in the book to get us off talking about something you don't like. I'm actually gonna guess that you're not dumb, but merely don't like us talking about illegal immigration because of your own political leaning. This is also reflective of most teachers, who merely teach a biased form of everything from history to politics, all slanted against America and those who stand up for it. By the way, as you said, it is becoming directly local in the Dougherty Valley and soon enough all over our district, if people don't stand against it - which we will. Please, either get a brain, or try another tact of manipulation. I'm tired of people like you always defaulting to this irrational argument that illegal immigration has nothing to do with our local budget crisis. It's BS - straightup. Ending benefits for illegals such as those language classes and the thousands of other means with which they sap our resources will save the state's budget and thus there would be no economic crisis in CA.

In short, stop being so inept, or biased against your own country, and all those other things the education system has come to represent to people like me. And don't tell people like me what to do. Don't tell us what we can and can't debate. You go ahead and say your point and we'll say ours, alright partner.


Posted by Teacherman, a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Jun 2, 2009 at 11:02 am

Rick, your remarks and personal attacks are very disheartening. Again, I think you should take some classses on respect, manners, and class. Its like you are eating with your mouth open and all your chewed up food just comes falling out making a total mess of yourself. But enough about you Rick...

I believe education in this state and in this district is on the brink of some major transformations, many that people have been longing for in this community. With the onset of one of the worst budget crises in years, our Board, district leaders, and local union will ALL have to make critical concessions in the coming years. There is no compromise, such as furlough days, that will solve our problems today.

Its time we start re-thinking the structure of education, leadership of our district, and motives of our union. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am not so much concerned about the happiness and honor of teachers as I am about edcuating our young people to meet the needs of the 21st century. My happiness is determined by my pursuit of this, not negotiated appreciations and teacher perks between SRVEA and the district.

As many people are starting to believe, out of crisis comes opportunity. I encourage everyone in this community to start thinking about what is important for the child's education and start speaking up about it. Things like collaborative learning, technology in schools, critical thinking skills, and practical learning experiences. These prepare students for this century.

Note: Illegal immigration is not a local issue in this district.


Posted by Teacherman, a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on Jun 2, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Rick, click on Terms of Use or see below. I believe you have consistently violated these rules in your postings.

1. You agree to be respectful of others, be truthful and be solely responsible for all postings you make.

2. You agree not to use any profanity, nor post any information that is hateful, libelous or obscene, or that is threatening, abusive or offensive to any individual, group or class of person.


Posted by Rick, a resident of Danville
on Jun 2, 2009 at 3:41 pm

OK, Teacherman, I found that very condescending. I think you are a raging hypocrite, like Reader, and some of the others I've come across. You don't get to solely declare what is true and what is not. Illegal immigration is a local issue in the truest sense of the word. For one thing, thousands of illegal immigrants who attain welfare live in this community. Two, You yourself argued with me back on the No on C pages, where you and your cohorts talked about how the state's budget crisis has deprived the local coffers. Therefore, sir, you opened up the precedent, with which I whole-heartedly agree, that our state problem is our local problem. This is a fact. I think you and your type are just afraid that the words I'm using are effective. Believe me, shutting me down here would be like stopping the pressure valve. I will find other, probably far more effective means of political efficacy.

PS: You're speech about what we need to talk about with the collaborative learning, technology and practical learning experiences was broad and sounded like a person trying to distinguish himself as intelligent. I'm sorry if that was too harsh you. Hopefully you won't tell on me.


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