Alpine Union School District Teachers announce their preparation to strike at board meeting
By: G. L. Voga
For The Alpine Sun
The AUSD board meeting was called to order on January 16, 2014 at 6:15 p.m. The chairman reported in closed session they hired two teachers for Common Core and one teacher for AEK.
Sharon Haven reported on the Alpine Education Foundation. They are planning to have the Mardi Gras Ball again this year on March 22, 2014 and the Parade the weekend of March 15/16th. They will have the Hogwarts program again this year. They are also looking for ways to generate more money for the schools.
Chris Loarie gave a report on the K12 Solution. They are looking to wrap up the last of the signatures needed. As soon as the signatures are verified there will be 2 meetings within 60 days, one in Alpine and one at Grossmont. He said the community has to put a positive spin on bringing the students back to the Alpine schools. Grossmont is spending the bond money and the K12 Solution is hoping to get in on that.
Rob Turner reported there will be no money next year for the LCFF. As of now there is still over $600,000 deficit in the budget. They are waiting for the Governors proposal which comes out every January. There is no new money for the 2013-14 budget. The governor is eliminating the deferrals this year, which means the AUSD will be getting the cash that hasn’t come in the last few years. However, this will not change the budget. In the 2014-15 school year, the Governor is proposing a 28% gap funding which means a 9 1/2 % increase, which is a lot of money. There will not be any funding for the Common Core, but the governor will be funding the Continuous Appropriations, which is real dollars. Some of the problem with that is we always have to wait for the funding to come in. They have just now received the balance of the $200,000 that really was due last year.
Part of the problem with the AUSD not getting as much money as other schools is because of the Low Income and the ELL (English Language Learners) students. Many schools have 50% and higher for the Low Income and ELL whereas AUSD only has about 31%, and the Gap is figured on the percentages. This year they have not had to borrow any money for salaries, but Rob Turner expects to have to borrow for the May and June expenses. He thought they would have to borrow in November but the Common Core funds came in and that took care of the expenses at that time.
Parents and teachers spoke of the money that is being spent copying boxes of work sheets preparing for a strike. They are wondering where the funds are coming from. They also said the substitute teachers that will be hired if there is a strike will be making over twice as much per day as a teacher does - from where is that additional money coming. Parents said they will not be sending their children to Alpine schools with substitute teachers they will not know, nor how the subs work with children. The parents are angry and said to the board, do you think anyone will vote for you again since you are going along with all that the Superintendent has done. One suggestion was to close Creekside.
Teachers showed that they really have taken a 35% total cut in salary, and had hoped to talk with Caruthers about his article which stated the figures were flatly untrue. Now they have hired new teachers, talk of a Computer Lab going in - again, where is the money coming from. The teachers are also wondering why Administration figures are never shown when everyone else’s salaries are published.
CSEA has been in negotiations with the District and will have more meetings for negotiations. ATA initiated the meeting in December. They were accused of refusing to negotiate, that never happened. Pelligrino had said there would be 4 meetings before this nights’ meeting, however none has happened. Now, the earliest the district can meet is January 31st. ATA wants to resolve this matter now. Has the board authorized putting the meetings off until January 31? If so, that is very sad. ATA still asks, why can’t a fair, reasonable settlement be reached? ATA had a membership meeting with 80% of teachers attending. 83% of those attending voted to go on strike. ATA does not want to strike, but we will if we have to.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:05 p.m.