School Board Votes To Cut Nearly 40 Teaching Positions

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The final toll at Tuesday night’s meaning was probably best and succinctly summed up by an off-hand comment from School Board Member Richard Harris who proclaimed, “the whole thing sucks.”  He quickly followed up that the school district is “not going to be as good as it was, but it’s going to be as good as we can possibly make it.”

The toll of nearly 40 teachers really understates by a large magnitude the final decision of the school board.  In addition to that there were 17 classified positions lost, they that during closed session to decision that another 35 temporary position would be terminated.

Driving this decision was the decision to attack the district’s structural deficit while maintaining the district’s reserves at roughly six percent.  That may sound like a lot of reserve, but it’s roughly equivalent to a month of payroll.  If a real cash flow crisis hit, it would hardly even act as a buffer.

The presentation by Bruce Colby laying out the final budget numbers preceded a discussion of John Gray, of School Services of California.  It is a company that does the same work as FCMAT to monitor the fiscal health of the district.  The district and board had called in FCMAT to evaluate their decisions, but it seemed that FCMAT has been overextended trying to monitor many other districts in the state, so Mr. Gray came in.

He told the board that while there is a 3% mandated reserve, FCMAT recommends an excess of that.  Most districts actually have slightly over a 10% reserve.  This district has roughly a 6% reserve, which puts it in good stead.  He reminded the district that reserves which are the year ending balance are one time money, once the decision is made to spend down the reserve, it is gone.  This is deficit spending.

FCMAT monitors fiscal health looking at spending trends.  They do not like seeing deficit spending or the spending down of reserves.  He told the district that they are doing all the right things.  They are constantly updating multiyear projections and taking advantage of all possible flexibility provided by the state of California.  This will enable them to mitigate cuts and prevent the district from spending down reserves.

He argued that those district that get in trouble will take on deficit spending and hope that it gets better later.

The district and board clarified the misperceptions of raises.  They argued that the district leadership team–Superintendent and his assistants received no raises in either 2007-08 and 2008-09 but they did get a 2% increase in health care, the same as teachers to put them on par with the rest of employees.

Board Member Tim Taylor argued that the pay-raise issue was over blown.  It was only in the health care realm, on-par with what the teachers got.  He believes the district has an obligation to provide good health care.

Board Member Richard Harris argued that ideally you plan for the worst and hope for the best.  However, he thinks that they’ve planned for the really really bad and hope for the best.  We have not seen the worst yet. 

Mr. Gray agreed that no one has a true crystal ball.  That there is a lot of risk in the current budget with the possibility that things could get far worse at the state level in June.  However, he reiterated that the district has done the best that it could under these conditions.

During public comment, DTA President Cathy Haskell asked if this was the time to borrow $10 million to build a stadium.

At this point, Board Member Sheila Allen lost her temper somewhat and told Cathy: “You were at the meeting, you know this is untrue.”  According to Superintendent James Hammond, the project itself is in the the $8 to $8.5 million range.  He said at best the district will borrow $4 million of that money.  He believes the whole project can be down with a $4 million COP (Certificate of Participation) not a $10 million loan.  He also once against reiterated that there were no instructional money going to this.

Some of the additional board comments included Board Member Susan Lovenburg proclaiming, “this is a significant backward step in public education in the state of California.”

Board President Gina Daleiden added that the survivors will have tougher jobs, and they are hard jobs to begin with.

Board Member Sheila Allen, talked about the community through the Davis Schools Foundation and Measure W helping the district last year.  “I don’t think there’s Knights in shining armor this year.  So here we are.”  She added with the line that usually is reserved for Ms. Daleiden, “This is not why I wanted to be on the board.”

The general thought by all board members was that this was the most difficult decision that they’ve ever had to make, but it’s one they know they must do.

Board Member Tim Taylor in expanding on Ms. Allen’s thoughts, added “It’s impossible to take solace in a we’re not alone comment, but we’re not alone.”

There was the expressed hope that the DTA and other bargaining units would change their mind and accept some paycuts.  But that does not seem likely.

Richard Harris:

“It’s not going to get better, it’s going to get worse.  This is what we have to do.  These numbers are accurate.  What we’re saying is true.  We’ve identified the cuts.  I hope the collective bargaining units can work with district to help alleviate the burden on people on pks list.  This is just what it is.”

Likewise, Suan Lovenburg said that this is difficult, but the only thing within the power of the board to do is reduce services and programs.  She suggested that these notices are not final and plead with bargaining representatives to consider salary reductions so that we can pull back from program loses.

For Gina Daleiden, the only choice the board did not have was inaction, they did their job.  She said, “I know full well that teachers are the program.”

And so they moved the resolution that would lay off teachers, it removed all of the ROP cuts except for No.18 on the list below.  This is just the identification of the cuts, the specifics have not been done yet.  The board has more heartwrenching decisions yet to make.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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48 thoughts on “School Board Votes To Cut Nearly 40 Teaching Positions”

  1. Davis parent

    When Cathy Haskell made that statement, I knew we were in trouble. I haven’t been paying as close attention to the stadium issue, but even I knew that the stadium loan request was for ~$4 million. I also remember seeing her at the meeting where that was discussed for a good long time.

    If the DTA president can’t remember keep up with the school board on a basic fact like that, I question if she is up on other facts that are of more relevance to the teachers.

  2. David M. Greenwald

    Yes, I like Cathy in general. But that one had me baffled as well. It’s one thing for people in the community not to understand the issue–funding is complicated–but Cathy’s been to all the meetings, why is she pushing it?

  3. Get Out of the Kitchen

    “During public comment, DTA President Cathy Haskell asked if this was the time to borrow $10 million to build a stadium.”

    This is a perfectly sensible question, just not in the context of teacher layoffs. We don’t need to be borrowing $4 million dollars in the middle of a fiscal crisis.

    That said, take note. Look at some of the teachers that were NOT laid off! Ornamental Horticulture; Stage Craft Technician, yet they are letting Math teachers go. Does this make sense to anyone else? Why in heavens name did we ever pay for an Ornamental Horticulture teacher, or Stage Craft Technician. Smells like pork to me.

    Frankly, I am tired of the School Board’s whining about how tough a job they have. If they can’t take the heat, then get out of the kitchen.

    I also get the feeling this is more or less a showdown between the School Board/DJUSD and the teachers. “If teachers don’t want 40 laid off, then teachers had better agree to a pay cut.” It will be interesting to see what the teachers do, but my guess is the majority of teachers having seniority will vote to keep their meager salaries and let the 40 teachers get fired. Problem is, where will these teachers find work?

    For all the excuses about Colby’s raise given by School Board members, it doesn’t make what the School Board did any more palatable to the public. There is no way Colby should have been given a raise. So the School Board/DJUSD should just move on from their bad decision and stop trying to justify their stupidity on this one.

  4. Blog spanker

    but Cathy’s been to all the meetings, why is she pushing it?

    Hopefully because she has a normal life at home , and that is where her true responsibility lies. You can’t expect someone to know every detail of the school board .

    Be happy that she has come forward to do what she has !

  5. Papa Jon

    I’ll admit to being a bit confused about the stadium project. I understand that the funds for that cannot be used for other than facilities purposes, but from what I read here, it seems that the district does not even have the $10M (or $8-$8.5M range) in hand and will have to borrow $4M. If they do not have the cash in hand, they should not borrow for this project. Do only what is necessary for field and track safety and forget the rest. The bleachers can simply be removed if they are unsuitable.

  6. fang

    I took Ornamental Horticulture in high school. Loved it, went on to major in Botany in college. Horticulture is a more urban form of ag. Its been taught in California schools for many years. As things contract many ag programs are being cut. In Davis,I guess, that means losing Horticulture.

  7. Wait a second

    “You can’t expect someone to know every detail of the school board .”

    Huh? Every detail? She’s been to every meeting. She was at the meeting where funding for the stadium discussed. The $10 million versus $4 million in borrowing is not every detail–it is the actual policy. I’d forgive her if she didn’t know the exact amount cut from the teaching budget in the math department, but this is isn’t just a little detail.

  8. David M. Greenwald

    “Ornamental Horticulture; Stage Craft Technician, yet they are letting Math teachers go. Does this make sense to anyone else? Why in heavens name did we ever pay for an Ornamental Horticulture teacher, or Stage Craft Technician.”

    Ornamental Horticulture was a pretty big major at Cal Poly where I went to college, so I find the question a bit surprising. It looks like there is a pretty robust program at UC Davis as well. That’s a pretty big industry. I assume stage craft technician fulfills the fine arts requirement.

    One thing that we would need to look at is that some of these cuts will come from them fully loading courses and thus economizing a bit more. I guarantee you that cutting a math teacher does not mean fewer course offerings but rather more fully loading courses. Whereas they probably offer exactly one course on Ornamental Horticulture and Stage Craft Technician, and that teacher probably teaches other courses as well.

    I think there is a danger of looking at pieces from the puzzle and throwing out seemingly insignificant pieces without seeing how they fit into the big picture.

    You need to look at several factors:

    1. course requirements for UC
    2. course requirements for graduation
    3. course offerings
    4. class capacity/ fully loading classes

    Absent that you are almost haphazardly throwing puzzle pieces around the room.

  9. David M. Greenwald

    “The bleachers can simply be removed if they are unsuitable.”

    Papa John:

    Then how are people going to watch the football games? As was explained to me, ticket sales and concession sales are how the high school funds its athletic program.

  10. Don Shor

    “Ornamental Horticulture was a pretty big major at Cal Poly where I went to college, so I find the question a bit surprising. It looks like there is a pretty robust program at UC Davis as well.”
    Horticulture is one of the best vocational programs a high school can offer. It can lead directly to employment, even for a teenager. The comment suggesting it was “pork” just demonstrates the bias in Davis for college-prep at the expense of vocational training. Not every high school kid is going to go to college.

    “they probably offer exactly one course on Ornamental Horticulture and Stage Craft Technician, and that teacher probably teaches other courses as well.”
    That is exactly how it works.

  11. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”my guess is the majority of teachers having seniority will [b]vote[/b] to keep their meager salaries and let the 40 teachers get fired.[/i]

    Vote? When?

    Though I think David disagrees with me on this, all the power is with the Board of Education. The Board can cut teacher pay by 4% — after the contract expires in July — and teachers individually will have no option but accept the lower salary for the 2009-10 school year or quit. The union can call for a strike if it likes. But I cannot see anyone in the general public supporting a strike driven by the demand that the highest paid teachers want to keep their jobs so that the lower paid teachers and staff are fired and the education system in Davis is made worse. If a few teachers end up quitting because the Board cut their pay by 4% and refused to eliminate 37.3 positions, I suspect there will be hundreds of qualified, yet unemployed teachers in our area happy to take those jobs in the Fall.

  12. Rich Rifkin

    By the way…. I don’t expect the Board will proffer a new contract which pays 96% of the old one. I’ve seen no evidence that this group has any backbone when it comes to dealing with the DTA.

  13. Davis parent

    “Hopefully because she has a normal life at home , and that is where her true responsibility lies. You can’t expect someone to know every detail of the school board.”

    A very very poor excuse and defense. If you choose to be DTA president, then you are accepting responsibility to represent other teachers at the table when discussing contracts. That’s people’s livelihood and health benefits. As president, she has taken on the responsibility for attending those meetings and paying attention. If you want to stay home with your family more than you want to represent your constituents, then you shouldn’t be DTA president.

    The stadium renovation discussion is not a minor detail. It has been discussed extensively here on this blog, in the Enterprise, and in other public discussion.

    If Ms. Haskell is throwing out “how could the district be making cuts when it is taking out a $10 million loan?”, then she’s either showing that she’s not paying attention (incompetent), or she’s maliciously spreading misinformation (a nice way to say, “lying”). Either is not a good situation if you’re a Davis teacher trying to get the straight scoop.

    If a teacher is going to vote against a raise based on the belief that the district should cancel a $10 million loan and instead use that money to pay teachers, that person is going to be very disappointed, disillusioned, and angry when things don’t work out as he or she expected.

    We saw what happened to public confidence when we invaded Iraq on the false premise that weapons of mass destruction were present.

    I am beginning to think that the DTA is responsible for a certain amount of misinformation gets corrected on this site.

  14. fang

    It is not that simple to unilaterally cut salaries when the contract expires. There is a great deal of labor law that applies. It would take a great deal of time to do so and the teachers would be free to strike. It would be ugly and I doubt Davis has the stomach for it. Your statement seems naive.

  15. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”There is a great deal of labor law that applies.”[/i]

    Enlighten me.

    [i]”Your statement seems naive.”[/i]

    Admittedly so. Explain why the Board cannot simply proffer a new contract which pays 96% of the old one.

  16. Rich Rifkin

    [url]http://www.djusd.net/employment/dta[/url]

    I think this is the operative language from the DTA contract:

    “This agreement shall remain in full force and effect from July 1, 2006, up to and including June 30, 2009, and thereafter shall continue in effect year by year unless one of the parties notifies the other in writing between the days of January 1 and February 1 of its request to modify, amend, or terminate the Agreement.”

    According to this:

    [url]http://www.djusd.net/employment/dta0809[/url]

    It sounds to me like the District notified the DTA its interest in reopening the contract for discussion on salaries: “The agreed upon reopeners are salary, benefits, and calendar.”

    Thus, when the contract expires on July 1, the District has the right to proffer a new salary structure, and the old contract, in this regard, is null and void.

    Please correct me if you think I am wrong.

  17. another davis parent

    Last spring, my family and I donated to the DSF and their Save our School campaign. We changed and cancelled vacations, postponed,yet again, some renovations around our house, so that we could help our children’s teachers. At the time, I took great pride and comfort knowing that our personal sacrifices were helping people keep their jobs. At the same time, it was a wonderful example to our children that sometimes you put the needs of others or the “greater good” ahead of needs of our own.
    Now, our teachers are being asked to do the same thing that was asked of us last spring. I am disappointed and saddened that they are unwilling to take a pay cut. Our donation last year was my family’s version of a paycut. Last spring this community stepped up and helped our teachers and taught the students of this district to look outside of themselves. This year-it’s the teachers turn.

  18. fang

    I’m not a labor lawyer so I can’t be sure about anything on this but my experience is that the current contract holds and you need to go through a series of negotiations, impasse, mediation and fact finding before the district can impose a contract without the union agreeing. Its not like the private sector where your contract expires and you can have a strike or a lockout anytime thereafter. It takes months and months. Usually when there is a teacher strike it is a year or more after a contract expires so that shows you the time frame involved. Also, when the district is free to impose a contract the teachers are free to call a strike. Anyone who wants to romanticize a strike has not been in one. Anyone who thinks imposing a wage reduction is simple underestimates how vociferous the teachers will be and what price the community will pay dissention. What you are describing is really going to war between the teachers and the district. Something easy to advocate, hard to suffer.

  19. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”What you are describing is really going to war between the teachers and the district. Something easy to advocate, hard to suffer.”[/i]

    Good points.

  20. brandy

    My husband is a teacher in the district and is losing his job. He has been teaching in the district for 6 years. We have two small children and a house payment. It is very sad to me that teachers not at risk of losing their jobs, are unwilling to take a pay cut. What happens to them next year when they are not so high on the senority list. Will they take a pay cut then?

  21. From another district

    Brandy, my heart goes out to you and your family. I’m pretty low on the seniority schedule in another district because I changed jobs a few years ago so I have not been sleeping well at night waiting to see how things play out. Luckily for my family it doesn’t look like I’m going to get cut. On the other hand I am just a few years away from retirement so a pay cut now would cost me part of my meager pension for the rest of my life. This is the hard part for those that have invested many years in their careers, give backs are the gift that just keep on taking. If you are near retirement you won’t be able to recover from the loss of a salary cut so its not that people are being greedy at others expense its that they have so much invested in what little they already have gained.

  22. wdf

    Now, our teachers are being asked to do the same thing that was asked of us last spring. I am disappointed and saddened that they are unwilling to take a pay cut. Our donation last year was my family’s version of a paycut. Last spring this community stepped up and helped our teachers and taught the students of this district to look outside of themselves. This year-it’s the teachers turn.

    When DSF raised money last year, one of the conditions was to propose and try to pass a parcel tax to continue the programs funded by DSF. DSF fundraising was for one year.

    No one wants to pass another parcel tax this time, so the likeliest way to keep teachers from getting cut, longterm, is if the DTA agreed to a pay cut to help save their colleagues.

    The DTA is telling its membership that they believe that the district should spend down its reserves and cut back on HS courses. That’s where the gentleman last night began raising the “Baroque Orchestra” class issue, again. Another teacher got up and spoke about cutting back on foreign languages.

    A problem with that argument is that the community specifically voted in support of music and language programs last fall in Measure W, and in supporting a 7th period in Measure Q. Both of those parcel taxes were immediately endorsed by the DTA, and those parcel taxes help to fund many of those extra classes. You can’t cut a program funded by a parcel tax.

    It’s a bit of a false premise from DTA, and is arguably disingenuous on their part.

    The administrative staff spent time talking about reserve spending last night because that has been a big argument of the DTA. Because the DTA has raised it as a reason not to take a pay cut; spend down all the reserves first, they would say.

    The Colby’s position is that it is best *not* to be spending down reserves because you might need that for unexpected things like mid-year cuts (it happened this year, very possible for next year), or if the May (June) revise comes in lower.

    The administration proposed a budget based on a premise of shared sacrifice — that the cuts be spread out over all employee groups after non-employee expenditures have been exhausted. The option has been to either lay off employees or take a pay cut.

  23. Concerned about spending

    Change the voting method slightly-

    Option 1 -take a 4% pay cut across the board

    Option 2 – cut 40 jobs, 30 based on seniority and the other 10 based on a random selection process. Everyones needs to put skin in the game.

    I do not like Fund Accounting used by School districts and City Governments – it leads to some very strange decisions. With the exception of directed money from the state, all of the money should be going into one pool and the decisions should be based on the best use of the money – all of the money.

  24. J. Yoo who

    There seems to be a desire to just make up the law as people wish it to be on this blog. There is language in place as to how people will be pink slipped. If you don’t believe in seniority you probably don’t have any.

  25. wdf

    Folsom-Cordova USD: [url]http://folsomtelegraph.com/detail/107518.html?content_source=&category_id=&search_filter=&user_id=&event_mode=&event_ts_from=&event_ts_to=&list_type=&order_by=&order_sort=&content_class=1&sub_type=&town_id=&page=[/url]

    Elk Grove schools: [url]http://www.egcitizen.com/articles/2009/03/04/news/doc49ac0ed8c0a4a243815432.txt[/url]

    Fairfield-Suisun USD (Superintendent formerly at Woodland JUSD): [url]http://www.fsusd.k12.ca.us/file_upload/press_release/Budget Proposal_03_03_09.pdf[/url]

  26. Anonymous

    “If you are near retirement you won’t be able to recover from the loss of a salary cut.”

    You won’t be able to recover from a 4% pay cut? Unless you are disabled, just work one year more. You will not only recover, you’ll come out ahead.

  27. wdf

    From the CalSTRS website:

    [i]Note: Nonconsecutive final compensation is available for those members who received a salary reduction due to a reduction in school funds. Upon certification from the employer, CalSTRS will use any three nonconsecutive school years to determine final compensation.[/i]

    [url]http://www.calstrs.com/Members/Defined Benefit Program/retbenes.aspx[/url]

  28. Concerned about teachers

    “There seems to be a desire to just make up the law as people wish it to be on this blog. “

    Not really, just feel bad for the 40 teachers. There is a huge difference between 96% of pay and 0%. Of course you need to look after yourself, but we are in a serious situation (I do not think you see it in Yolo County yet) and now is the time to share the pain.

  29. Against deficit spending

    “The DTA is telling its membership that they believe that the district should spend down its reserves and cut back on HS courses. That’s where the gentleman last night began raising the “Baroque Orchestra” class issue, again. Another teacher got up and spoke about cutting back on foreign languages.

    A problem with that argument is that the community specifically voted in support of music and language programs last fall in Measure W, and in supporting a 7th period in Measure Q. Both of those parcel taxes were immediately endorsed by the DTA, and those parcel taxes help to fund many of those extra classes. You can’t cut a program funded by a parcel tax.

    It’s a bit of a false premise from DTA, and is arguably disingenuous on their part.

    The administrative staff spent time talking about reserve spending last night because that has been a big argument of the DTA. Because the DTA has raised it as a reason not to take a pay cut; spend down all the reserves first, they would say.

    The Colby’s position is that it is best *not* to be spending down reserves because you might need that for unexpected things like mid-year cuts (it happened this year, very possible for next year), or if the May (June) revise comes in lower.”

    The above argument makes a lot of sense to me. It seems as if the DTA has made its best arguments for where to make cuts, and have come up short. It would also appear cold and calculating of the teachers not to take a pay cut in order to save the 40 teaching jobs – on the understanding the administration needs to share the pain with twice as much of a paycut.

    “Horticulture is one of the best vocational programs a high school can offer. It can lead directly to employment, even for a teenager. The comment suggesting it was “pork” just demonstrates the bias in Davis for college-prep at the expense of vocational training. Not every high school kid is going to go to college.”

    Please enlighten me as to what jobs the ornamental horticulture leads to? I would assume landscaping? Just how many students end up employed in landscaping by taking that course? Stage Craft Technician? Come on! You are telling me we absolutely must have this? Business Law? For high school? Give me a break!

  30. Teachers suck

    I would just like to say that the DTA are a bunch of incompetent ingrates, who are there to hold on to their positions of power and authority. Everyone is suffering and they refuse to take a pay cut. Why is it that these teachers have such power and control. They work for US!!! In the real world, if you don’t do a good job, or the company is suffering financially, people get laid off or they agree to take a pay cut. But here the taechers are as usual selfish and incompetent. They would rather see services cut to students than take a pay cut. This to me shows exactly where they stand and who they are. They are not here to teach the students. They are teachers because it’s an easy job, they don’t have to be held accountable, because the almighty union is there to strip awayt the rigths of students and reinforce incompentency and power of the teachers. It’s dispicable and it’s time for people to stand up against the incompetency.

  31. In Support of Teachers

    What an awful thing to say about teachers. I am not a teacher myself, but I have children in school. Do you have any idea how hard it is to deal with administration, the public, and the children they are teaching to have absolutely no respect for what they do? These people go into education because they CARE. They go to alot of schooling and get paid a fraction of what other people with the same amount of education do who are not in education. Have some RESPECT….

  32. Rich Rifkin

    [i]”But here the [b]taechers[/b] are as usual selfish and incompetent.”[/i]

    I agree. The [i]taechers[/i] are just as you describe them. However, I don’t think it’s fair to paint the [i]teachers[/i] with such a broad brush. After good parents, there is nothing more important than a good teacher. In part because we don’t systematically distinguish between the better and the worse, we greatly undervalue and underpay good teachers.

    [i]”It’s [b]dispicable[/b] and it’s time for people to stand up against the incompetency.”[/i]

    Our standards for orthography are certainly [b]despicable[/b].

  33. Quid pro quo

    I am disappointed with the tone of the comments on this blog. When the community donated money to the “Dollar a Day Campaign” to save specific programs within the DJUSD, there should have been no expectation from the community that if the budget became more dire that teachers would be expected to sacrifice. The community contributed because they had the ability to “pony up” the money to rescue these programs (higher socioeconomic status does have its privileges). Unfortunately, many of the teachers that are due to be laid off do not enjoy the “luxury” of being able to donate to such causes because they barely have sufficient funds to live in the surrounding communities (I won’t even touch the issue of how much they spend for their health care benefits). Many of the elementary school teachers in Davis spend several hundred dollars from their own pockets to provide additional classroom materials for their students. Many of the junior high and high school teachers donate their time outside the classroom for fundraising activities (again to provide money for students that would not be able to attend special events or field trips). Unfortunately, in our community these actions by the teachers have become expected rather than being the true kindness that is so lacking in the world today. I think the teachers are basically at the point where a reduction in salary is the “straw that is about to break the camel’s back.”

  34. Davis parent

    “there should have been no expectation from the community that if the budget became more dire that teachers would be expected to sacrifice. The community contributed because they had the ability to “pony up” the money to rescue these programs (higher socioeconomic status does have its privileges). Unfortunately, many of the teachers that are due to be laid off do not enjoy the “luxury” of being able to donate to such causes because they barely have sufficient funds to live in the surrounding communities (I won’t even touch the issue of how much they spend for their health care benefits).”

    Community reaction largely comes from the perspective of appreciation for teachers and education. Davis schools offer a great product. Many of the youngest, most energetic, most idealistic and most vulnerable teachers (susceptible to layoff) are the ones who are actually probably most appreciated in the district.

    There isn’t the power (fundraising, or parcel tax) to save their jobs this year the way there was in the past.

    DTA is relying on excuses to justify not addressing a paycut head on. Blaming others for not offering other solutions.

    DTA can honestly and candidly say, teaching salaries are so low that we just can’t do this.

    Blaming reserve spending policy and other reasons creates more animosity.

  35. Anon

    “Many of the elementary school teachers in Davis spend several hundred dollars from their own pockets to provide additional classroom materials for their students. Many of the junior high and high school teachers donate their time outside the classroom for fundraising activities (again to provide money for students that would not be able to attend special events or field trips). Unfortunately, in our community these actions by the teachers have become expected rather than being the true kindness that is so lacking in the world today. I think the teachers are basically at the point where a reduction in salary is the “straw that is about to break the camel’s back.””

    I hardly think that is the point. The point is that the majority of teachers would rather see 40 teachers laid off, then collectively take a paycut to make sure all are still employed. It seems somewhat vicious, since the DTA was not able to show how to save money in any other way than layoffs or a paycut.

  36. Anon

    “It’s dispicable and it’s time for people to stand up against the incompetency.”

    Our standards for orthography are certainly despicable.”

    Hey, when you are perfect, then you can throw stones, and not before. I hold three college degrees, two of them advanced degrees, but can’t spell worth a darn. So what?

  37. Don Shor

    “Please enlighten me as to what jobs the ornamental horticulture leads to?”
    Depending on the school program, ornamental horticulture can lead to work in landscape installation (laborer, train to become a landscape technician), maintenance gardening, turf management, retail nursery (yard management, sales), wholesale nursery production (propagation, sales, delivery, etc.). Some programs offer training in flower arranging, for which there is always demand.
    A student who gets interested in horticulture at high school can go on to a 2-year certificate from American River College, or take classes at Yuba College. There are also good 4-year programs at SLO and UC Davis.

    “Just how many students end up employed in landscaping by taking that course?”
    I have no idea. Neither do you. My point was that it is unfortunate that vocational programs are being cut. A high school graduate with any kind of job training is in better shape than his or her peers, especially in the current economy.

  38. another district

    Many of you think these are easy decisions for the teachers but they are not. Teacher don’t want to take a pay cut or see their collegues get a pink slip. I have no idea what the teachers in Davis will dicide but I do know that the tone of some of these remarks are offensive. These are not easy times and people are being forced to make tough decisions. We should understand and respect that people are not being given good options instead of castigating them when we are not in their shoes.

  39. David M. Greenwald

    Another District: I agree that some of the remarks ARE offensive. I think part of that is everyone is frustrated and the situation is bad.

    I am critical of the teachers here. Yolo County employees have already taken volunteer furloughs to help forestall layoffs that will be inevitable. State employees are taking a 5% paycut to prevent people from being laid off. Sac Police Officers are taking a pay cut. People across the state are doing so to prevent the loss of jobs. I think the teachers should have stepped up on this and I think they have received poor leadership. I’m weighing doing a more lengthy column on this.

  40. another district

    Nobody I know has willingly taken a paycut. Some have been negotiated and others crammed down. Until you take a paycut yourself you should not pass judgement on others.

  41. Jack Spear

    I teach at the university, where talk of furlough is in the air. I hope that I will show more integrity than the Davis teachers. I will not be happy with a pay cut, but to prefer to see my fellow workers thrown out of work in this economy? How heartless would I need to be?

  42. Julian Anderson

    David, you have got it wrong. For state workers, the pay cut is 9% (two days of unpaid days a month) and it was FORCED upon them by Arnold. Sac Police Officers are not taking a pay cut, they are not taking a raise. That’s a big difference.

    Yolo County employees DID agree to volunteer furloughs – that part you got right.

    Be careful with your statements.

  43. David M. Greenwald

    Julian:

    The contract agreement that has not been ratified yet calls for only one furlough day.

    “The union representing nearly 95,000 state workers has reached a tentative deal with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration that includes one unpaid furlough day off per month instead of the two the governor had ordered.”

    Source ([url]http://www.sacbee.com/capitolandcalifornia/story/1626232.html[/url])

  44. Julian Anderson

    No David. That contract is only for members of SEIU. That’s not for all of the state workers (of which there are approximately 230,000).

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