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RUSD Teachers Asked to Sacrifice Salary for District Loan Payments

The Voice of San Diego reported that teachers are being asked to cut their pay by nearly 10 percent to help create more district funds.

After the failure of Proposition R, a $66 million school bond, Ramona Unified School District is asking teachers to take a pay cut of nearly 10 percent to help pay back loans used to build two schools, the Voice of San Diego reported.

The school district previously borrowed money in 2004 to build Ramona Community and Hanson Elementary, Graeff had stated in a public forum on Oct. 17.

"We had a couple of schools that were almost uninhabitable a few years ago," Graeff had said. "The district, after four failed school bonds... borrowed money to build the two new schools."

The Voice of San Diego said that though the loans are coming due and there is no bond to help pay them, RUSD Superintendent Robert Graeff said the loan payments account for just $500,000 of an estimated $3.5 million deficit.

"The bulk of that would have been there whether we had taken a loan out or not," Graeff said.

Along with loan payments and salary cuts, there's been a protracted labor dispute between the district and its teachers union for more than a year, the Voice reported.

The district declared an impasse with the union in March and the two sides have been in mediation ever since.

Read more about the district's loans and what the Ramona Teachers Association has to say about the proposal at the Voice of San Diego.

sandra j December 19, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Less than 10% does not seem excessive at all. That's realistically only 6-7% considering the tax savings. In addition, I believe the adminstration pay should be cut by 25%.
Jim Huston December 20, 2012 at 04:57 AM
I'm confused, I thought Prop. R was to pay for needed school repairs. Now it sounds like is was going to be used for paying off a loan. This would explain why it did not pass, everyone saw through it. I agree with the above, the administrators should be the ones penalized for this not the Teachers...
Jane Tanaka MD December 20, 2012 at 05:48 AM
Just a recap,, Jim.....Prop R was to pay for the loan on the 2 schools , and to pay for deferred maintenance on other schools in the district, but also to pay for books which havent been replaced in years, and also to update the computer/wireless /it system at RUSD, and also to prevent lowering salaries of employees. The Administration and School Board members, who are not paid, voice regret in their lack of foresight. They were counting on booming housing market and influx of new housing development in Ramona, and the developers paying for the new schools in effect. They did not foresee the exodus of young families and 1 out of 7 houses in foreclosure in our community. Thus, School District , unable to pay its debts , and with Prop R bond failed, is looking toward paycuts for teachers, as their salaries are the majority of the budget. The employees who are not teachers have taken a 10% pay cut. The administration states they have effectively also taken a10% paycut via having to pay for more of their benefits. Teachers are saying that this will result in good teachers leaving, and quality of academics diminishing, and Ramona becoming a town of old people only due to young families not wanting to move to a lowly rated school district.
Jane Tanaka MD December 20, 2012 at 05:54 AM
Part 2 :Some community members have suggested volunteering to fix the buildings in the district but this wouldnt pay off the loan debt or teacher's salaries. Others have suggested selling RUSD properties... but these properties are not desirable due to fairy shrimp and grading problems etc and a poor market. RUSD faces being taken over by the State of California due to insolvency, inability to pay its debts, as required by law. Some say that that would be horrible, as the state school czar would come in make budget cuts without consideration of input from the parents, students or teachers or school board. ( This POSSIBLY would endanger athletic programs, AP programs, music, drama, art programs, school library and buses , and close smaller schools including Montecito HS, Ramona Community, Ramona Elementary etc.) Others say this is the answer.. let the State come in and do this... ( Dr Graeff et al would lose their jobs), and suffer the consequences for several years, but come out of it financially clean. ( However the money that the State lends the school district to pay its bills would still have to be paid back; its only a loan.) What a mess. For an additional $1 a day, per household in Ramona, which has approximately 10,000 households,over the next 18-25 years ( due to interest), the $66,000,000 which RUSD says it needs, would be paid off. Apparently however, more than 45 percent of the voters feel that this is not acceptable, hence its a no go.
Jane Tanaka MD December 20, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Thank you for correcting me. , AM.
Jane Tanaka MD December 20, 2012 at 06:06 PM
My entries above were an attempt to recap my understanding of this mess. I know this is not much, but I wish to respectfully offer the following to the admistration, teachers union, school board and public. During the last 4 years, I have lowered my fees by 50% or more to my Ramona patients, and have accepted eggs,squash, and cookies as payment from some, to accomodate their financial distress and their mental health needs. I have worked longer hours ( 12-14 hours/day) and have seen more patients from down the hill to make up the difference in income. This is what I feel is right for my patients. I have also donated funds monthly to a local teen center so kids have a safe place after school.This is what I feel is right... even though others may think it foolish. In writing in support of RUSD, its teachers and the Bond previously, and since its demise, I got consistent feedback that the Bond and Prop R felt "like a slap in the face to hard working Ramonans." The teachers also feel disrespected for being asked to take a paycut. I dont know what the solution is, but I do know that when leaders are proud and unyielding, then trust and cooperation die. When leaders are humble, they are more credible and respected. Altruism doesnt pay the bills, but helps make sacrifices endurable. Please nix the bravado; put down your swords. Do what is right for our children, our students. Sincerely, Jane Tanaka MD
Jane Tanaka MD December 20, 2012 at 10:21 PM
I respect your opinion, AM. Thank you.
Lezlie Mitchell January 18, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Jim you are right the teachers will be penalized big time. Over the next three years I personally will pay $22,000 towards buying those two new schools, if the district's imposes these cuts on the teachers The $22,000 I pay, and each teacher will pay is going to buy/pay for the two new schools in Ramona. The community of Ramona will not be paying for their own schools. The teachers will be buying them for you. Jim how would you feel if you employeers said we're building a two new fire stations and the fire fighters will have to pay for them? Not the community they will serve will pay for them....the people who serve the community will pay for them! That is what's going on. The bond would have paid for the buildings that belong to the community plus make a lot of reapirs to the olders schools. It would have been less than $100 a year for most households. I will give up over $7000 a year to pay for schools that belong to the community. That is quite a big differentce and just plan unfair. The classified (custodians, librarians, bus drivers, secretaries) will also be paying for the community's new school buildings, in fact they aready are. I hope we get a thank you note!
Lezlie Mitchell January 18, 2013 at 09:05 PM
Jim Huston is right. Ramona is the proud owner of two beautiful new schools and Ramona has not/will not pay for them. I am a teacher in the community and have lived here, taught here and paid taxes here over 25 years. According to RUSD's current proposal, I personally will pay $22,000 towards buying those two new schools. If the district's imposes these cuts, each teacher will pay (on average) just under $17,000 total over three years time for the two new Ramona schools! The teachers will be buying the schools for you Ramona! Jim how would you feel if your employers said, "We're building a two new fire stations and the fire fighters will have to pay for them?" Not the community you serve, but YOU firefighters will pay for them! That is what's going on. The bond would have paid for the schools belonging to the community, plus make a lot of repairs to the older schools and pay for much needed technology. The cost would have been less than $100 a year for most households. Each teacher will give up/pay on average $5,600 a year (with some of us giving up $7,000+ a year) for schools that belong to the community. That is quite a big difference and just plan unfair. The classified (custodians, librarians, bus drivers, secretaries) will also be paying for the community's new school buildings, In fact they already are. I hope we get a thank you note!
Lezlie Mitchell January 18, 2013 at 09:07 PM
Jim Huston is right. Ramona is the proud owner of two beautiful new schools and Ramona has not/will not pay for them. I am a teacher in the community and have lived here, taught here and paid taxes here over 25 years. According to RUSD's current proposal, I personally will pay $22,000 towards buying those two new schools. If the district's imposes these cuts, each teacher will pay (on average) just under $17,000 total over three years time for the two new Ramona schools! The teachers will be buying the schools for you Ramona! Jim how would you feel if your employers said, "We're building a two new fire stations and the fire fighters will have to pay for them?" Not the community you serve, but YOU firefighters will pay for them! That is what's going on. The bond would have paid for the schools belonging to the community, plus make a lot of repairs to the older schools and pay for much needed technology. The cost would have been less than $100 a year for most households. Each teacher will give up/pay on average $5,600 a year (with some of us giving up $7,000+ a year) for schools that belong to the community. That is quite a big difference and just plan unfair. The classified (custodians, librarians, bus drivers, secretaries) will also be paying for the community's new school buildings. In fact they already are. I hope we get a thank you note!

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