We need to lay out these numbers for people to really understand what this all means. Right now the district is facing a $3.5 million deficit for 2010-11. This comes on the heels of three budget cuts one in 2008 and two in 2009.
Already the Governor’s budget has been called too optimistic by the LAO who has said we will never get the billions in federal dollars that the Governor is calling for, so that $2 million is probably the floor not the ceiling for more cuts.
Dr. Hammond proposed the elimination of 33 teaching and administrative positions with the original $2.5 million with $1 million in employee concessions–2.5 percent salary reduction for five furlough days.
As we reported previously the teachers have narrowly rejected that proposal which means an additional 16 layoffs and 20 pink slips. If that proportion holds that means the additional two million could mean 32 layoffs and 40 pink slips.
The word is that we could be looking to go back to 1998 levels of staffing. That means any teacher hired in the last 12 years go be in danger of losing their jobs. There are not many jobs to be found, but once we lose one of these teachers, they are gone and not coming back.
It is my opinion that teachers are not paid nearly enough for their work and their importance in our society. However, these are not times to be talking about better pay and benefits. These are times that we all join together for the sake of the children and take a shared sacrifice.
The citizens of Davis have dug deep in recent years. In 2007 and 2008 the voters overwhelming approved two parcel taxes. In 2008, the Davis Schools Foundation raised $1.7 million to save the district from massive layoffs. The Davis Schools Foundation has raised hundreds of thousands more in the past year as well.
Now unfortunately it is time for teachers to make a very painful decision and temporarily take a pay cut to preserve the great schools that we have in Davis. There is no more fat to be cut. No more federal stimulus money that is going to bail us out. This is a very tough decision, but the teachers need to rise up and take one for the team.
Today the Davis Enterprise has called on the teachers to take a 2.5% salary reduction.
“You know we love you. We’re parents, grandparents, community members and business leaders, and we appreciate the role you play in educating the next generation. We value our schools above all else, and we credit you for the excellence we’ve come to take for granted.
WE KNOW HOW HARD you work, and what a thankless task teaching is sometimes. We know you’re worth more than you’re paid, but considering the state of the economy right now and how much each of us has been touched by hardship, we’re not very sympathetic.”
They continue by pointing out that salaries have been cut and jobs have been lost in other segments. The county is looking at another $20 million deficit.
“At Yolo County, the city of Davis and UC Davis, employee unions are agreeing to furloughs and other concessions to help cap spending, save jobs and preserve as many services for the public as possible.”
“SALIM SAYS she thinks some DTA members may be willing to consider concessions once they realize how many people could be affected by layoffs. Do we really have to go through that morale-busting exercise again?
Salim also says some teachers still harbor ‘bitterness’ at the memory of hard-won salary increases achieved several years ago, and are reluctant to give anything back.
We get that. But c’mon, can’t we all work together to do what’s right for all concerned?”
I understand this is a tough choice. I have family members who are teachers including both of my sisters who will in the end, be victims of this downturn. Schools in California are being cut to the bone and they were not doing that great to begin with. There are no good choices here, but to me, the least bad choice is to at least save a few teachers’ jobs because those are people we will not get back if we lose them.
—David M. Greenwald reporting