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Raise Your Hand

What can parents do to fight school budget cuts?

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zzzz1z March 30, 2010

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Parents should support the superintendent and fight the greed of the union. Unfortunately the budget crunch has affected all public employees and the salary heavy school system shouldn't be an exception. The fact is parents and good teachers should take this opportunity to fix all the problems with this greedy system. Every time money is given to the school system the children are the last to see anything positive. As public employees, teachers have been guaranteed at minimum a 5% increase in salary per year until they reach the maximum salary cap, note: there really isn't a cap because they generally continue to get cost of living increases beyond the cap. In addition to the 5% per year they also get any negotiated raise, normally a combination of salary increase and benefit package coverage, and so the annual salary increase even in this environment is normally 8% and up. Often Districts give the teachers/union an opportunity to avoid any layoffs by asking teachers to accept less than the full additional salary increase above the guaranteed 5% to help the District save the job of a fellow teacher. Most if not all the time the teachers, based on their unions position, refuse to give in at all. Teachers sacrifice their fellow teachers to avoid any reduction in their benefit package and/or salary, they eat their own, piranha action. Teachers' benefit package normally includes the PREMIUM health program, retirement, plus other benefits. Teachers' salaries usually vary per District and are based on approximately 170 work days recognizing that early release days count as a day worked if the children are released, I believe, after 1 p.m., which seems to happen all to often. As most or any public employee, teachers' pay/salaries start out at the lower end of the teachers' pay scale and then they get the 5% increase every year until they hit the maximum annual pay/salary, although as mentioned there really isn't a max. Some of the local Districts grade schools have pay/salary scales with a maximum of around $80,000 or approximately $60 per hour and their benefits package is in addition to the $60 per hour. Pay/salaries increase for teachers in high school. Considering a teachers' benefit package in addition to their salary I think they are receiving or making a pretty good wage. It cannot keep going up especially in this environment.
Any additional money into the system may maintain the status quo but does not necessarily help the students because the system still protects the poor teachers as well as the good ones. Additional money will first go toward the annual increases in pay/salaries and benefits for the tenured teachers and then it will go toward retaining the least seniority teachers, who are often the more motivated and more desirable teacher.
The system is at such an advanced stage of corruption that it cannot be fixed. The union has a strangle hold on the school system, as with most government systems, and would/will bleed the/a community dry before giving in or giving up anything. Another problem is the school system is top heavy and should be consolidated/unified. There shouldn't be multiple superintendents in a district and what does a county superintendent making approximately $140,000 per year do-- nothing but control money flow. The co. sup. should be eliminated or as mentioned the county should be unified under the one sup.
The school system, as any government operation, is just a pyramid and the more people under your supervision the more control you have and, of course, the more pay/salary. And you have substantial power to control who moves up the ranks and pyramid builds. This is common in government and the result is the current top heavy government we have in CA, inclusive of the school system.
Washington's solution for change is to rip apart the old system and rebuild/replace it. WELL that is what is necessary with the CA government inclusive of the school system.


abbyphelps March 30, 2010

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As being a seasoned and nationally recognized Educational Advocate, I recommend that the following measures be taken:
First, contact your district financial manager. Put your concerns in writing utilizing a clear and precise formula. ex. Statement of Concern, Impact on student population, achievement and project outcomes in which such drastic measures would affect. these areas negatively and directly.
Secondly, Organize a community call to action summit inclusive of parents, community representatives, school faculty, PTA members etc. be sure to send special invites at least two weeks prior to designated financial manager and his/her appointed designees. Be diplomatic and be firm with your presenation. Get the data ahead of time. Present the facts.
Thirdly, Utilize Consensus. Involve all designated parties inclusive. This will allow moderation and posture as it relates to what is needful, what is secondary.
Fouth, Do initial follow ups Keep your documents on file. Review, Preview and Monitor If need be and necessary, write proposals and support letters of fiscal integrity. If you need further assistance contact ..
The Esquire Abby Phelps
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MFApr4ppl March 29, 2010

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So many schools have stockpiles of surplus assets taking up valuable warehouse space, that could be bringing in revenue for the schools. While many school districts are supposed to have a staff member in charge of auctioning off surplus, many of these positions are overloaded with other jobs to do and so the surplus inventory piles up.

Interschola is a company that helps schools sell their surplus goods through eBay. See this video to learn how the San Jose Unified School Districts saved hundreds of thousands of dollars -

Is your school district maximizing their surplus inventory?


MotherUnit March 29, 2010

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My child's middle school has a GreatSchools Rating of 10, and donations are at an all-time low. Motivating parents who feel economic hardship is something that the school is struggling with.

How do we get parents involved?

Any creative ideas for fundraising outside of the usual corporate matches, business alliances, and magazine sales?


MagnetMom March 25, 2010

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Parents can fight on two fronts:

First, speak out at school board meetings and write to their school board members. Make it clear what you want and bring a posse with you. More people get noticed more. Be respectful with how you treat the officials. They would probably want to make everyone happy, but literally everyone is suffering during this budget crisis.

Secondly, schools can raise money at their school sites and protect positions and programs that are important to them. Some schools might not want to see art programs cut, and might choose to subsidize the cost of an art teacher. Or if having teacher's aides in each room is important, they will pay for the aides.

The reality is that most schools in my area do both.

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