Dear Editor – Cuts Must Be Made Elsewhere

Dear Editor,

Last week, CCUSD’s school board, in response to a projected 3.5 million budget shortfall, voted to eliminate 17.8 teaching positions. And in the spirit of shared sacrifice, they voted to eliminate ZERO administrative positions.

In California, teachers and administrators must be notified by March 15 if they are going to be laid off for the following school year. If CCUSD sends you a “March 15 letter”, it means they have the right to lay you off. If they don’t, you’re coming back to work in September.

Many school districts routinely send out these “pink slips” ( are they really pink? ) to any staff member that might be considered for layoff. The word districts use here is “flexibility”. Districts want maximum flexibility in terms of staffing, especially in these hard times, so they generally send out more notices than they will need.

LAUSD sends out these notices each year to all its administrators. Former CCUSD board member Barbara Honig, now an administrator in LAUSD, gets a “March 15 letter” every year. Those of us in the education world understand that districts need this kind of flexibility.

CCUSD, though, marches to a different tune. Rather than sending out pink slips to all of its administrators, they send out none!

Unless our board acts in the next two weeks, we are committed to retaining all of our current administrative staff. If we wanted, for example, to combine the administration of our Adult School and our small continuation school, Culver Park, into one position, we won’t be able to do it.

Or, if we wanted to reduce some administrators from a 12-month schedule to an 11 or even 10-month schedule, we won’t be able to do that either.

Could we save some money by having security guards report to the site principals, rather than reporting to a Director of Security? Maybe. But unless we “notice” that administrator, we won’t be able to do that.

Many districts have replaced expensive ‘Assistant Principals” with less-expensive “academic deans” (paid on the lower teacher salary schedule), but unless we notice those employees we won’t be able to do that.

CCUSD is about to embark on a tour of our schools and community groups asking for suggestions for cuts. But they’ve already taken the big ticket items off the table. By protecting every single administrative position, cuts will necessarily fall closer to the classroom.

One of the things I teach in my Sociology class here at CCHS is this: “If you don’t fight it—-you’re going along with it.” Culver City: if you don’t voice your opposition to this “protect our administrators” policy of our current school board, you’re agreeing that the cuts will have to come from somewhere else.

Your school board members can be contacted at [email protected]
I can be contacted at [email protected]

David Mielke
President, Culver City Federation of Teachers

www.culvercitysymphony.org

2 Comments

  1. With 17.8 teaching positions – from elementary school on up – on the chopping block, isn’t it reasonable that administration should share the pain?

    How can it be that, faced with another budgetary crisis, not a single administrative position is being considered?

    The Board ties its own hands when faced with the difficult decisions ahead if they limit their own options. Serving up pink slips does not guarantee job loss; it just provides much needed flexibility when considering the big picture – a picture that isn’t even clear at this point in time.

    I respectfully urge the Board to reconsider the potential “cut list” in order to provide themselves reasonable flexibility in the coming months. Teachers have the most direct impact on our students and it doesn’t make sense that they will be the only ones in the line of (potential) fire.

  2. I am one of the few parents who attended the School Board’s budget subcommittee meeting. All of the excellent suggestions cited in Mr. Mielke’s letter were presented to members of the School Board as well as District administrators, including Interim Superintendent Patricia Jaffe. I was under the impression that the ideas that were presented would be seriously considered, but it appears obvious that minds were already made up. Needless to say, I am very disappointed that, once again, teachers are the only people who take the hit when budget cuts need to be made.

    I believe that everyone needs to share the pain. My family pays the parcel tax to help the schools even though I am unemployed and we are eligible for the senior exemption. When only teachers, the real heroes, fall victim to budget cuts, our children are also victims. Unless the district makes more thoughtful decisions, I can’t help thinking that administrators don’t really care about the constituents they have been hired to protect.

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