Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Election of School Board Trustees Does Matter!

The community has a high stake in our public education system. The negotiations by school employee groups such the Capistrano Unified Education Association (CUEA) representing teachers, The California School Employees Association (CSEA) representing classified employees, the Teamsters and Unrepresented Employees (CUMA) greatly influence events in the classroom and have an impact on the overall cost of education. When local school boards and employee groups meet at the negotiating table, the decisions made are of great importance to the quality of education provided for students. Negotiations are usually conducted behind closed doors, in private meetings between representatives of the school district and its employee groups. As such, the public must rely on Trustees to negotiate on behalf of the students in the district. Trustee's have a fiduciary duty to represent the interests of students at the collective bargaining table.

District Finances and the Collective Bargaining Process take on special importance during tough economic times when the interests of employee groups are at odds with those of the students. 

The budget that Trustees vote to adopt reflect the priorities of the school district.

The Capistrano Unified School District has cut $150 million dollars from its budget since 2006 (a 31% decrease). Revenue projections for the next two years include target budget reductions of an additional $103.5 million -  $52.5 million for 2013- 2014 and $51 million for 2014- 2015.

Public Disclosure of the 2012-2013 Adopted Budget June 27th, 2012 Board Meeting Agenda Item #5 Page 18.130
Public Disclosure of the 2012-2013 Adopted Budget June 27th, 2012 Board Meeting Agenda Item #5 Page 18.133

Section "F" states "Negotiated settlements were reached for 2012- 2013 to reduce salaries and increase class size. These settlements were for one year. Adjustments reflect ending of the agreement."

Note: When a School District Files a "Qualified Budget" The District is required to show a balanced budget for the current year and two subsequent years. An adjustment entry to re-open negotiations 
in one year does not meet that obligation. CUSD does not appear to be in compliance with California Education Code Sections 42130-42134. 

A majority of the incumbent Trustees have voted to borrow money, use furlough days, class size increases and program cuts to balance the budget rather than ask employees to take a salary reduction.  Trustees voted to cut the 2012- 2013 school year from 180 days to 165 days. Cuts are accelerating. Without a change in a majority of the Board of Trustees, should CUSD parents continue to expect a 160 day school year, growing class sizes, and minimal programs for many years to come. Is this the new norm?

Who You Elect as Trustee Does Matter!

Attend the Trustee Debate and make an informed decision.

Date: Thursday, Oct. 25 
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Place: San Juan Capistrano Community Center,  25925 Camino Del Avion in San Juan Capistrano.

Although the candidates are running for individual geographic territories known as trustee areas, the debate will cover all four races. 

The voters impacted are:
    •    Trustee Area No. 1: Dana Point, Capistrano Beach and parts of San Juan Capistrano
    •    Trustee Area No. 2: Ladera Ranch, Coto de Caza and parts of San Juan Capistrano
    •    Trustee Area No. 3: San Clemente
    •    Trustee Area No. 5: Aliso Viejo

This will be an authentic debate, not just a candidate’s forum. The candidates will not know the questions in advance. Candidates may have up to two minutes to answer the questions, and others may have a one-minute rebuttal.

Patch Local Editor Penny Arévalo will moderate the debate.

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