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Props 30, 38 Examined During District Budget Workshop

Roughly 100 people—many of them teachers—turned out to hear the state of Murrieta Valley Unified's budget that, according to administrators, may get worse if statewide voter Proposition 30 does not pass in November.

Murrieta teacher Lisa Amstutz is already planning a drastic cut to her family budget come December.

“I’m really anxious, I am already losing sleep over it,” Amstutz said, following a budget workshop held Thursday by the Murrieta Valley Unified School District.

Roughly 100 people—many of them teachers—turned out to hear the state of the district’s budget that, according to administrators, may get worse if statewide voter Proposition 30 does not pass in November.

“We don’t live extravagantly; we drive an 8-year-old car and a 6-year-old car,” Amstutz said, noting that her husband who also teaches in the district has received pink slips the last three of six years.

That is about when the district starting facing a loss of revenue from the state, Assistant Superintendent Stacy Coleman told those in attendance.

Since 2007, the district has lost $139 million in revenue and made $105 million in cost-saving measures, he said.

“It is like they took a whole fiscal year out of the last five years, that is how drastic the cuts have been,” Coleman said.

Superintendent Pat Kelley, who had encouraged the public to attend the workshop and is hosting a series of community forums, said further cuts have the potential to affect the caliber of education that brought many families to Murrieta.

“That quality of education that brought us here is under attack,” Kelley said, noting the district will have spent down all of its reserves by the end of 2012 and used all of its one-time fund mechanisms.

The district is facing an $11 million shortfall for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, administrators said, which is expected to increase to $21 million should Prop 30 not pass in November.

This is because there are mid-year triggers—should Prop 30 not pass—built in at the state level that for the district would mean the loss of $10 million in the current fiscal year and next, district officials said.

Prop 30 vs. 38

While both are geared to help education, they would affect the district in very different ways, administrators said.

Prop 38, endorsed by the California PTA, is a tax increase of .4 percent for the lowest income earners and up to 2.2 percent for those who earn more than $2.5 million a year. It would send approximately $1,000 per student to each school site for the next 12 years.

Prop 30, endorsed by the California Teachers Association, is a state constitutional amendment that calls for 1/4-cent statewide sales tax increase and a 1- to 3-percent income tax increase on those who earn more than $250,000 a year.

If both propositions pass in November, the one with the greater amount of votes goes into effect.

If that is Prop 38, Coleman said the district’s general fund would not see any relief.

If Prop 30 passes, it means the district will not be dealt the additional $10 million per year blow, he said.

The district has not taken a formal stance on either proposition, and Coleman said it was not his intention to persuade voters.

The Murrieta Teachers Association, however, was not shy about which proposition it supports.

Kathy Ericson, president of the Murrieta Teachers Association, said Prop 38 was well intended but it does not stop the cuts from hitting the district’s pocketbook.

The mid-year cuts would trigger an additional six days taken off this school year—from 175 to 169—according to the teacher’s union agreement with the district, she said.

Teachers would face additional days bringing the total to nine furloughs, Ericson said.

“If prop 30 doesn’t pass, those cuts by law are automatic,” Ericson said. “So Prop 30 is the only one that can keep us from facing that $21 million shortfall."

Ericson said it is believed Prop 38 can not be used to keep teachers employed or hire new ones in order to reduce class sizes back to previous levels.

"With Prop 38 there are limits. It was well intended, but we are in the business of educating kids and it takes teachers and support staff to be able to do that."

Preparing for More Cuts

The district has cut in all possible areas, Coleman said.

Ongoing budget cuts, he said, include increased class sizes, fewer days in the school year, early retirement incentives, not replacing vacant positions, department and school site budget reductions, sweeping of flexible program funds, installing solar panels, and utilizing reserve funds.

Coleman shared a list of what other districts have done or are considering due to further revenue reductions and shortfalls. These include: fewer school days, increased class sizes, cutting extracurricular activities, cutting programs, cutting busing, closing schools, layoffs or a parcel tax on residents.

Board member Margi Wray said the community—through a process yet to be established—will be asked for their input on potential cuts.

Board member Kris Thomasian said the savings from each furlough day—$635,000—can not make up the potential gap in funding.

Kelley said though it was not a subject he wanted to broach at his first board meeting as superintendent, it was necessary.

Key dates, district officials said, are the Nov. 6 election and January, when the governor is expected to released his budget proposal for next fiscal year.

“We do not have to decide what these cuts are today,” Kelley said. “But we must keep our community informed.”

The Republican October 12, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Let's be real! Has anyone read these propositions? Look at the actual wording of 30 here: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/vig-public-display/110612-general-election/prop-30/prop-30-text.pdf I encourage you to read them and try to understand them. . Based on the convoluted language it is IMPOSSIBLE to determine if the money is earmarked for the schools. Brown and the legislature has given us a false choice and a trigger that suits their purpose to promote this tax increase. School budgets DO NOT have to be cut. There are other choices. We could remove able bodied workers from the welfare rolls. Or we could screen out illegal Aliens who receive public assistance. Targeting our children instead of targeting adults for cuts is wrong. Even if it comes down to budget cuts the schools do have wiggle room.... 87% of school budgets go to salaries and pensions. Can anyone name another organization where this percentage is so high? This is budgetary insanity at the expense of funding that should be in the classroom. The whole premise is flawed and I encourage everyone to vote NO on 30 and 38. Send Brown and Co a message. We will not tolerate this manipulation!
Honest! October 13, 2012 at 12:42 AM
If PROP 30 does not pass it will affect our children in the K-12 systems, Community Colleges, CSU and UC systems!
Honest! October 13, 2012 at 12:48 AM
How are other choices going to help our schools during mid year cuts? "To remove able bodied workers from the welfare rolls. Or we could screen out illegal Aliens who receive public assistance will not help," as you stated will NOT HELP NOW!! Get real the cuts will happen if PROP 30 does not pass and our children will be the one's who suffer!!!
The Republican October 13, 2012 at 01:08 AM
"Honest!" Your assertion is a bunch of bullcrap.It is just Jerry Brown and Teacher's Union fear mongering. Jerry Brown targeted schools instead of targeting other areas for cuts. He says they are automatic but there is no budgetary item that cannot be changed. Brown and the legislature could easily get together and choose to cut from other areas of the budget. Instead they are using the threats of cuts to our kids as a scare tactic to influence voters. No where in 30 or 38 is there legal language guaranteeing money for schools.Both propositions are so convoluted and legally conflicting that they should be voted down for the mere fact that they cannot be understood. Even if the schools do take cuts I expect both administrators and teachers to step up and reduce the 87% share of the budget that they presently consume so that more money reaches students where it belongs.
Skeptic October 13, 2012 at 01:43 AM
No more tax increases in CA!
Honest! October 13, 2012 at 02:07 AM
These are not scare tactics! Don’t be fooled! Colleges are currently preparing for mid-years cuts…local community colleges (i.e. Palomar, San Diego C.C, RCC, MSJC) are preparing to cut over 200 to 300 sections if PROP 30 does not pass! Now each section can hold 25 to 45 students depending on the class. Let’s say we cut 250 sections at 30 students in each section. This will leave 7,500 students who are unable to register for the class. Many of these students need the courses to move towards graduation or to transfer! Also, Cal State Fullerton is planning on wait listing students who apply for fall 2013 academic year. They do not know how many students they will accept until they learn how the cuts will affect them! The K-12 system in Murrieta was cut last year. And now they are looking into cutting additional school days!! Our children should not suffer!!!
The Republican October 13, 2012 at 06:47 AM
You are right Honest the kids should not suffer. So if the cuts do come from K-12 education let's make sure that all those dead weight administrators get the boot. Let's also ask teachers and staff to take cuts so that the do not eat up 87% of the school funding. I challenge anyone to find another organization where staff takes up such a large part of financial resources.. As far as colleges and community colleges go their graduation rates are so low that it would be very simple to raise standards and weed out those that are most likely to not finish anyway. There are too many college spots already for people that never get past their freshman year. Don't tell me there are not room for efficient cuts. Schools are full of pork when looked at from the outside. Those of you on the inside just want to protect the inefficient status quo and your jobs that you view as protected for life even if you are dead weight or a poor teacher. We want reforms not tax increases. And to top it all off California teachers are the highest paid in the nation but produce students that rank 47th out of 50 states. They should be ashamed of the malfunctioning system and should push to reform it instead of pushing higher taxes to continue it.
Larry Bird October 13, 2012 at 08:30 AM
To Republican- you really are an idiot. You spout out way too many vague assumptions on every post. Just because you have something to say about EVERYTHING doesn't make you smart or right. You act like a little kid who has to get the last word in on everything and it makes you look like a sad lonely guy looking for someone to listen to you for company. Get a life!
The Republican October 13, 2012 at 03:58 PM
And what was YOUR point on the issue Larry? I am laughing pretty hard at your "vague " comment as well as your stupid assumption about my life. My facts were solid as were my percentage numbers.
Honest! October 13, 2012 at 07:30 PM
The Republican- Administrators, faculty and staff in the K-12, community college, CSU and UC systems have all endured pay cuts this past year.
Skeptic October 13, 2012 at 09:30 PM
The cuts should happen to re-tool the State's educational system and make it more cost effective and efficient....this is especially true at the UC level where there is serious waste!
The Republican October 13, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Seriously Honest? We currently have the highest paid teachers in the nation producing students that rank 47 out of 50 states. We have administrators by the thousands if not tens of thousands pulling down 200k 300k and 400k salaries but their salaries have been cut enough?...Give me a break ! What asinine reality do you live in? The absurd administrative salaries are the result of over 40 years of Libtard Democrap legislative rule. Now they want us to pay higher taxes because they supported such largesse? I don't think so!
Honest! October 14, 2012 at 12:50 AM
There are other states that pay their teachers, staff and admin higher wages and especially now that our education system has already taken a hit. Schools have moved into furloughs by cutting school days. We have adults returning back to school to focus on a new career and/or updating their education to move up the corporate ladder. And what are they do if they can't get into classes? We all know the scenario, people who are affected by cuts. It’s the kid next door who has fewer days in school, the parent who has to pay higher tuition, the college student who cannot enroll into classes or must request a student loan, the reentry adult who cannot enroll into classes because the college is only offering a few sections. This is why we must vote yes on Prop 30
Skeptic October 14, 2012 at 01:48 AM
The Republican is right on spot! NO on 30 and NO on 38.
Larry Bird October 14, 2012 at 02:49 AM
Republican- you're proving my earlier point on you yet again. Throwing out wrong lengthy worded opinions shows your ignorance. There are no adminstrators at schools making 200k plus a year (you even go all the way up to 400k). Just because you see a quote on a commercial on California schools regarding students being ranked 47 out of 50 and then repeating it doesn't make you correct. In context Murrieta and Temecula school kids are putting out some of the highest scores around even with teachers not receiving raises for the past 3+ years. Admin and District staff have also had pay cuts as well. How long will they have to help the state balance their act on the backs of teachers salaries. These teachers have families, mortgages, and lives of their own. I would like to see your wages be taken away from you year after year and still be effective in your jobs like these teachers have been. They show heart, compassion, and integrity every day, and our kids are better off because of them. Are there some bad apples? Of course, there are anywhere you look in all jobs of our society. Your misguided opinions are once again based off of exaggerations in order to ger a reaction from public opinion. I truly hope you don't have kids that are working hard in class like these teachers. If you do, maybe spend less time blogging and spend some of that effort having quality time with them.
Honest! October 14, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Amen Larry Bird!!
Chris Lindberg October 15, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Prop 30 will cost about $40 to $60 annually for California families. Even if you bought a $30,000 car, you'd only pay $75 more dollars over the course of payments. You are making a philosophical comment, not a practical comment. You would not notice the difference in what you're paying at all.
Leigh Scragg October 16, 2012 at 07:01 AM
The 47/50 ranking pertains to dollars received by the schools. It has nothing to do with test scores or academic achievement. Currently there are only 3 states that have a lower per student funding than CA, however California ranks in the top 12% of the nation in standardized test scores (if you value those). I wont tell anyone how to vote, as that is a personal choice, just wanted to clarify that darn statistic.
The Republican October 16, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Larry Bird obviously you have not been doing your research. Look at the administrative salaries of LAUSD and SDUSD (Over 200k) then go to the UC and State college systems (where the 400k salaries are). Then go to the community college system (over 200k). The salary range I listed was very accurate. My 47 out of 50 quote IS BASED on performance and not dollars. It is not based on a TV ad either. If you want me to do your research for you I can gladly make you look bad and point you to sources of that stat. Larry Bird all those people have "families, mortgages, and lives of their own" and taxpayers that pay those salaries have the right to question why we are getting such a low rate of return for such absurdly high salaries. Taxpayers " have families, mortgages, and lives of their own. I would like to see your wages be taken away ( from higher taxes and lower wages) from you year after year and still be effective in your jobs." Larry Bird you arrogantly act like only teachers are facing your situation. The rest of us that support your salary want accountability in our schools and right now it does not exist. There are a few " BAD APPLES " but the teachers union and its obsolete and archaic rules makes removing horrible teacher a near impossible task. Cuts can be made and I seriously cannot shed a tear because the pain that administrators and teachers have felt is so small that their ridiculously huge outcry sounds like the whining of a toddler child.
Diane October 19, 2012 at 04:36 AM
Cry me a river. Join the club, teachers. We can't pay your salaries, because WE don't have jobs! And Chris Lindberg - oh, it will only cost $60-$70 a year. Really? Did you also get hit with the $150.00 fire tax like I did? We are getting taxed left and right and it's not fair!
Milan Moravec October 20, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Democrats and Republicans can help with Prop 30, 38. Create California’s future. Vote No on Prop 30, 38, 32. Keep the California dream alive and well. Decisions you make on Nov 6 determine California’s course for years. We are kidding ourselves by believing that education funding shortfalls disappear with Prop 30, Prop 38. Prop 30, Prop 38 levy significant taxes on each one of us. The wounds that Prop 30, 38 are to heal have been self inflicted largely by our elected Sacramento politicians who simply do not say no to any influential interest group be they, University of California (29% increase in salaries last 6 years), public employees, business, teachers, or other unions or lobbyists. And now Prop 30, 38 are used by Sacramento politicians and lobbyists to blackmail us

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