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School District May Consider Parcel Tax

"People need to know we are going to be looking at all options," said Murrieta Valley Unified School District Superintendent Stan Scheer.

A Murrieta Valley Unified School District budget that has been dealt a loss of $139 million in revenue since the beginning of the state budget crisis in 2007 has forced officials to consider other options to keep the district running.

One such option could be a parcel tax, said District Superintendent Stan Scheer following a special board meeting held Thursday, during which Scheer along with school board members were presented a historical and future look at the state of the budget.

The meeting Thursday was the beginning of a series of discussions concerning the 2013-2014 budget, according to Scheer.

"People need to know we are going to be looking at all options," Scheer told Patch. 

"What we are trying to do is talk about how we got here; we still are not done talking about how we got here," he said.

Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Stacy Coleman used a PowerPoint to shed light on the progression that has led to this point--starting with state voter approval of Proposition 98 more than two decades ago.

"Prop 98 was enacted in 1988 to provide a source of adequate and stable resources for education," Coleman said. "...It was supposed to reduce class sizes and put California in the top 10 among states. It was very significant and was really meant to move education forward."

Since then, however, he said there has been "extensive manipulation" of Prop 98 funding that has "distorted" its original purpose.

"The one thing we have struggled with in this economy is stability. We get one number one day, another the next, and another on the third day."

It was in November 2007, he said, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger first announced there was an expected $10 billion shortfall.

Now Gov. Jerry Brown is supporting Proposition 30, an initiative that would increase state sales tax by 25 cents and require high-income earners to pay more in taxes.

If the initiative, which is supported by the California Teachers Association, passes on Nov. 6, it would bring in $6.7 billion a year.

However, Coleman said that in the first year, the governor is proposing to use the money in part to pay off (education) deferrals from 2011-2012. 

"Our funding would remain flat this year," Coleman said.

Additionally, Coleman said the district will receive less revenue this year until the new state funds are released in June 2013. The district in the meantime needs to borrow $55 million to "normalize its cash flow," he said.

"It is costing us $200,000 a year to borrow this money," Coleman said.

To play it safe, he added that the district adopted its budget as if the taxes were not going to pass. The district's 2012-2013 operating budget includes $142.45 million in revenue and $150.34 million in expenditures. 

The gap will be closed by the use of reserve funds, taking the ending fund balance down to $4.1 million, Coleman said—not enough to meet the district's required 3 percent reserve funding.

"This can not be mitigated simply due to further reductions and cuts to expenditures," Coleman said.

District employees, which make up 88 percent of the budget, agreed to an across-the-board 9.66 percent pay cut for this latest fiscal year taken in the way of furlough days.

The last time employees took a raise was in 2007. It was a negotiated 1 percent, according to Coleman.

Though there have been no layoffs since the budget crisis began, Scheer said 30 temporary employees whom are typically brought back each year remained "laid off" for the first time. And when employees have retired, most posts have not been filled.

"Those cubicles we have empty got us until now, that has helped us," Scheer said.

One-time funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 were also what helped carry the district as far as it has been able to survive, officials said.

"The community doesn't know what we have done to tighten our belts," said Board Member Margi Wray. "I think it is really important that we are telling people the one-time money is not there...we don't have any more tricks up our sleeves."

Board Member Robin Crist said there needed to be awareness in the community.

"We can't sugarcoat this any more...let's be honest about it," Crist said.

"The urgency now is that the community is going to start feeling the pain..." she said, alluding to more chairs in classrooms this year due to class size increases.

If the district were to propose a parcel tax on residents, Scheer said that decision would not be made until sometime in the spring.

"We don't want to do anything right now until we know what is going to happen in November," Scheer said. "If the tax initiatives pass, we are going to have a $12.5 million haul; if they don't we are looking at (a shortfall of) $22 to $23 million next year."

Gludenwald August 24, 2012 at 07:32 PM
The district is shrinking, as Mr. Scheer himself stated, both temporary employees have not been rehired and emptying positions are not filled, leaving fewer people to share the workload, as well as having to fit more students into each classroom rather than hiring on more teachers.
The Republican August 24, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Gludenwald I do both ad hominum attacks when necessary and also bash back at your arguments with facts. Deal with it. That site is from the information stone age. I can only imagine how many more administratin positions are needed because of the poorly constructed information systems that the district uses.
Sam Bradstreet August 24, 2012 at 08:01 PM
LOL....Gludenwald, "The Republican" is a pool electrician named Roy Holmgren, or his last ID was the Gorilla. You can look up all you want on him by researching the Riverside Court website, paying one dollar and looking up the name Roy Lee Holmgren. You will find all you need to know about him there. Here is the website that printed Murrieta teacher salaries. http://www.teachersalaryinfo.com/california/teacher-salary-in-murrieta-valley-unified-school-district/
Sam Bradstreet August 24, 2012 at 08:08 PM
So Mr Temecula, how many of your kids are still in school?
Sam Bradstreet August 24, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Let's move away from Deadbeat Murrieta boy to the real questions and get rid of the Tea Party fear tactics. What kind of tax revenue fixes the shortfall per family in Murrieta? Can anyone answer that?
censored messenger August 24, 2012 at 09:42 PM
not one more cent. no more excuses, you deal with what you have. We Taxpayers are done.
elm August 25, 2012 at 01:52 AM
I would just like to point out here that a teaching credential requires more than a college education: the equivalent of a Master's Degree, and most teachers have the Master's Degree anyway. As a credentialed teacher of over 15 years, it is an extremely demanding, highly stressful job. It is highly rewarding for people like me who are passionate about helping students succeed, but I also chuckle that my daughter- who received just her undergraduate degree less than 5 years ago- makes more than me.
elm August 25, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Sam, I totally agree with you regarding the foreclosures resulting in loss of revenue for schools. I also trust the integrity of Stan Scheer. However, I consider myself a fiscal conservative and while I'm not a Tea Party member, I respect the spirit of what they are trying to accomplish in trying to curtail wasteful spending. Overall, wouldn't we accomplish more if we focused on a respectful dialogue?
Maggie Avants (Editor) August 25, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Thank you all for your comments. This is obviously a very touchy subject. Please remember to abide by Patch's Terms of Use http://murrieta.patch.com/terms , which states: "While we encourage people to be honest and post what’s on their mind, communities thrive when people care about each other, and as such, Patch expects all of its users to be respectful of others. This means that whether you are being complimentary or critical, whether you are agreeing or disagreeing with the subject of an article or another user’s comment, you should act in a civil manner and refrain from personal attacks – after all, these are your neighbors." Comments on this thread that do not abide by this have been deleted.
busymom August 25, 2012 at 03:38 AM
I would much prefer a parcel tax that would be spent locally as opposed to the propositions on the November ballot. As we all know, we will not see any of the state money anyway. Remember lottery money was suppose to go to schools...I do not trust the CA government to spend our money wisely. Maybe we could pour another couple million into Facebooks stock and hope for the best! What a joke!
Ryan August 25, 2012 at 05:46 PM
I see Jeff and Roy are back at it again. Personally, I think they are the same person. They've made a mockery and wasteland out of the comments section for any Patch news article. I know Michelle Deskin. Last I worked with her, she was a local biz owner in Temecula. She's done some work for me and I've bumped into her at Murrieta Chamber events. As a fellow biz owner, I respect her opinion, Tea Party freak or not. 911 tax, err, fee, sets a new precendent for other depts to raise funds. The teachers I know aren't getting fat off their salaries or pensions. If a parcel tax, as busy mom suggested, forces the funds to be spent locally, I may support that. But as The Republican (Roy or whatever the heck his name is), I would like to see the audit first. My oldest son attended a local charter school. Now, I don't know their situation, but I never saw any evidence of funds lacking there, AND class sizes seemed more in the 20's range. What are they, and other charter schools, doing differently that MVUSD can't emulate?
elm August 25, 2012 at 09:59 PM
I am a teacher for a local charter school and I can tell you we are definitely hurting. My student load increased by 6 additional students this year- and in order to receive FT benefits I must hope to receive those additional 6 students. None of us have received raises in years and all of us now have furlough days- which don't end up being a true "day off" for me or my students because we are still responsible for the same amount of work regardless. ( I serve independent study students.)
Mickey August 26, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Well when we look at it and the LAST resort is more tax. That means we have a problem. We could just join the bandwagon of some fellow communities and pull out some bonds (Poway) or Murrieta can lead from the front, and have a more capitalistic approach. I understand the many regulations that must be met. But if we can get away from "pleasing" the state for more money all of a sudden we have made the states money irrelevant, charter schools would be a good exp. Not the way I want to go with public schools however its a slightly different model and that I believe is more of the direction we need to go.. More tax = more irresponsibility, you people in"power" must be prudent with our money. Stop attacking each other stick to the discussion!
Kevin Clark August 27, 2012 at 10:24 PM
Mr Bradstreet could you please send us/me the web site in which you discovered the salaries of the teachers in the MUSD? Did they also list a multiplyer? as they did for fire department did? Where each salary is mutiplied by 2.5 or 3 to cover future costs of paying obscene retiements? All they are doing is taking from today to pay tommorrows bills. I personally know a teacher making 85,000 a years for 7 month work and summers off with fake holidays and scheduled fake sick, a retirment system that will pay them for life on the backs of the tax payer. The real issue is resposibilty of which the teachers union is without. Mine! Mine! Mine! like an infant crying to keep its toy. Living within your means is that so bad for you. In this world there are the makers and the takers, the teachers (union) are the takers no better than thieves as far as I'm concerned.
Sam Bradstreet August 27, 2012 at 11:18 PM
LOL.....Kevin, to understand your post we have to learn how old you are? If you look above you will find the website posted.. Please post YOUR INFORMATION...... Yes some teachers at the high end make 85K......BUT HOW MANY HOURS A DAY? Weekends? Seminars and classes in the summer to learn more to teach your children and you think in Southern California that 85K is alot???? If you do think its a lot, well we can figure out the jealousy and hatred for teachers you have. You may need to go back to school to learn some skills so you too can make 85K...WOW...
Paul Diffley August 28, 2012 at 02:11 AM
Just a clarification; local Murrieta school board members receive currently $472 monthly, the amount set by the state of California and based upon the total number of students in the District. That number is prior to taxes and other deductions.
Dana August 28, 2012 at 06:42 AM
I generally try to stay out of the mud slinging that tends to take place in these comment sections. I don't like to be attacked and have better things to do with my time. That said, I am compelled to comment on the post from Kevin. I have been an elementary teacher in MVUSD since 1990. I have NEVER worked a 7 month year! I put in at least 10 hour days and often spend hours over the weekend doing school related work. Today I worked from 8-6:30 and only took a 10 min. lunch break. I spend time over the summer working on lesson plans and reading books/periodicals to keep updated on best teaching practices. I am not complaining. I love my job and the time I spend working with my students and connecting with their families, but I can tell you first hand, teaching is a mentally, physically, and emotionally demanding job. My husband worked in the private sector for years and returned to school to get his teaching credential six years ago. He now has his masters and works in a near by district. Guess what? He works more hours and earns less than he did when he worked in a job not requiring his UCSD education. Like me, he loves his job. There is something gratifying in making a difference in a young person's life. Just don't go telling me I put in a meager work day or year. That is FAR from the truth! I also want to mention that the administration at my school put in even longer hours that I do and sacrifice personal time for the good of our school and students.
Sam Bradstreet August 28, 2012 at 11:15 AM
Dana, it is not you that the crazies of the Tea Party care about. You know that. Their minds race with jealousy that you make money and are UNION!! They HATE, unions. They think that union thugs stand in negotiation sessions with clubs and win you unrealistic contracts that are ripping off taxpayers. They don't look at the jobs you do raising their children. They hate you because you represent Liberal thinking and unions basically favor Democrats. You could work 24 hours a day and they would think your overpaid. Yet....Yet, they are OK with corporation CEO's getting 400 million dollar parachutes and oil companies making hundred of millions in profits off them filling their cars with gas, because they give to Republicans......thats the lunacy of the Tea Paty creeps. DANA, thank you for what you do everyday.
Dana August 28, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Thank you Sam, but there is something I wanted to say above but ran out of words: I am not a Democrat nor do I support my union's views at the state or national level. In fact, I have signed a form preventing any of my union dues from being used for political purposes. (I have no problem with my local union.) My mom and my long time friend are both strong Tea Party supporters and they do not hate me, just big government and financial waste. I happen to agree with them on many points and disagree with them on others. The citizens of Murrieta are fortunate to have an outstanding school district, and from where I stand, I don't see waste locally. I see a district run by dedicated people from the bottom up to the top. I sure hope there is some sort of relief from all the state cuts that have taken place and continue to come down the pike. There is no way around it; our students will suffer.
Kevin Clark August 29, 2012 at 08:54 PM
10 hour days! and 3months on lesson plans! Well all I can say is that there isnt one car left in the parking lot by 4 oclock at the grade school near my house. My post wasn't intended to draw the ire of teachers specifally (Dana) more the union, but you and your husband will be the direct recipients of its actions. Like them or not. So let me ask you Dana, at some point you and your husband will decide not to work anymore? And lets say you currently make 80,000 a "school year", probable for your years in the system, appropriate or not is not the primary issue. The real issue is should you get paid twice or three times for your the work you do today? Well, the tax payers are on the hook to pay you again and again when your not working, So lets say with your years in you retire at 80 % of your salary that would be approximately $64,000.00 a year for life, your husband would probably be similarly situated so theres another $64,000.00 a year for life. When I get paid they take money OUT of my check for TAXES, then they money OUT of my check for SSI, and then they take money OUT for my 401K ( Retirement). Have you ever had money taken OUT of your check for retiement !? Was SSI ever taken OUT of your check!? The answer is no because they use mine and yours and everybodies taxes to fund that broken system. So in actuality you will be getting paid twice if not more for todays work. Postponing getting paid is still getting paid. Sam, I have a J.D. degree try analysis not name calling.
Gludenwald August 29, 2012 at 09:00 PM
I dont know what parking lot you are looking at, but you are wrong, as a matter of simple fact, there must at least be the night custodians on campus every school day.
AmericanMom August 29, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Here we go again. Hot button. You don't live in Murrieta, so I agree with others, go play in your own yard. As for teachers. I WAS one. Let me tell you. Yes, the pay is on the lower side, INITIALLY. However, with the perks and let's face it, lots of vacation time, along with the golden parachute of an INCREDIBLE pension - what a way to go! With my college degree, I am lucky to make the 62k a year as I am self employed and pay through the nose taxes. I have a self funded retirement (when I have the luck to add to it). I will not get the fat pension most will receive as a gov worker. I have the ability to create jobs, having the guts to get out there everyday creating my destiny. However, I see from your comments above, that I better not work too terribly hard and prosper, because you'll want me to give up what I have worked so hard for, dare I make the 250k a year. I don't have the luxury of a pension - why is it I will be penalized if I work really, really hard and make more money AND have to fund my own retirement? And, why is it okay that a firefighter chief make 250K a year (all W2 wages, along with a fat retirement fund), but I can't... My dad was wrong when he pointed out that I was choosing a career in the wrong field (teaching). If I would have continued... I would be able to spend money without having to worry about my retirement or really saving money, for that matter. The golden parachute has gov worker's backs by breaking ours, the taxpayers.
AmericanMom August 29, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Finally. Kevin is 100% correct! Thank you!
elm August 29, 2012 at 11:59 PM
My car isn't in the parking lot because I have taken my work HOME... usually with a rolling cart or two. I work seven literal days a week; I worked for free over the summer writing courses for struggling students- unpaid. I am 9 credits short of a Master's degree and have been in my current position for 4 years. I love my job, but I consider my compensation pretty cheap labor considering the time and educational requirements.
elm August 30, 2012 at 12:01 AM
btw, my pay averages 50k annually.
Sam Bradstreet August 30, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Here's the deal Dana....during Bush's eight years of destroying the economy...where were your Mom and best friend? Silent. If Romney were elected, where would they be....silent. If a black man, who was destined to paint the White House black, hire black panthers to collect people's guns.....so on and so on.....your Mom and best friend think he is the devil. So, the country elected Tea Party house reps......where are the jobs?? where is the economic growth......their plan, the only one they have is to destroy medicare and social security..... Kevin.....I don't give a flying f how many degrees you have...I also have a degree, but also 25 years in the business world. The public sector jobs are not destroying the world..........there is NO DEMAND, for products and services. No ones buying homes......cars.....so all the services that go along with that have what people??? No demand! Two things killed the economy. The Bush tax cuts and two wars. Not teachers, policemen and firemen. Grow up everyone and stop blaming your neighbors for having jobs that have modest salaries and benefits. They aren't breaking the bank. But lets look at the jobs you have and see the benefit to the economy. We should be rebuilding our roads and bridges....our water system and electrical grid.....not complaining without having a clue. Stop watching Fox News....realize they have an agenda and its not to inform you of the truth.
Murrieta Teacher August 30, 2012 at 03:08 AM
My teeth hurt from clenching my jaw reading all the misinformation being passed on as facts by the teacher and union bashers on this comment section. Mr. Clark erroneously states that teachers pay nothing for their retirement. Please fact check before you post inflammatory information. Teachers pay 8% directly out of their paychecks and the district matches that. Teachers do not pay Into social security. By contrast, people making social security deductions pay 7.65% and employers match. So Mr. Clark, you pay less into your retirement than teachers. You can just make a check out to the Social Security Administration to catch you up to what teachers pay.
Proud Murrieta Teacher August 30, 2012 at 04:02 AM
Kevin, you are incorrect in many of your statements. I am currently a teacher in MVUSD, but also worked for 20 years in the private sector before I became a teacher. I understand both the differences and similarities between the private and public sectors. I have my pay stub in front of me as I type this. First, teachers do pay their fair share of their own retirement. Teachers in Murrieta pay 8% of their gross pay into STRS. This is quite similar to what you pay into Social Security. MVUSD also pays approximately 8% into my retirement, very similar to what your employer pays for you into Social Security. We also pay 1.4% into Medicaid which I believe is probably the same exact amount you pay. The main difference between us is that I will be "dinged" $345 a month from my Social Security retirement benefits when I retire because I became a teacher. I believe that your 401K is a vountary contribution you make into a private plan but please correct me if I am wrong. Teachers have a similar plan (403b plan). Again, the contribution is up to the individual, not the school district or the public. The comical part is that people blame the teachers for receiving 100% fully paid retirements when teachers are about the only MVUSD employees contributing to their retirement plans. In fact, almost everybody except teachers and principals in MVUSD receive the 100% fully paid retirement that you refer to in your comments. Lay off the teachers and go after the real offenders.
Kevin Clark August 30, 2012 at 04:22 PM
So in your mind "Fair share" of retirement is 8%!!? I'll have to diagree again, not that you pay 8% but, unlike you when I recieve SSI it will be approximately 2,100.00 a month or 25,200 a year. Teachers on the other hand will be paid percentage of your final salary for rest of your life with paid or partially paid health benefits for contributing 8%.?! Well, your total contribution for over the 20 years as a employee will be approximately 136,000. So using that amount for your retirement, all of that money will be consumed by you in less than 3 years. Where is the rest going to come from?? TAXES TAXES TAXES. As for the other other 8% contributed by "the school district" that was our TAX money to start with anyway and even if you count that additional 8% you would be broke in 6 years or less. California is broke and the public unions are not willing to talk to you about changing anything. They would rather leave the staus quo and TAX the rest of us your benefit. Which I find to be obscene The article in the Californian on Wednesday page A3 by the associated press says it all, "the proposal fails to address the long term costs of the state pension liabilities for 200,000 employees" . How do you address paying retiement to 200,00 people when they all only contributed 8%. Lets start on health benifits my plan cost me 1,200.00 a month, how much do you pay for your health benfits 5% ,10% ,20% ??
MeMeMe September 28, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Why not an audit at the local level?? Will a local audit show what the Superintendent makes? A recent post shows that the Deputy makes $140-$150K. That's a ton for semi-rural Murrieta; especially in these times. Word is the district is getting ready to blow more millions on some new CNG buses with around $1 million going towards a new CNG fueling station. Why not cancel that plan and put the funds toward what we are needing in our existing budget?? In fact, I bet we could contract out or, team up with another school district our entire busing program as it appears to be wasting millions all by itself. Bring on the audit and let's see what we are wasting on fat salaries and waste (running buses for the few just so the "machine" can keep running is not any sign of efficiency). I'm sure we can cut millions in unnecessary salaries (let the Deputy Super move up and keep his pay at the same level and don't back fill, that will save over $200K alone). Also, what will a local audit show regarding pensions including the Super who only worked for Murrieta 6 years. What kind of California tax payer paid pension is he taking to Colorado?? I can tell you if it was a private 401K plan, you would be lucky to be getting a minority match on only up to 3% of what you contributed. So, if you contributed 4%, you would only get a match of .12% (that's .0012) of what you paid, and if you had left a little over a year ago you would have got zip.

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