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Layoffs Cautioned by Murrieta Valley Unified

Due to a $19-million projected shortfall, the district may need to downsize by as many as 66 full-time teaching positions and a yet unknown number of support positions.

As many as 66 full-time teaching positions are vulnerable to layoffs in the Murrieta Valley Unified School District as part of a worst-case scenario, an official said Thursday.

The district is predicting a for next school year on a budget crafted without Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed tax increases, and has a March 15 deadline by law to file the notices.

"It is very likely some of our teachers are going to get noticed at least preliminarily that they may be at risk for layoff," Assistant Superintendent Pat Kelley told members of the school board.

Thirty temporary teachers have already been released, Kelley said, based on the board's actions at its last meeting.

"In past years we have been very successful in bringing back several of our temporary employees and that will continue to be the goal," Kelley said.

He said it was also important to note that the number given for potential teacher layoffs reflected full-time equivalent teaching positions.

"This does not mean necessarily 66 people would be laid off...but (may be) removed through attrition spots that have been achieved already. That is some of the good news."

Thirty-five certificated employees, two management and 26 classified have chosen to accept an early retirement incentive, and the district is considering reopening that window. The incentive has the potential to save the district $3 million, Kelley said.

The district is also preparing for a 9.66-percent projected pay reduction for the school board, senior management, management and support positions such as counselors, psychologists and speech therapists.

A classified layoff of support workers could also take place in April or May, Kelley said.

"These are all upcoming potential actions that we might see," Kelley said. "I want to express strongly that there is a lot of diligent work that is going on behind the scenes (with the labor unions)."

In addition, there are contingency plans that teacher to student ratios could increase to 32 to 1 at the elementary level and up to 34 to 1 in the core subjects at middle school and high school.

"That is not the goal. We do not want that to happen. But the challenge of a $20-million hole puts us in a position to at least be planning in those directions," Kelley said.

Should the class sizes increase, Kelley said the district may need to decide on whether to shave off three student days this year in order for staff to make preparations. It could also mean losing as many as 10 student days in the 2012-2013 school year, he said.

Kelley cautioned that the financial news about education coming out of Sacramento was volatile, and will likely change with the governor's May budget, again in June and August and potentially in November.

"We need to position ourselves in a way we are not backed into a corner," Kelley said.

Superintendent Dr. Stan Scheer said the district must turn in a budget not reliant on what-ifs.

"The county has been very clear to us that when we submit our budget for next year it has to be a budget that doesn't have placeholders, that has actual things you can do to balance that budget," Scheer said. "So at least for now unless we hear differently that's what we are doing in preparation for that is making sure things we have built into that budget is for that worst case."

Scheer said base funding per student has in six years decreased from $6,300 to $5,100 per year, and may drop to $4,700 next year.

"We have had this situation for the last five years and the state has been very very slow to look at solutions...all they've done is talked about the problem...it is such a distraction, incredible distraction," Scheer said.

Board member Kris Thomasian "condemned" the state Legislature.

"...For putting school districts and our students and our staff all across this state in this terrible situation," Thomasian said.

"Parents and families and community members need to know what's happening. This is real. This is devastating to our education community," she said.

"I say to the governor and the Legislature, shame," said Board President Paul Diffley.

TMI February 24, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Excellent, the schools will now teach less than 180 days long, spread across roughly ten months. While doing so, they will happily accept any inter district transfers to try to get more money, knowing that doing so will bring more illegal aliens, who choose not to speak english at home, and drop standards hoping to be reclassified in a lower education bracket. All to get more government funds. How about do what's right for the kids, instead of trying to solve everything with political correctness. Haven't we figured out that this system is an example of political correctness gone wrong..
Calimama February 24, 2012 at 05:10 PM
How about we cut entitlements before we start cutting the education budget?
Rob February 24, 2012 at 06:10 PM
This is all a set-up to gain support for liberal led tax increases, rather than budget cuts that focus on UNIONS!!! 2 years for tenure, fully funded pensions and benes, etc. etc. Ait time pension purchases. Teacher, like cops and other agencies are breaking the tac payers back. The liberal madness sees Cali allowing the illegal alien invasion to cripple the economy and social safety net (we have 12% of the population and 33% of the nation's welfare). Today, cities like Vallejo have 3 police forces, one working and two on pensions. Murrieta is NO DIFFERENT!!!!!!! 35% of ALL employees earn over $100,000/K. Once again the left will hold up placards with our children, DEMANDING we pay more in taxes to educate them. 1) They are not doing their job... look at the scores! 2) The money does not go to kids, it goes to TEACHERS/MANAGEMENT! (Go to youtube and watch Waiting For Superman or Stupid In America). 3) The left have replaced basic education with agenda driven rhetoric. 4 Even if you do not believe a single word of this post, the residents of California are the highest taxed in the union. It is driving business and people out of the State. Another increase will CRIPPLE the economy. Get the facts on what is really going on and you will VOTE NO to Gov Clowns tax increases as you will see every penny goes to UNIONS and illegals, not our kids! http://pensiontsunami.com/
Lisa February 24, 2012 at 06:41 PM
I don't really think that the illegal alien comment is necessary. I agree that there is a problem, but illegals are not the issue here. You sound very racist in your comment. Sorry...
Rob February 24, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Lisa - Why is calling out illegal aliens racist?
Gludenwald February 24, 2012 at 10:13 PM
So...You've got a source on the mvusd 35% claim then? Mind sharing it? You're poor spelling and grammar skills leave me in doubt that you have put any original thought into your claims and instead are regurgitating something you heard on the radio or tv.
Rob February 24, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Gludenwald Spelling/Grammar - I took both your comment and my own and downloaded into Microsoft Word. I ran a Grammar/spelling check. The results are as follows: In your 46 word comment you had the following errors/scores: “…” further the sentence is improperly constructed. “mvusd” – It should be capitalized. “you’re” correctly presented is “your” “tv” It should be “TV” Flesch Reading Ease result – 66.2% Flesch-Kincaid reading level – grade level 7.8 In my 244 word comment the following errors/scores were found/established: “benes” – Not recognized. Should be benefits (though the verbiage is commonly accepted in casual conversation). “ait” – Should be “air” “tac” – Should be “tax” Flesch Reading Ease result – 56.6% Flesch-Kincaid reading level – grade level 8.9 I leave it for you, and the other readers, to judge the results.
Ed P. February 24, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Yes California is broke but it's Moonbeam Brown that is making the choice to cut the money from schools.......all in his attempt to raise our already highest taxes in the nation.
Rob February 25, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Ed. P: I agree 100%
Rob February 25, 2012 at 02:47 AM
If supported by facts, it is nothing more than a statement. If not, given illegal aliens arrive from many counties and speak multiple languages, the person may better described as xenophobic. I have done no hard study research on the learning of the national tongue, nor in the assimilation into the American cultural norms, but my anecdotal observations do, in part, support the statement made. Bi-lingual education is taught. Government documents must be supplied in foreign languages, hospitals must have translators, etc. I have also noted San Diego has large areas where only Spanish is spoken. Further, the public positions of those in DC indicate learning English is a core requirement for those entering the Country. This leads me to believe learning the language is a real issue.
Janet February 25, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Yes. Please do look at the scores. Murrieta has some of the highest scores in the state, highest graduation rates, highest extra curricular achievements, highest SAT scores, highest acceptance rate for college. Please do take a good look at how our district is doing. How well they handle the budget. How the scores continue to go up while the teacher pay goes down. How the parents continue to stay plugged in to a partnership with the schools. Yes, get the facts not the hype.
Sue February 25, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Rob, Apparently you have been listening to John and Ken too much. I've been a teacher for 17 years in Murrieta and don't make close to 100k even though I have a masters degree. I also don't have a paid pension. I have to pay into my pension (50%) and benefits, not to mention mandatory union dues, and disability insurance. When I retire, I'm looking at moving out of state because I won't be able to afford living in this one. My mortgage is upside down by about 100K, so for now I'm stuck paying a huge mortgage payment as well. My students are highly educated. School API scores have gone up every year and are WELL ABOVE state standards. By the way, California standards are much higher than most of the rest of the country, even though we have many students who are earning English as a second language. YET...the scored continue to rise. I've seen my classroom budget pretty much obliterated, so I either pay for supplies out of pocket (which I really can't afford) or I beg for donations from parents who can't afford it either. I often feed kids from my own lunch, brush their hair, and find donated clothes and shoes for them. I agree that money should be spend differently, and there are plenty of ways that can be done without taking it from the teachers or their classrooms.
Sue February 25, 2012 at 11:26 PM
... Don't even start about the short work hours and vacation time. How many people do you know who spend all the time off working? That's what I do. Every evening, weekends, and yes, even summers. You have no idea what you are talking about. I suggest you spend some time in your child's classroom volunteering your time so you can see how it really is. Or perhaps helping him/her with homework.
Chris February 27, 2012 at 05:04 PM
@Lisa -- Not commenting on the substance of TMI's statement, but wanted to point out to you that immigration status and nationality have nothing to do with race or racism—'illegal alien' is not a race, it's simply an immigration status (or lack thereof).
Chris February 27, 2012 at 05:14 PM
People really need to lay off the 'racist' allegations, or at bare minimum learn what the term means. A racist is someone who believes one human race is superior to any or all others. Immigration status has nothing to do with race, nor does making assumptions that illegal aliens are or are not willing to learn English. These statements may or may not be factual or correct, but they have absolutely nothing to do with race or racism. Put the card away for a change, people.
Gludenwald February 27, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Argumentum ad hominem is the phrase of the day! In your self-audit you seemed to ignore the many random capitalizations, excessive use of exclamation marks, the extra etc and so on. I can also remove an error from my side of the equation as the ellipsis after "So" is used in proper grammatical context in place of the word "then" to create a more expressive tone. A more thorough accounting reveals no fewer than 34 errors of spelling, grammar and style in your original post, presenting an overall error rate that is twice that of my own blurb. "Then did Tilius say to the people of the low plains: seek not the wickedness amongst your neighbors, lest it find purchase in your own house." --Origin

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