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Pay cut proposed for SDUSD Teachers and other staff. What about the bureaucrats?

Saturday, January 23, 2010
posted by Regor

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/jan/23/sd-teachers-asked-take-pay-reduction/

“Teachers and other San Diego school employees could take pay cuts next year of up to 8 percent to help offset a projected $93 million deficit, under a proposal presented to labor groups this week.”

Let’s look at this proposal. First of all, I’d like to know if the district has already made fiscal changes to their Cadillac benefit package (See my previous post about this- http://sdrostra.com/?p=2570. Also take a look at-http://sdrostra.com/?p=753). The district has one of the best benefit packages around; this includes 2 bonus checks during the year (If you can, please name some other government agency that has such a sweet plan). This kind of benefit package is unrealistic, but don’t blame the unions for it-blame the bureaucrats and board of education that approved it (I’m not aware of anyone holding a gun to their heads to force them to sign).

I feel the pain of the teachers and support staff (I worked for the District for 28 years). This kind of pay cut is going to hurt. But the big cut should occur to the overpaid bureaucrats that allowed the district to expand and expand and also the approval of the aforementioned contractual benefits.

It can be said that if we don’t pay the bureaucrats well, that they will go elsewhere. Well, let’s look at this mess the district is in. Maybe it would be to everyone’s advantage to let these bureaucrats go and to hire “new blood”. Maybe that kind of change would jump start some real change (Take a look at my previous comment about this-http://sdrostra.com/?p=655).

So what am I suggesting? First of all, we cut the salaries of the high level bureaucrats and the members of the board of education. We also reduce their perks. I mean, if they are making “good” money, why do we pay them a car allowance, for example? These leadership positions need to set the example FIRST. If they want to leave, let them and then hire “new blood”. Next, go to the unions and put the benefit and salary package on the table. And to ensure future adjustments, base salaries on the level of funds obtained from Sacramento (And this won’t make the District look like the “bad” guy so much). What do I mean? If Sacramento cuts funding, then salaries are adjust down. If increases in funding occurs, then salaries are adjusted upwards.

And finally, we need to seek real budget reform in Sacramento. We need realistic budgets that are REALLY balanced without the normal “smoke and mirrors” approach. Of course this means fiscal responsible and conservative leadership. Passing the buck to future generations is not leadership. Balancing a budget without smoke and mirrors and putting money away for a rainy day is leadership and that is what I was taught growing up. You know, my parents were pretty smart.

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9 Responses to “Pay cut proposed for SDUSD Teachers and other staff. What about the bureaucrats?”

  1. sdteacher says:

    I work for SDUSD and I DO NOT get a bonus check twice a year! no other teachers do either! and we our salary into the classroom to reward kids and engage and encourage them. get your facts straight before you post FALSE information for all to see!

  2. regor says:

    Well then, apparently the district finally got rid of it after 2007, because I still got mine in 2007.

  3. regor says:

    Oh, did I ever say that teachers are not doing a good job in my post? I know that teachers use their own monies in the classroom. May I suggest you reread my post and not try to read stuff into it. What I posted is correct as of 2007 and probably still so. I tend not to talk too much to my teacher friends about work, but hearing their complaints tend to show me that things are still the same. May I suggest you post an article suggesting how the district could save money??

  4. alger says:

    How much do you think School Board members are paid? They actually get only a small stipend for each meeting – they are not paid a salary.

    And who are all these bureaucrats you are talking about? Please be specific because if you are talking about the superintendent, he’s gone and so are most of the people who negotiated the “Cadillac benefits.”

  5. Sam says:

    SANDAG just gave their chief of staff a gazillion dollar raise.

  6. regor says:

    Are you stating that you don’t think the ones that approved such programs and benefits should see a cut in salary and benefits? I recall just a few months ago that the board turned down a request of one of the members of the board to fly to China for an educational conference. I applaud them for that. We’re living in tough times. If the board wants to cut salaries, then they need to make cuts elsewhere, starting with the conferences that so many administrators still go to (My sister is heading to a conference in the Bay Area. How can the District justify such an expense when they are proposing pay cuts? Sure, a conference isn’t much money, but saving pennies can add up after awhile). My big issue is how government tends to forget that the taxpayers do not have an infinite amount of cash. Better forecasting and planning and living a much more fiscally conservative life can make future bad times, not so bad.

    But once again, a major source of the District’s problems lies with the inability of Sacramento to actually solve the budget crisis. Raiding other governmental agencies to balance their budget, with totally no regards to how it’s going to impact the agencies that they raid, is not responsible leadership. Mandating a real solution THIS year and getting it is needed. The problem is that government has problems with cutting programs that they created or expanded during good times. Government finds it easier to raise taxes than to cut. This is why we need real reform in Sacramento, setting budget projects based upon pessimistic projections instead of optimistic projections.

    I’m offering up my suggestions. If you don’t like my suggestions, then please post yours. Part of the problem is that people like to complain, but they don’t offer any solutions to the problem.

  7. alger says:

    regor,

    Again you haven’t named the people responsible. It is easy to point at “bureaucrats,” but who exactly are you talking about. Your originally article even suggested cutting the salary of school board members, but they don’t even get paid a salary. You are simply taking wild swings in the dark.

    You asked for suggestions so I’ll give you some, but first I’ll tell you what I wouldn’t do. I wouldn’t cut the salary of the teachers; they are the ones most responsible for our children’s learning. Paying them less than your gardener will not encourage the best and brightest to enter the teaching profession.

    What I would do is give individual schools more control over how they spend their money and then hold them accountable for the results. You know, local control – Sacramento should divide the money equally per capita amongst all the school districts in the state. The districts should then do the same (accounting for the different needs of high schools, middle schools and elementary schools) for each of their schools – no strings attached except that a minimu mandated amount must be spent in the classroom.

    Then I would eliminate half (a generalization, I know) of each district’s assistant superintendents and each school’s assistant principals. The same can be done with the “assistants” in the statewide superintendent’s office.

    Next, I would allow the teachers to develop an objective criteria by which we could judge all the teachers’ performance. Those not cutting it would be let go.

    There is more that can be done, but the above would be a great start. Cutting salaries and eliminating benefits for teachers will not result in a better education for our children. You would think that would be obvious.

  8. regor says:

    Alger:

    A very fine response and I agree with you. I look back to when I went to school in SDUSD from the late 60s to the 70s and I, along with my brother and sister, all thought we got a good education. Having come from a family of educators, I know the bit about less pay, but as I stated originally, (and as you said), the cuts and consolidation needs to be up high. There are too many layers.

    There was a report that came out not too long ago about the accounting practices of the district. Apparently a lot was still being done by hand instead of spreadsheets like Excel. The District talks about technology, but it seems like they are still in the dark ages elsewhere.

    I liked your comment about allowing the teachers to develop an objective criteria by which we could judge all the teachers’ performance. Such a forward step instead of letting management set the standards and then juggle students to punish teachers they don’t care for.

    I’m glad that my comments have sparked some interesting ways to save money for the district. Too bad that I doubt that the District will actually use any of the suggestions that have been listed.

  9. Jim Sills says:

    Just for the Record…

    The 5 trustees of the San Diego Unified School
    District receive an annual salary of $18,000.

    And that’s no swing in the dark. Just the facts.

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