|TVEA Budget Article Jan. 20|
|Wednesday, January 20 2010|
The time has come to talk about a very difficult topic. As we all know, the State of California is in the midst of a deep financial crisis. We in education have had to make do with less and less each year. We try not to let this affect our classrooms but this time it’s different.
What is the extent of the problem in Temecula? For 2009-2010, revenue (money coming in) is expected to be approximately $198,000,000. Expenditures (money going out) are currently projected to be $222,000,000. A simple subtraction shows how deep the problem is. Now, these numbers are not fixed and may change a little depending on the State, the Governor or the Feds, but one can see that the deficit is severe.
What choices do we have? We can either increase revenue or decrease our expenses. With a budget that is 87% staffing (this is TVEA, CSEA and Administration combined), very little of the budget is non- people related. We have and will continue to look for non-people related cuts to the budget. There appears to be no new money coming in. Last year, the Federal Stimulus money helped patch the deficit. This year, there are no Federal Stimulus dollars to date. So, again, what choices do we have? We need to cut expenses.
The choices we have also depend on the negotiations process. The negotiations process is governed by the EERA (Educational Employment Relations Act) which dictates the steps that must be followed during negotiations. Summarizing what happens is that the District and TVEA agree to start the bargaining process. We trade proposals back and forth trying to reach an agreement. At some point either side may get stuck. The District has the right then to say that their last offer on the table is their “last, best and final” offer. If an agreement cannot be reached, either side may declare impasse. Mediation follows and if still no agreement, then fact finding. The result of fact finding determines which side prevails. Unfortunately though, fact finding is not binding. At this point, the District can unilaterally impose its last, best and final offer. TVEA’s only option after imposition would be to move for a strike vote. Under the current circumstances, there is no way anyone would vote to strike nor would we want to.
Capistrano School District negotiated for less than 9 hours before they declared impasse. It is quite obvious why they rushed the process. It is also quite clear that school districts across the state do not have adequate funds. TVUSD is not hiding any money. We have checked. Further, last night at the School Board meeting, the independent auditor verified and agreed with the District’s accounting.
What can we do? Let’s look at some important facts first:
1 furlough day saves $840,000 (this is for all district employees). 3 furlough days save $2,520,000. 5 days $4,200,000 and 10 days $8,400,000. The maximum number of furlough days possible is 10 days (3 staff development, 2 teacher prep and 5 student days). Each furlough day is equivalent to a ½ % reduction in salary. Furlough days can be easily restored on a day by day basis and are equitable across all employees in the district.
How could this affect you personally? Let’s look at a sample calculation:
Teacher X makes approximately $70,000 annually. Her monthly income is $5833.33 before taxes. If she were to agree to say, 10 furlough days, her salary would be decreased by 5% (and work two weeks less each year). The maximum monthly impact for her would be a $291.66 reduction in her salary (before taxes). You can calculate this yourself by taking your annual salary, multiplying by the percent (1/2 % for each day) and then dividing by 12 to figure out the possible monthly reduction. This has NOT been agreed upon---it is only an example.
Other options include a straight salary reduction or a step freeze. A straight reduction is obviously not an attractive option. Who wants to make less money but work the same amount of time? A step freeze cannot be restored and has a long term cumulative negative effect on retirement.
Where else can we find money? The elephant in the room is class size. Let me be perfectly clear. NO ONE wants to lose class size reduction. NO ONE believes larger classes are better for kids. BUT if we don’t increase class sizes, we will lose many, many teachers. NO ONE wants this to happen.
So, how then are class sizes, money and people inter-related? At the elementary level, it is quite clear in the following chart:
*The budget impact is somewhat confusing to calculate as it depends on the penalty incurred as you reach different class sizes and the amount of funding the District receives from the state.
*The impact is based on a teaching salary of $75,000 (including benefits). Grades 4-5 do not receive class size reduction funding.
In middle and high school, staffing is based on staffing ratios. Basically, they take the number of students and divide by a certain number of staff. It is then up to the middle and high schools to determine how to place their staff. They are given a total number of FTEs (full time equivalent positions) and the site determines how to divvy them up. With less FTEs, there would have to be major programmatic changes.
*Again this is assuming an average salary of $75,000 (including benefits).If we choose to do nothing whatsoever, the choice will be imposed on us.
Similar to last year, any negotiated proposal will be voted upon by you, the member. Any negotiated proposal will also include restoration language and will be limited in duration.
On January 20th TVEA, CSEA and TVUSD will meet again to talk frankly and collaboratively and look at different options. Negotiations and more information will be forthcoming.I have no doubt that we can make it through this budget storm. I have no doubt that standing together during this time is what will define us for our future. I have no doubt that we can make decisions that are based on reason and compassion and not fear.
I will be visiting each and every school over the next few weeks. Your TVEA site rep will notify you of my upcoming visit.
Please feel free to share me your input, suggestions or comments. I look forward to hearing from you.