Ramona Unified School District Superintendent Receives Raise [Blog]

School district superintendent to receive $4,000 raise when everyone else is being cut.

I don't know if the parents and public know of the financial problems of the Ramona Unified School District. Here's the main problem: the board voted to build two new schools when they had no money to do so.

Now it is time to pay and there is no money. The board is saying there is no other option but to cut the salary of the staff (valued janitors, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, secretaries, etc.) and the pay of the teachers—which will be the highest cut of any San Diego County school.

They (the board) will not look into any other way of financing their mistake. That is why the teachers will not budge. The teachers have offered a pay cut, of course, everyone must tighten their belts, but the board refuses to negotiate.


Now here's the best part...at the last board meeting, the board elected to reinstate Dr. Graeff, superintendent, and TO GIVE HIM A RAISE.

Where does the money come from for a raise when every one else is getting a cut? Now he will make over $200,000 a year. This does not seem to make sense in this time of financial crisis.  

Does it make sense to you?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

M Workman January 29, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Missing the point, 800 is short term crisis fix. Long term, even though they have high poverty levels, they have growing tax base. We have declining tax base.
Jane Tanaka MD January 29, 2013 at 09:25 PM
Yes, understand your point. But teachers stil had to take a big cut... and its not short term, as far as I know.
M Workman January 29, 2013 at 09:44 PM
Yes, it is. It's a near term solution to get thru the coming year(s). They may even have to do it again, but over time, pay will increase again. No labor unit will agree to more and more cuts. Can't pretend to know Escondido's situation, other than their deferred maintenance is being done and their campuses look good. Long term fiscal includes increased steady revenue, debt management, sound salary/expense structure, and keeping up with deferred maint. Gotta get back, let us know on the 501c3 notion. Wonder if anyone else in this messed up state is doing it?
sandra j January 29, 2013 at 09:59 PM
we could have had cathy pierce for $168k. she knew the ropes (is that good or bad?) and apparently had the qualifications. who's to say if she wanted it, though. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/oct/20/tp-santee-school-district-names-superintendent/
sandra j January 30, 2013 at 02:30 AM
will the union pay your salary if you strike? for how long?
sandra j January 30, 2013 at 03:07 AM
sue, i suspect a strike will be worse for the teachers that the proposed cuts. maybe you all can unite on that and stop holding signs at the meetings. it's not the loan that's the problem. it's the district's payroll. please see my comments above. a healthy district uses about 85% of its income for salaries. paso robles was at 91% and considered it a huge problem. ramona is at 96.4%. this is too much to spend on payroll and benefits. the loan has nothing to do with this problem. my suggestion is, instead of threatening to strike, the ramona teachers should accept the cuts proposed. then, rally the community to support a 25% across-the-board cut to the administration's salaries. i think you'll see about 96.4% of the community line up behind you, and when the board, who we elect, sees that, they will implement the change. if they don't, we'll get you some who will. i know the cuts are painful, but they are necessary. the district just doesn't have the income to support it. you've gotten a 10% raise within the last 3 years. now it's time to tighten up and tough it out like many others are. be part of the solution, and shine the light on those, like dr greadf, who have no regard for anyone but themselves.
Jane Tanaka MD January 30, 2013 at 04:03 AM
Yes, these are called Local Educational Foundations, which are 501c3, non-profit organizations, which raise funds, invest them and give them to the school district's teachers upon their requests. The LEF would have a board of its own, and bylaws etc. Some LEFs have paid administrators , some do not. The California Consortium of Educational Foundation is one organization that helps new LEFs form. We would not have to re-invent the wheel. There atleast 2 LEFs in SD County, one at Sunset Hills Elementary School in Poway Unified School District One RUSD elementary teacher's spouse told me today that he spent $5K last year on classroom supplies etc for his students. A student I know who attended Ramona Elementary told me that toward the end of the school year there was no more paper, so the students were given 10 points for each ream of paper they donated to the classroom. I understand that this is not uncommon Hanson Elementary teachers are buying handsoap for kids to use in the bathrooms so that they dont get sick ! . An LEF in Ramona would help so that there would not have so much out of pocket expense for teachers, and to some extent for students whose families are least able to afford it. Respectfully, Jane Tanaka MD .
Jane Tanaka MD January 30, 2013 at 05:02 AM
Sue, We the public shouldnt have to have fundraisers or private donations for our students' education, but we might need to . And it might help boost teacher morale too, to know that the community cares. Apparently , since the 1980s there have been many Educational Foundations set up in California, to help where the school district falls short. The California Consortium of Educational Foundations is one organization that could help us learn how. Www.cceflink.org is their website. It would be ambitious for an LEF to raise enough money to pay off the loans for the new schools, but its possible. if 50% of Ramona households ( the 50% who voted for Prop R) donated $1 a day, that would be $5000 per day or 1.825 million dollars per year, or 34 million dollars in 19 years. That would pay off the debt, if the Educational Foundation's board voted that the funds would be used for paying off the the loan. A less ambitious LEF could pay for the school supplies , paper, soap , etc that many teachers pay for out of pocket.. .. or for repairs to the asphalt and roofs etc at our older schools. I hope you dont strike.. and understand if you have to. I think your energy and time are better spent with the kids also. Respectfully, Jane Tanaka MD . .
Jane Tanaka MD January 30, 2013 at 05:11 AM
Sue , I read your response about the SD Foundation and Ramona Foundation. There are certain restrictions ... and so Arriba Teen Center here in Ramona couldnt apply for one of their grants . I know a certain editor of a local newspaper is working behind the scenes to try to look into whether an existing 501c3 could be the conduit of funds. Perhaps the Ramona Foundation/ SD Foundation would be willing to do matching funds?
sandra j January 30, 2013 at 05:03 PM
what happened to sue, and her comments, and our replies to her comments? her handler must have seen her posts as a sign of weakness, a crack in the union.
Jane Tanaka MD January 30, 2013 at 07:07 PM
It can be intimidating posting on the Patch. ... it takes more than a bit of nerve to do so. There have been times I felt like my gut was kicked when when responses are posted. Have considered not commenting anymore because of it. Hopefully teachers are not being "bullied" by their union, and are truly making a decision regarding an impending strike based on their own values and soul searching. Dr G's raise however does put pressure on them to strike to "safe face," unless teachers decide to take the altruistic road and set a better example for the kids by making a financial sacrifice .
M Workman January 30, 2013 at 07:13 PM
I assume you mean "save" face. The increase was stupid. IF it was a flat increase. Simply makes him and Board look bad. Obviously labor has the right to do whatever they need to to get their point across, but a strike would equal the stupid raise in the eyes of many.
sandra j January 30, 2013 at 07:42 PM
i have given much consideration to the situation, and i feel i am fairly-well informed about it. it is my opinion that a state takeover is the best solution for the students, teachers, and the community. the administrators would probably lose out, but i don't see any value being added there anyway. absolutely none! perhaps they feel that it's inevitable, hence the "grab what we can" attitude. BTW, i don't think dr greadf is the only one on the ALT getting a raise. who's up for going to view the contracts?
cyndy powell January 30, 2013 at 07:48 PM
They are supposed to publish the entire budget as well as salaries--at least it is supposed to be a public document. However, when it is asked for, they will say, we have to find it. Check back later. It would be nice to put some pressure on them to publish it.
sandra j January 30, 2013 at 09:11 PM
this friday, february 1st, is a "staff development day" in ramona. there's no school for students, but it's not a holiday so the district office should be open. i suggest we organize a community sit-in there, and demand that the contracts be made available to anyone who wants to view them.
M Workman January 30, 2013 at 09:17 PM
For lord sake, it's a public record. I'm not sure what contracts sandra is talking about, but the budget and any contracts are public records. This publication, the Sentinel, and many of us are well aware of how to request documents under the CA Public Records Act. Legally they have requirements and time contraints when public records are being requested. You may NOT get them if you walk in and demand. Rhetoric people. Drop the rhetoric and get results.
sandra j January 30, 2013 at 09:29 PM
you're not invited.
M Workman January 30, 2013 at 09:32 PM
Just trying to help you be more effective. Confrontational is fine, effective is better.
sandra j January 30, 2013 at 10:06 PM
point taken. i was referring to whatever employment contracts the ALT has. while i agree with your comment above, essentially saying good help doesn't come cheap, i think the community would be outraged if they saw the deal the administrators have. i don't think they're doing their part (or their jobs) in dealing with the budget problem. they supposedly just took a cut, but it appears to have just been less of a raise. i'd like to see the figures. at a recent board meeting, bob stoody in particular took exception to UT's published reports of dr greadf's salary. now he's pictured next to him signing away the farm. this is the same person who makes a point of being "the only sitting board member not to have voted for the loan." the board and the administration are trusted to run the district responsibly. it doesn't appear to me they've succeeded. "we believe that fiscal health is critical to ensuring a quality, student-focused learning environment" is one of their core beliefs. i challenge any of them, sans dr john, to show how greadf's raise fits that belief. confrontation and effectiveness need not be mutually exclusive.
Jane Tanaka MD January 31, 2013 at 12:23 AM
I wonder how much we would have to pay the state school adminstrator ( aka school czar) and his/her staff to manage us for the next 20 years while we also pay back the state for bailing us out of RUSD's debts. I wonder how parents , students and teachers will feel if Athletics, AP classes, Art, Music, Agriculture, Automotive technology, Computer Science and other non- core required programs are reduced or eliminated? I wonder how long it would take for books to be replaced and buildings to be fixed etc, when the mission of the school czar is to make enough cuts to get the state back its loan to RUSD? If this is not a future you envision for your kids in Ramona, then consider instead the option of forming a Local Educational Foundation,and voluntarily donating/sacrificing 1 dollar a day per household for the next 18.5 years. ( Only 50% of the households would need to be willing to contribute this much) ,and keep the control local. I think that it would give the public more clout with the distict administrators and the school board also.. It would also boost morale of our teachers and students.
Wolf Paulus February 02, 2013 at 02:33 AM
Please consider telling Dr Graeff how you feel about his raise in the light of the teachers' pay cuts. His email is bgraeff@ramonausd.net send him a letter or give him a call RAMONA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT Dr. Robert W. Graeff, Superintendent 720 Ninth Street Ramona CA 92065-2399 FAX: (760) 789-9168 - PH: (760) 787-2007
CD February 03, 2013 at 02:44 AM
It is difficult to have an educated opinion when so many numbers are thrown out there an they are all so far off. One report says teachers make up 55% of the budget yet a person here says 96%. The fact is admin pay in this district is ranked in the top in the county while teachers total compensation is definitely not. Reality is projections from this district office have been drastically off every year and they want teachers to agree to the biggest cut in all of SD county based on their projections. For people to say teachers are not willing to take cuts is just ignorant. In negotiations RTA offered cuts. Unfortunately both sides can not agree on what is fair or reasonable. Hopefully there can be an agreement when both sides come to the table with their facts to support their side. Hopefully the neutral party can help both sides to see what needs to happen in order to get a deal done.
Jane Tanaka MD February 03, 2013 at 04:38 AM
http://www.ramonausd.net/cms/lib07/CA01000789/Centricity/Domain/17/121201-01C_SACS.pdf has the projected RUSD budget. Good luck deciphering it.
sandra j February 03, 2013 at 08:56 AM
better yet, tell the board members who gave it to him! all except dr john voted for the increase. here is their contact information: http://www.ramonausd.net/domain/55
sandra j February 03, 2013 at 08:59 AM
thanks for posting. they took down the proposed budget we were looking at last month, and i didn't see this when i checked the website.
sandra j February 03, 2013 at 09:33 AM
here's where the 96% figure comes from. go to page 22 of the document jane linked below: http://www.ramonausd.net/cms/lib07/CA01000789/Centricity/Domain/17/121201-01C_SACS.pdf it's one of several page 1's, titled "Summary - Unrestricted/Restricted Revenues, Expenditures, and Changes in Fund Balance". item A5 is the total revenues, and the sum of items B1, B2, and B3 is the cost of all salaries and benefits (teachers, administration, and staff). the original budget, column A, had costs totaling $40,704,179 vs revenue of 42,219,398, which represented 96.4%. column D, projected year totals, improves this to about 90%. now that i have the complete report, i'll try to break out the staff, teachers and admin individually...assuming it's in there in a way that can be separated. the 55% figure may be close, but i don't know if it includes benefit costs. also, "percent of budget" is misleading when the budget isn't balanced. "percent of revenue" is more realistic.
sandra j February 03, 2013 at 11:13 PM
great article from VOSD. recommended reading for anyone who made it to the bottom of this blog: http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/education/article_a9dfb440-6cbd-11e2-a951-001a4bcf887a.html important take-away: 85% of income is a good target for salary and benefit expenses.
Debbie Duncan Anderson April 21, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Well said!
Douglas Andrew Hanlon February 27, 2014 at 10:26 AM
200k f to over see a district the size of Ramona unified is highway robbery...that job could be fill ten times over and there could be great people still doing it for half the salary
greg Chick February 27, 2014 at 01:49 PM
Dr. Graeff is not the only one making disproportionate to the area compensation. The dire straights of the District is, as well a factor of proportion judgment. This judgment I refer to is public perception and a significant factor in any bond proposal. It seems to be a PR or image problem that has been created by the RUSD Boards from past, and apparently the present.


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