News

Tough decisions ahead for MV Whisman

Schools face bigger class sizes, cut programs to meet tight budget

Local elementary and middle schools are considering cutting programs and raising class sizes in response to state budget cuts, chief financial officer Craig Goldman told Mountain View Whisman district trustees last week.

Goldman, who will take over as superintendent in July, predicted the district's budget for the 2010-11 school year would be about $38.7 million, down $3 million compared to last year.

After factoring in rising compensation and health care costs for district employees, Goldman said the total gap from last year's budget will total about $3.5 million.

The budget reductions mean that the school board will have "to distinguish between what's important and what's essential," and make decisions accordingly, Goldman said.

One key decision is whether -- and where -- to increase class sizes. The board is considering bumping up kindergarten, first-, second- and third-grade classes from the current target of 20 students to a 25-to-1 student-teacher ratio.

"It's reasonable to accept larger class sizes at K-3 than to add additional students at grades 4-8, which already have larger class sizes," Goldman explained.

Goldman cited the 29-month recession and a "bad year" for state tax collectors, in his budget assessment. And while he found cause for optimism in the slowly rebounding national economy and growing job market, he estimated that California, with the third largest unemployment rate in the country, could take up to five years to fully recover.

Reflecting Goldman's assessment, last month Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger revised his state budget proposal, which is attempting to close a $19.1 billion budget gap with a combination of federal funds, borrowing, sales of state assets and about $12.4 billion in cuts -- which means many, if not all, of the state grants the district is eligible to receive may not come in next year.

Usually, state funds help pay for programs like community based English tutoring, school safety, violence prevention and gifted and talented education (GATE). The state has funded grants for instructional materials, helping teachers earn their credentials and other improvements in prior years, but the district is not counting on any of that money, which adds up to about $1.5 million, Goldman said.

For textbooks and other instructional materials, the school district will use the remaining half of the $1.5 million they received as part of the state Fiscal Stabilization Fund. The district will also have a carryover of about $360,000 in federal special education stimulus funding from the 2008-09 school year. In all, Goldman estimates that will make up for about a third of the $3.5 million gap.

Goldman said the district is also planning to use $1.3 million from the local parcel tax to help fill the gap.

In other cases, such as with the GATE program, the district will look to parents for donations. Ultimately, some programs will not receive any funding next year, he said.

While some contract teachers may not be rehired next year, Goldman said, no salaried teachers will be laid off. To save money, administrators and teachers have agreed to changes in their sick-leave benefits, as have classified employees such as custodial, transportation, and food service staff.

Goldman also said that state budget cuts to social services could indirectly burden the school district.

"The question that's out there is whether cuts in social services will have an impact on school services," he said.

The governor's May budget revision proposal calls for the elimination of CalWORKs, the state's welfare program for the poor; $750 million in cuts to Medi-Cal, the state's primary health care program for low-income residents; and $602 million in cuts to the state's county mental health services. The school district may end up picking up some of this slack, Goldman said, as low-income children may not receive adequate medical or mental health services and food subsidies.

Next year's change in the district's elementary school bell schedules should also provide the district with some financial relief, as two bus drivers will now be able to do the work of three, freeing up the third driver to run special education bus routes, which were formerly handled by two pricier, private contractors.

At next Thursday's meeting, the board of trustees will be presented with a finalized 2010-2011 budget to consider for approval.

Comments

Posted by the299crew, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 11, 2010 at 1:02 pm

This is a very well written article. Thank you Voice for the update.

I think one thing that can be added is that many of ther Mountain View parecle-assessment and property tax-paying families are pretty much feeling all taxed out. We pay boatloads of money to the County, the State, and the Feds, and they seem to piss it away into crevices that many of us just cannot seem to understand.


Posted by JIM, a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2010 at 2:22 pm

CUT THE PRESCHOOL PROGRAM AT CASTRO.


Posted by James, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jun 11, 2010 at 2:23 pm

We don't even notice the parcel tax compared to the county property tax, just raise the parcel tax, it's all going to go to teacher salaries and lower class sizes. I've seen people driving $250,000 supercars around mountain view, that's like 3 teachers salaries.


Posted by @ Jim, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 11, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Although it SOUNDS like a good idea to cut preschool instead of K-12, the fact of the matter is that when kids do not go to preschool, they are not ready for kindergarten.

Kindergarten is not what it used to be. The State expects kinders to read by the end of the year. This year, the kinders will go to school nearly a full day (8:30-2). Without preschool, those kids will not even know how to stand in line, sit in circle time, do work at a table alone, etc. It would make kindergarten much harder on our teachers.

And, someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I am pretty sure that MVWSD does not pay any money for that program. It is state run. It is on their school site, but they do not use any of their funds to run it.


Posted by le dude, a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 11, 2010 at 5:39 pm

"And, someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I am pretty sure that MVWSD does not pay any money for that program. It is state run. It is on their school site, but they do not use any of their funds to run it."

This is the mentality that is bankrupting this school district, city, state and country. For some reason if tax dollars can be pulled from some other state or federal program, then it's as if the school district somehow saved taxpayers' money. It's just robbing Peter to pay Paul.


Posted by Logic, a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2010 at 8:24 am

"Without preschool, those kids will not even know how to stand in line, sit in circle time, do work at a table alone, etc."

PLEASE.

A child really goes to preschool to learn how to stand in a line, sit in circle time and work at a table alone?

My grandchildren never went to preschool. One is a teacher and the other is a scientist. They made it without Preschool and they can even read!

This is why California is broke?

Something has to be cut and Preschool is the most logical area.

Here's an idea: Maybe parents can help out a little more with their own child.

Eliminate Preschool.


Posted by @ Logic, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 12, 2010 at 11:33 am

"My grandchildren never went to preschool. One is a teacher and the other is a scientist. They made it without Preschool and they can even read!"

That's true, because when your grandchildren were little, circle time, waiting their turn, learning how to use scissors, etc. is the stuff they did in Kindergarten. Now kids in Kinder are learning to read and do addition, which is what your grandkids did in first grade. That did not happen even 10-15 years ago. So Preschool is the "new" Kindergarten.


Posted by @ last poster, a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Like I said, that is why California is broke. Preschool is a luxury, not a necessity. Why do kids need to read in kindergarten? What is the damn rush? California can't afford it at the moment. Something has to go, what do you suggest to cut?


Posted by @ Logic, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 12, 2010 at 1:37 pm

to @last poster -- Well, I agree that it's not a good thing to be pushing the Kinders to read and do math.

I also don't think that's why California is broke. The state pays for very few kids to attend preschool. The vast majority of preschools are private and parents pay for them. The state is providing funding for some low-income kids -- not most, that's for sure -- to try and provide a way for the poorest kids to keep up with what the middle- and upper-class parents are going to provide for their kids anyway. Right now, since most kids whose parents can afford it at all attend at least preschool, those kids start Kindergarten with a huge advantage over kids who were not able to attend preschool. Which causes big problems right off the bat -- one factor in the achievement gap.


Posted by Steven, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 12, 2010 at 3:38 pm

About 42% of our elementary kids come from disadvantage families. 2% is the percentage for the peers they will meet up with (from Los Altos) when they go to high school. I went to Cal, my wife The Farm and my kids haven't been under any economic or educational disadvantage. Guess what- most Huff and Bubb parents 'don't need' public or private preschool (and could probably git by (pun) wid out Kidgarden).
Logic, I can tell you, from working in the schools, the end of kindergarden (for worse) is now considered what the "State Curriculum Commission" used to consider the end of 1st grade. With more 'failing standards' students the residential property values in this city will be further lowered relative to PA and LA. So I guess we have to work harder (with less public money per child).

P.S. There are no School Tax Diversion Districts for businesses in PA or LA.


Posted by Ms. Reality, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 12, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Hey!

How about a 20% REDUCTION IN WAGES to the teachers and FIRE 20% of the administration.

DUH!

That is what a real business does, didn't you folks go to college and take an economics class?


Posted by MV teacher, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jun 12, 2010 at 8:16 pm

I don't know why this article says that the district is "considering raising class sizes". Teachers have already been told it's happening. I have 28 students on my class list for next year. This year I had 20. I also don't know why this article says, "After factoring in rising compensation and health care costs for district employees, Goldman said the total gap from last year's budget will total about $3.5 million." We were told by the teachers union in May that we would not be receiving a pay increase this year. We have not had a pay increase in over 5 years (including any pay increase for increase in cost of living). We were also told by the union that we were very lucky to keep our benefits. The district wanted to cut back on benefits, but the union fought hard in negotiations to maintain our current level of benefits for the health of ourselves and families. I don't mean to complain, but let's not pretend this is a "consideration" when it is in fact a reality. If you want to support the education of your own children or the children in your community, please attend a board meeting and show the "powers that be" that increasing class-size will only decrease teacher contact time with the students.


Posted by MV teacher, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jun 12, 2010 at 8:24 pm

P.S. - Please ask the board members why they are keeping your tax money in a "reserve fund". You should take a look at the numbers for yourselves. It is astonishing.

And Ms. Reality - if you reduced some of the MVW teacher salaries by 20%, they would no longer be able to afford to be teachers because they would no longer be able to pay the rent (myself included).

Maybe we should apply to be firefighters/cops...


Posted by MV teacher, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jun 12, 2010 at 8:58 pm

I wrote these comments and am now worried I put too much info. Please help me put my worries at ease (I don't want to be fired) and erase the posts ASAP!

Thank you!


Posted by eric, a resident of another community
on Jun 12, 2010 at 10:48 pm

"P.S. - Please ask the board members why they are keeping your tax money in a "reserve fund". You should take a look at the numbers for yourselves. It is astonishing. "

um, because its good business practice. Because dipping into reserves wont solve long term state-level funding issues. Because the state has withheld funding for months in the past, making reserves kinda important.


Posted by Ms. Reality, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 13, 2010 at 8:31 am

P.S. - Please ask the board members why they are keeping your tax money in a "reserve fund".

Are you joking? Do you have a savings account to use for an EMERGENCY?
Over paying is not an emergency. Over hiring is not an emergency.

You are over paid and there are too many administrators. This is simple business.

I would rather have a job at 80% pay than no job a 0% pay.


Posted by le dude, a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 13, 2010 at 8:58 am

yeah, right, as if the rest of the government has reserve funds. Only if they did, we wouldn't be in mess we're in. Where's the State of Calif's reserve fund you know-it-alls? Oh, I get it, this fiscally responsible action only applies to public education! We are all a bunch of pushovers to believe it.


Posted by MV Mom, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 13, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Teachers, I want you to know that not everyone in the community thinks you are overpaid. I find some of the comments on this forum to be disappointing. I don't think the first response to meeting the budget crisis should be cutting teacher salaries. I do think some cuts could be made at the district office, starting with the disappointing superintendent.

Everything in this article is old news. Parents were told months ago about the increased class sizes. I'm glad to see that the bell schedules have been standardized and staggered to allow for streamlined transportation. I wonder why this wasn't done years ago. I have a feeling that there are other issues like this, happening on a district wide level, that could be fixed to save money.


Posted by Tea Partyer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 13, 2010 at 9:06 pm

Teachers are definitely not overpaid. Administrators, like Police and Fire unions, are the ones robbing us blind.

Between 2000 and 2010, teacher salaries in MVWSD increased roughly 10%. That doesn't even keep up with cost of living increases. During the same period, admin salaries increase more than 30%! Don't believe me? It's all public domain knowledge. Take a look:

-2000 beginning teacher $40,000
-2010 beginning teacher $45,000

-2000 most senior and educated teacher $72,000
-2010 most senior and educated teacher $82,000

-2000 Principal $95,000
-2010 Principal $113,000 plus up to $3,000 ($1,500 X 2) for MA and PHD = 116,000, plus discretionary bonus up to $2,000 + expense/mileage/cell phone allowance up to $3,000 per year ($250 PER MONTH) which could bring the grand total to $120,000!

-2000 Associate Superintendent $104,000 plus $1,000 for PHD = $105,000
-2010 Associate Superintendent 134,000 plus 3,000 for MA and PHD = $136,00, plus discretionary bonus up to $2,000 + expense/mileage/cell phone allowance up to $3,000 per year ($250 PER MONTH) which could bring the grand total to $141,000!

The superintendent you ask?

2000 around $100,000
2010 around $190,000 plus all the expense and bonus fillers which pushes the $200,000 mark.

BTW, all figures for administrators are rolled together into their top salary for retirement, to include expenses. The last two big wigs to retire back in 2005, even rolled in the cost of their health benefits raising their final salaries another approx. $15,000 (technically legal loop-hole, but ethically wrong)! So we the taxpayers will be paying their retirement into the sunset for the rest of their lives! TEACHERS GET NONE OF THIS! SO GET EDUCATED PEOPLE AND WAKE UP TO THE LOOTING OF THE TAXPAYERS TRUST AND WITNESS THE FUTURE OF PUBLIC EDUCATION BEING FLUSHED DOWN THE TOILET!

As for teachers in 2010, they will be working even harder for the same pay since 2005 with more students in their charge while the district office assaults their benefit packages asking them to contribute more.

Private schools is the smart choice folks. It's really that simple.


Posted by Robin Iwai, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 14, 2010 at 9:14 am

Hey Tea Partyer and ALL READERS,

Yes, private schools are one option, but another option is to ATTEND SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS!

This week the board will...
- honor the outgoing superintendent
- approve salary schedules for next year
- consider ways to raise money to renovate(recently-renovated) facilities
- approve contracts with employee's unions
- approve the 2010-2011 budget

I don't see below any discussion of how to keep class sizes small (which was a major parcel tax promise). Apparently the district plans to balance the budget on the backs of their teachers. Hope to be proved wrong!

Please go see for yourself!

*****************

Mountain View Whisman School District

Education for the World Ahead

Board of Trustees ̶ Regular Meeting

750-A San Pierre Way

June 17, 2010

5:00 p.m.

Demonstrate, daily, a relentless commitment to the success of every child.

Academic Excellence « Strong Community « Broad Worldview

Any person wishing to speak on any item on the agenda will be granted up to three (3) minutes at the time the item appears on the agenda, or in the case of a non-agendized item, may do so under Community Comments. Comments for each agendized item will be taken for 10 minutes, with extra time allowed for translation, as needed. Please see the Board's "welcome" brochure for protocol. Prior to addressing the Board, each speaker is requested to complete a speaker card (located on the counter near the door), give it to the Superintendent's Executive Assistant and state their name for the record. Persons addressing the Board are asked to speak from the podium provided for that purpose.

Under Approval of Agenda, item order may be changed. All times are approximate.

I. CALL TO ORDER 5:00
A. Pledge

B. Roll Call

C. Approval of Agenda

II. SPECIAL RECOGNITION 5:05

The Board will honor Maurice Ghysels for his five years of service as superintendent of the Mountain View Whisman School District.

A. Resolution No. 1421.6/10, Recognition of Superintendent Maurice Ghysels
The Board will consider approval of a resolution in recognition of the contributions of Superintendent Maurice Ghysels over the past five years.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: That the Board approve and adopt Resolution No. 1421.6/10, Recognition of Superintendent Maurice Ghysels.

A brief reception will follow.

III. OPPORTUNITY FOR MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC TO ADDRESS THE 5:45
BOARD CONCERNING ITEMS ON THE CLOSED SESSION AGENDA

IV. CLOSED SESSION 5:50

A. Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release

B. Potential Litigation:

Significant exposure to litigation pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 54956.9: two cases

C. Public Employee Performance Evaluation: Superintendent

V. RECONVENE OPEN SESSION 7:00

A. Closed Session Report

VI. COMMUNICATIONS 7:05
A. Employee Organizations

1. Mountain View Educators Association

2. California School Employees Association

B. Community Comments

This is the time reserved for community members to address the Board on items that are not on the agenda. The Board and Administration welcome this opportunity to listen; however, in compliance with the Brown Act, the Board is not permitted to take action on non-agenda items.

Speakers are requested to complete a speaker card and state their name for the record.

If there are additional comments after 10 minutes have elapsed, this item may be continued after all the action and discussion items are completed.

C. Legislation

VII. REVIEW AND DISCUSSION

A. Report to the Board from the Mountain View Whisman School District Special Tax 7:15
Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee ("Parcel Tax Oversight Committee")
The Board will receive a report from the Parcel Tax Oversight Committee on recommendations for planned Parcel Tax budget expenditures for 2010-11.

B. Financing Options for Student Facilities Improvement Plan Projects 7:35

The Board will hear options to fund projects identified by the Student Facilities
Improvement Plan, which was approved by the Board at the May 6, 2010 meeting.

C. Enrollment Update 7:55

The Board will receive information on enrollment for 2010-11.

D. Technology Update 8:15
The Board will receive information on activities of the technology department
during the 2010-11 school year.

VIII. REVIEW AND ACTION

A. Board Policy and Administrative Regulation No. 6163.4, Student Use of 8:35
Technology
The Board will consider approval of Board Policy and Administrative Regulation No. 6163.4, Student Use of Technology at first reading.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: That the Board approve Board Policy and Administrative Regulation No. 6163.4, Student Use of Technology at first reading as presented.

B. Approval of Tentative Agreement with the Mountain View Educators Association 8:45
The Board will consider approval of the Tentative Agreement with the Mountain View Educators Association, dated May 17, 2010.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: That the Board approve the Tentative Agreement
with the Mountain View Educators Association, dated May 17, 2010 as presented.

C. Mountain View Whisman School District Re-opener Proposal to Mountain View 8:55
Educators Association CTA/NEA for 2010-11
The Board will consider approval of the District's re-opener proposal for 2010-11 to the Mountain View Educators Association.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: That the Board approve the District re-opener
proposal for 2010-11 to the Mountain View Educators Association.

D. Budget Approval 9:05
The Board will consider approval of the 2010-11 Final Budget.

Public Hearing
The Board will hold a Public Hearing on the 2010-11 Final Budget.

RECOMMENDED ACTION: That the Board approve the Final Budget for 2010-11.

IX. CONSENT AGENDA 9:25

The following items will be handled with one action; however, any item may be removed from consideration by individual Board Members or the Superintendent. Copies of the applicable documents have been sent to the Board and will be available at the meeting.

A. Personnel Report

Certificated: one change of assignment, 11 extended year program special
education assignments
Classified: 36 extended year program special education assignment

B. Contracts
The Board will consider approval of contracts.

C. Salary Schedules for Certificated Management, Classified Management, Classified
Supervisory, Classified Confidential, Preschool Permit Teachers, Certificated,
and Classified
The Board will consider approval of salary schedules that reflect agreements for the 2010-11 school year.

D. Revised Local Educational Agency Plan Addendum
The LEA Plan Addendum has been modified to reflect input from the California Department of Education.

E. Disposal of Surplus Technology Equipment
The Board will consider disposal of obsolete and/or broken technology equipment.

F. Resolution Nos. 1419.6/10 and 1420.6/10, Authorizing Signatures
The Board will consider approval of a resolution authorizing signatures, which reflects a change in personnel.

G. Consolidated Application for Funding Categorical Aid Programs
The Board will consider approval of the Consolidate Application for Funding Categorical Aid Programs.

H. Board Policy and Administrative Regulation No. 6159.1, Procedural Safeguards
and Complaints for Special Education (Second Reading)
The Board will consider approval of Board Policy and Administrative Regulation No. 6159.1, Procedural Safeguards and Complaints for Special Education, which was approved at first reading on June 3, 2010.

I. Board Policy and Administrative Regulation No. 5145.1, Sexual Harassment
(Second Reading)
The Board will consider approval of Board Policy and Administrative Regulation
No. 5145.1, Sexual Harassment, which was approved at first reading on June 3, 2010.

J. Board Policy No. 4112.24, Teacher Qualifications Under the No Child Left Behind
Act (Second Reading)
The Board will consider approval of Board Policy No. 4112.24, Teacher Qualifications Under the No Child Left Behind Act, which was approved at first reading on June 3, 2010.

K. Board Bylaw No. 9270, Conflict of Interest
The Board will consider approval of Board Bylaw No. 9270, Conflict of Interest, which was approved at first reading on June 3, 2010.

L. CALPADS (California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System) Student Information
The Board will consider requesting CDS numbers for the following special programs: Slater Special Education Preschool, Home and Hospital Program, Independent Study Program.

M. Gifts

The District has received the following gifts:

· $10,535, donated by 98 GATE parents;

· Dictionaries valued at $934, donated by Ms. Donna Butcher;

· $180,000, donated by an anonymous donor to support GATE
and intervention programs.

X. COMMUNICATIONS 9:35

A. Board and Superintendent Updates

1. Board Members

2. Board President

3. Administration

a. Administrative/Student Services

b. Educational Services

c. Business Services

d. Superintendent

XI. CLOSING COMMENTS

XII. ITEMS FOR FUTURE AGENDAS

XIII. FUTURE BOARD MEETING DATES

August 19, 2010

September 2 and 16, 2010

October 7 and 21, 2010

November 4 and 18, 2010

December 9, 2010

XIIV. ADJOURNMENT 9:5
SPECIAL NOTICE

The Mountain View Whisman School District is dedicated to providing access and communication for all those who desire to attend Board meetings. Anyone planning to attend a Board meeting who requires special assistance or English translation is asked to call the Superintendent's Office at (650) 526-3552 at least 48 hours in advance of the time and date of the meeting.

Documents provided to a majority of the Governing Board regarding an open session item on this agenda will be made available for public inspection in the District Office, located at 750-A San Pierre Way during normal business hours.

AVISO ESPECIAL

El Distrito Escolar de Mountain View Whisman esta dedicado a proveer acceso y comunicación a todas las personas que deseen asistir a las reuniones de la Junta. Se pide que aquellas personas que planean asistir a esta reunión y requieren de asistencia especial llamen a la Oficina del Superintendente al (650) 526-3552 con por lo menos 48 horas de anticipación del horario y fecha de esta reunión, para así poder coordinar los arreglos especiales.

Los documentos que se les proveen a la mayoría de los miembros de la Mesa Directiva sobre los temas en la sesión abierta de éste orden del día estarán disponibles para la inspección pública en la Oficina del Distrito, localizada en el 750-A San Pierre Way durante las horas de oficinas regulares.

Kathi Lilga
Executive Assistant to the Superintendent
Mountain View Whisman School District
klilga@mvwsd.org
650-526-3552

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Posted by Anonymous, a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2010 at 10:00 am

The preschool program at Castro and all the other school sites in the district are funded directly by the State of California, Federal Head Start and First 5. These programs do not pull money away from any other district programs. If anything, the preschools save the district money in the long run by helping to close achievement gaps and serve children with special needs. Most of the spaces in the preschool classrooms are designated for students from low-income families and at least 10% of al spaces are given to children with special needs.

Yes, it is true that many children do well in kindergarten without the benefit of preschool. However, there are a large number of children that struggle when they do not get a preschool experience. Preschool builds a foundation for early academic and social skills. Ask a kindergarten teacher to tell you about the differences they see between children who've been to preschool and those who have not. While it may sound like a good idea for the state to cut or eliminate preschool funding, we will only end up paying more for those same students in the end. State & Federal Preschool plays a HUGE roll in leveling the playing field for students whose parents can't afford to send them to private school and whose parents haven't had enough education or experience themselves to be able to prepare their children at home.

Unless, you've been in one of these classrooms and worked with the children and their families, it would be very difficult for you to fathom how lucky you are to have had the educational advantages that you've had. Most of us have no idea how difficult life can be without a basic education and the general public has very little knowledge about what goes on in a high quality preschool classroom these days... preschool isn't what you remember it to be when you were there or even when your older children were there.

Cutting preschool funding would not solve anything!


Posted by Fed Up!, a resident of Jackson Park
on Jun 14, 2010 at 11:04 am

Let's not forget that the size of the district office has increased with more top dollar positions added between 2000 and 2010.

How many teachers were laid off or will not be hired back in the fall? Anywhere from 10 to 22 or more.

How many janitors have been laid off? The number escapes me, but I believe it was the equivalent of .5 per school?

How many bus drivers have been laid off? One I believe. Plus now all parents who work real jobs will find themselves having to push back there work day to accomodate school starting at 830! What happens if you have to be at work by 8AM? Not everyone can lead the Silicon Valley lifestyle of flex hours.

How many administrators or district office staff? ZERO!


Posted by @anonymous, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 14, 2010 at 12:25 pm

I know children that did not attend preschool that have been accepted into the GATE program. Their parents couldn't afford private school either.

I think you are referring to the hispanic population.

Sorry, we can't afford preschool.


Posted by Teacher Mom, a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2010 at 4:45 pm

MVWSD teachers are the lowest paid in Santa Clara County


Posted by Observer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 15, 2010 at 10:03 am

Two things:

1. "The Board will consider approval of a resolution in recognition of the contributions of Superintendent Maurice Ghysels over the past five years."

As far as I can tell, Ghysels was basically fired. So why the dog and pony show? He will never be a superintendent again.

2. "B. Contracts

The Board will consider approval of contracts. C. Salary Schedules for Certificated Management, Classified Management, Classified Supervisory, Classified Confidential, Preschool Permit Teachers, Certificated, and Classified. The Board will consider approval of salary schedules that reflect agreements for the 2010-11 school year."

It's funny how in the age of the internet, twitter, iphones, etc, how this is the limit of details on salary schedules that will be approved. Nothing stops the board from posting the details of what will be considered, so why don't they ahead of time. It's just a game whereby they keep the process as hidden from public view as possible until it's too late.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 15, 2010 at 1:10 pm

FYI- school board agendas are always posted on the District's website prior to a meeting, complete with backup information for each item. Here's the link:
Web Link


Posted by KD, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 15, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Now that MVWSD has achieved "basic aid" status, it should stop allowing children of non-Mountain View residents from attending its schools.

Back when the district was "revenue limit" and received $110-115 per student per day, I could see why MVWSD tried to expand their "client" base. In hindsight it probably didn't make economic sense and going forward, it certainly doesn't.

Although those at the high school district will deny it, there is good reason to believe that many of the 800 "additional students" that will be attending MV and LA high schools (and necessitating expenditures funded by Prop A) in the next couple of years are non-residents who have been allowed into the district by the MVWSD.







Posted by Robin, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 15, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Web Link

Take a look at Supporting Documents, page 69:

Certificated Management Salary Schedule
(Associate Superintendent, CFO, Directors, other administrators...

"Expense Allowance: $50 per month for cell phone + Mileage Allowance (Equal to the Base # of Miles X the IRS rate in effect January 1 prior to the start of the school year)"

Will the trustees on Thursday evening approve a budget that gives administrators a $50/month cell phone allowance and a Mileage Allowance ranging from 150-400 miles per month for a district that is no more than 5 miles from one end to the other??

While at the same time breaking their promise that Parcel Tax funds would be used to keep class sizes small?

I commented at a board meeting last year "people are going to ask if all the "fat" at the district office has been cut before you make cuts in the classroom"

The reply was "we'll be happy to talk about it over coffee" as they refused to answer this and other questions...about use of public funds during the Public Comment item at a public school board meeting.

I would love to be proven wrong that the district is spending money on administrative perks, instead of on student programs and services.

Yeah, cell phones for all administrators must be more important than special education aides and small classes.




Posted by Parent, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 15, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Robin: The school board never discusses anything not on the agenda at a meeting. No school board does. Never have, never will. I think it might actually be against the law to do this -- they can't discuss or take action on something if they have not notified the public in advance of the issue. So if you bring something up at Public Comment time, there's nothing they can do.

Teacher: The compensation increases they are talking about are probably the step-and-column, right? Those happen every year for eligible teachers, regardless of whether anyone is getting a cost-of-living increase. So there are increased compensation costs.

Also, I think you ARE luck to still have the benefits you have. People in the private sector -- who do NOT all make more money than teachers, by the way -- have been having benefits slashed, if they ever had any, year after year after year. Only the lucky few in companies that are flush with cash, and union employees, have decent benefits packages, or any benefits at all. And those are taking an increasing chunk out of workers' paychecks. So I'm afraid that, while I value teachers highly and don't think you're overpaid, I think you still have a better deal than most rank-and-file workers in America today.

KD: Doesn't matter if MVWSD lets students in on an intra-district transfer, the High School district will not. They don't get an automatic transfer in. If kids are from another district, they have to go to their home district high school after leaving 8th grade. Only kids who reside in the MVLA boundaries, or whose parents work for/teach in MVLA, LASD or MVWSD are admitted to MVLA schools. I'm sure the high school district looked at that information in projecting their enrollment increases.

Teacher Mom: "MVWSD teachers are the lowest paid in Santa Clara County" Could be, I see on one website that the average for SCC is higher than MVWSD. But I don't know if that average is skewed by some other districts having an older (more years of teaching) teacher base which would put more of them at the top of the range and skew the average upward? Any stats on that? It's hard to get the whole picture with one number.

Tea Partyer: Where do you find your info? I usually go to Ed-Data, but their info only goes up to 2008-2009.

Le dude: Not sure what your point is. Are you saying because no one else in state government has a reserve, the district should not? Anyone know how big the reserve is right now? I think state law mandates that the district keep a reserve. I think it's something like 3% they are supposed to keep.


Posted by James, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jun 15, 2010 at 6:36 pm


I calculated that MSWSD is funded at about 70% of the national average (based on cost of living index), which is mostly teacher salaries. One of the reasons the state of california is in such a fiscal mess is that they are turning out a poorly educated workforce. Education is highly correlated with GDP, if we don't improve the number of kids finishing school and going to college then the fiscal situation is just going to get worse.


Posted by Carl, a resident of Castro City
on Jun 15, 2010 at 7:31 pm

$600 a year for each administrator? My understanding on the cell phone issue is that it is so administrators can be available 24/7. The thing is, outside of work hours 90% of calls would fall under the unlimited rate if these bonehead administrators knew how to get themselves a good plan, this wouldn't be required. This all seems wrong.


Posted by Parent Too, a resident of Jackson Park
on Jun 15, 2010 at 8:10 pm

Good link Robin.

I found it interesting in the policy being present to the board on Conflict of Interest, there is nothing on personal relationships between supervisors and their subordinates. This board will never learn!

On that note, on discretionary stipends and a principal's movement on the salary scale as determined by the superintendent, I'd like to know how that dynamic played out with Ghysels in relation to raises and stipends given to Mizell over the last few year. Ooops. Maybe we shouldn't go there. There might have been a real conflict of interest.

Also consider that nearly all DO administrators are maxed out on their salary scale. Unlike teachers, they do everything they can to add on expense accounts and stipends etc to keep the cash flowing. Teachers maxed out just need to ride it out until the next round of negotiations.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 16, 2010 at 8:44 am

Folks,

There are some great ideas here, along with some uninformed whining. Why not put all of this creative energy to good use? Has any poster above considered running for school board? At least two seats are up this fall, and the process begins in just about a month. We've had several uncontested school board elections in MVWSD lately. I have trouble taking seriously those who only complain and want someone else to do something about it. Ours is a small city, so if you've got interest and time, fill out the paperwork and go door to door. If you don't have the time or interest, how about being more supportive of those who do!

As to administrator perks -- when all teachers give up work rules and act like true professionals, then all administrators should take a pay cut and pay there own expenses.


Posted by Esteban, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jun 16, 2010 at 10:26 am

"As to administrator perks -- when all teachers give up work rules and act like true professionals, then all administrators should take a pay cut and pay there own expenses."

Steve, you just exposed yourself as anti-teacher. So most teachers are nimrods and that justifies administrators getting higher salaries? Where's the return on that? So illogical I have trouble taking you seriously.

True professionals? Hmm... let's see... the supe sleeps with one his married principals and gaffs it off as not a conflict of interest.

Teachers are protective of what you call their work rules so they can free up more of their time to plan for their individual classrooms, students, and grading, rather than being nickle and dimed by one-size-fits-all approaches directed by the district office and a superintendent just looking to make a name for himself.

I hope you never run for school board.


Posted by Steve, a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 16, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Esteban--I'm not anti-teacher. I just find comparing 12 month administration compensation to 10 month teacher compensation a waste of time.

I don't support "unprofessional" interpersonal conduct in any setting, but I believe that has been addressed, whether quickly enough we could argue forever.

You are right, many teachers do go the extra mile on their own time. Administrators spend a lot of effort managing teachers who believe the best part of teaching is June, July, and August.

Since teacher salaries and benefits have proven to be somewhat "recession proof" compared to the private sector, I appreciate teachers who treat their profession professionally during the school year. Most of the professionals I work with in education consider 50 hours to be an easy week. Please join me in thanking the teachers you know who work that much. Unfortunately, I don't know enough of them.


Posted by parent, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 16, 2010 at 9:53 pm

"Has any poster above considered running for school board? At least two seats are up this fall, and the process begins in just about a month. We've had several uncontested school board elections in MVWSD lately."

I have never heard anything from the district or seen anything in the newspaper giving information on when, where, and how to run for school board.

What is the process and how does one find out about it?

ps - "ask the superintendent" or "call the district office" are not feasible answers


Posted by Stephanie, a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 17, 2010 at 7:57 am

Good point. Maybe the Voice could run a story on the process?


Posted by Another parent, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 17, 2010 at 3:47 pm

I have seen information in the past on how/when to run for school board. I just can't recall where, since there hasn't been an open seat for a little while, but I know more than once being notified of info sessions one can attend in Santa Clara County to find out how to run for school board.

The school district might even send these out. If you are not on the district's e-mail list, you can contact them and find out how to be added. Then you receive notification of board meetings, and other information.

Not sure why "call the district office" or even "ask a current school board member" are "not feasible options." No phone?


Posted by Christopher Chiang, a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 17, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Preschool, sometimes, money spent now is money saved later in reduced school and social services. Research on this has been done by many, particularly, University of Chicago Nobel laureate economist James Heckman: Web Link

If anyone has interest in running for the school board, you file papers at the SCC Registrar of Voters, just head to the main desk. I believe the deadline is Aug 6. I learn a lot from these message boards, but the frequent negativity is completely counterproductive. Most the school board members sacrifice hours each week of their time from their family to serve the community for negligible compensation. Challenge them, question them, but respect the hours they've put in. My wish is that everyone from here to the boardroom utilizes more research and less personal intuition in their school recommendations.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 18, 2010 at 7:45 am

Very well said, Christopher.


Posted by posted @ Chiang, a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2010 at 10:10 am

Unfortunately California is not in the position to save preschool OR rely on preschool to save our children (ha ha!) . . . . until the state is clear and free of debt.


Posted by eric, a resident of another community
on Jun 18, 2010 at 11:24 am

For all the people on this thread complaining about the district-- could we get a report on last night's board meeting? I'm assuming you were there.


Posted by parent, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jun 18, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I think the negativity on this message board results from people who ARE active in the district and who DO participate in activities at the district level, finding out that what people at the district office SAY (eg, "it's all about the kids" and what they actually DO (eg, spend thousands of dollars on administrative perks such as cell phones and transportation allowances) are two different things.

Go to some board meetings, share your ideas, and see for yourself if everyone there hasn't already decided before the meeting exactly what they think and how they will vote.


Posted by soon-to-be mvw parent, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 21, 2010 at 4:24 pm

There is such venom here about teacher / administrative pay. And so little venom about the outrage of increasing the class size for our young children by 25% or more in a single year.

There's been much documented about the importance of student:teacher ratios for young learners. How can we "afford" to NOT take public education more seriously?


Posted by eric, a resident of another community
on Jun 22, 2010 at 11:09 am

So, parent, you were clearly at the board meeting, right? And go regularly? How about an update?

soon-to-be, dont be fooled by the tone of this board. The overwhelming majority of us involved with the district are generally pleased, State funding cuts notwithstanding


Posted by Been There, a resident of Gemello
on Jun 22, 2010 at 1:57 pm

The problem with the board is that they don't have enough background on issues to adequately question the information that the district office puts out, much of which has been to the exclusive benefit of enriching administrator looking to make a name for themselves, such as with the current supe Ghysels. The board has approved so many off the pay-scale salary increases for district administrators while teachers have gotten none. The district has even sold the board on the creation of higher earning positions for administrators once they've maxed out their own pay scale. In short, there is no equivalent of a type of Congressional Budget Office to where the board can go for objective analysis. And even more weight is that thrown around by power parents in the more well off one parent working neighborhoods. You know the ones, those who are loitering about before, after, and during school making demands of the teachers and principals for the exclusive benefit of their children. The rest of us two-income working stiffs get the scraps.


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