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Superintendent Graeff Says ‘No Plan B’ After Failure of Prop. R

Ramona Teachers Association chief worries about major cuts in compensation and programs.

Donna Braye-Romero, president of the Ramona Teachers Association, is worried that the failure of Proposition R will result in major cuts in teacher compensation and student programs and services, Voice of San Diego reported Monday.

“It’s going to be devastating to the communities and the schools,” Braye-Romero was quoted as saying. “We have a problem that needs to be solved and it's not a problem that can be solved by just making cuts.”

Ramona Unified schools Superintendent Robert Graeff said the district has no “Plan B” after voters faild to pass Proposition R, a $66 million bond issue that would have financed school improvements and paid back monies previously borrowed to build two new schools, Ramona Community and Hanson Elementary.

The loan Ramona took out was similar to the capital appreciation bonds that have proven so controversial in recent months. The district didn't make a single payment on its loan until 2008 and interest piled up, Voice of San Diego reported.

“We don’t have the resources to pay for that,” Graeff told Voice. “The plan was to pass Prop. R.”

At a forum last week held in the Ramona Library, the Voice of San Diego said Graeff dismissed the idea of consolidating schools, saying that abandoned buildings would only cause an "eyesore" to the community.

Voters in the Ramona Unified School District favored Prop. R by a tally of 7,737 to 7.551 (50.6 percent to 49.4 percent) but fell short of the 55 percent approval needed for passage.

Read more about the school forum and what Graeff and others had to say over at the Voice of San Diego.

Jane Tanaka MD December 10, 2012 at 08:24 PM
The strong impression I had after attending the public forum, held last Wednesday ,was that there are issues of TRUST/DISTRUST between the teacher's union, the RUSD administration/school board and the public, and thus lack of cohesion in a common purpose. Extreme polarization in the media does not help distrusting parties, who need to come together, to overcome their distrust. It only helps to maintain and strengthen the distrust. The parties speaking to each other in an issue specific (not personalized) way, as they did during this meeting, was a good first step however. I was a bit disappointed that the Board is " still licking its wounds," according to our Superintendent, but look forward to hearing what solutions they propose during this week's RUSD Board Meeting.
sandra j December 11, 2012 at 06:58 AM
I trust (i.e. expect) the schools to operate within their budget. The budget shortfall was not a surprise to them, yet they failed to adequately plan for it. The schools seemed to trust (i.e. believe) we would hand them more money (and we have via prop 30) and the failure of prop R apparently was a surprise to them. They should have expected this outcome. The district is clearly in trouble, but the teachers somehow don't trust (i.e. accept) the administration's numbers. That probably has something to do with how much pay the board has authorized for the administrators. Their entire model is based on an expectation of growth that has not materialized and in fact has gone into a steep decline. The teachers and administrators need to accept a difficult but necessary salary and benefits reduction, at least until things turn around. If some of them can't accept that, then let them move on. There are plenty, and I mean plenty, of young, energetic, highly skilled teachers and other staff available at a much lower price in today's job market. Let's see the district keep its spending at, or even under, its projected income for a couple of years. Perhaps after that they can successfully pass their first bond. The board and adminstration don't like imposing reductions on teachers or themselves. They need to accept what I believe: that is their job. Love it or leave it.
greg Chick December 11, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Personally and professionally I think if the public knew how much the water bill was for all the outdoor irrigation they would vote to cut the water waste not the teachers. Options exist that are not discussed, San Diego County school dist. implemented irrigation/outdoor water options and saved millions of dollars. If I had a link for this I would post it. The program used is documented. I might add that the program did include cuts in employees, but grounds expenses such as mowing, fertilizing, water etc. NOT teachers. I have nothing against the maintenance crew, but the issue here needs to be education, not department head desires. I do not profess to have all the answers, just one. Greg Chick
solar1 December 11, 2012 at 04:54 PM
We have not seen the worse yet. California State Controller John Chiang has announced that total state revenue for the month of November 2012 fell $806.8 million, or 10.8%, below budget. Democrats thought they could hammer “the rich” by convincing voters to pass Proposition 30 to create the highest state income tax in the nation. But it now appears that high income earners have already “voted with their feet” by moving themselves and their businesses out of state, resulting in over $1 billion shortfall in corporate and income taxes last month and the beginning of a new financial crisis. Passage of Proposition 30 set off euphoria and expectations of higher spending for public employees. The California Teachers’ Association (CTA) trumpeted: “California students and working families won a clear victory today as voters clearly demonstrated their willingness to invest in our public schools and colleges and also rejected a deceptive ballot measure aimed at silencing educators, other workers and their unions.”
sandra j December 11, 2012 at 05:40 PM
if you're going to cut and paste, at least cite your source. we can tell which sentences weren't written by you by their lack of grammatical errors. http://gopthedailydose.com/2012/12/08/despite-tax-increase-california-state-revenues-in-freefall/
Jane Tanaka MD December 11, 2012 at 05:40 PM
During last week's public meeting, our Superintendent projected that due to Proposition R funds, that for 2012-2013 , the RUSD budget would be either balanced or at a deficit of just under a million dollars , instead of a 4 to 6 million dollar deficit. So this is not good news.
sandra j December 11, 2012 at 05:56 PM
jane, he was referring to prop 30, not prop R.
solar1 December 11, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Sorry bout that sandra j. By the way, I believe that w should have been capitalized.
sandra j December 11, 2012 at 06:04 PM
here's your link: http://www.sandi.net/cms/lib/CA01001235/Centricity/Domain/79/Other%20Fact%20Sheets/Water%20Fact%20Sheet%2012-10.pdf perhaps RUSD should take a look at these options, but considering that their current budget allocates $41 million for employee salaries and benefits against projected income of $42 million, there appears to be only two solutions -- get more money or pay out less. the voters' rejection of the first is a mandate for the second.
Jane Tanaka MD December 12, 2012 at 05:06 AM
Yes, you are right. Thank you.

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