Bigger class sizes, no teacher raises at MV Whisman | June 25, 2010 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - June 25, 2010

Bigger class sizes, no teacher raises at MV Whisman

by Nick Veronin

Last week, Mountain View elementary and middle school officials approved next year's budget, which aims to make do with dwindling state funding and falling tax revenues by increasing class sizes, cutting funding to programs and scaling back staff.

The Mountain View Whisman School District board, at the June 17 meeting, approved the 2010-11 budget as proposed by Craig Goldman, the chief financial officer.

While the district's teachers haven't had a raise in five years, the president of the teachers' union raised no qualms about the budget at the meeting.

The district has budgeted to spend about $39.2 million in the 2010-11 school year, Goldman said, down from $41.7 million last year. However, that number should rise as the school district receives additional revenue, including donations from the PTA and assorted fees and grants, he said.

Somewhere between five and 10 temporary teachers, who would likely have been rehired will not be returning due to the increasing class sizes, according to Donna Campbell, president of the Mountain View Educators Association, the teachers' union.

Class sizes for kindergarten through third grade will be bumped up from the current target of 20 students for every teacher to a 25-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio, Goldman said.

Campbell, who has been teaching in the district since 1997, gave credit to school officials for not laying off any probationary or tenured teachers, as many other local districts have done, but added that she felt the district could still be doing more for teachers.

"We have not had a raise in five years," Campbell said, a fact she and other teachers find particularly vexing when considering that the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District pays its teachers the highest salaries in the county. Mountain View Whisman ranks near the bottom of all 32 districts in Santa Clara County when it comes to teacher compensation.

She pointed to one of the district's official strategic goals: "Attract and retain a diverse, talented and caring workforce."

"You can't attract and retain teachers if you are one of the lowest-paying districts in the county," she said.

Goldman acknowledged that the base salary for teachers has not risen for five years, but pointed out that the district's cost to maintain teachers' total-pay packages, which include insurance and retirement benefits, have increased "significantly" over that same time period.

"The district's costs for full-family health coverage has gone up by almost $4,000 per employee over the past two years," he said.

Goldman said he felt the budget made the best of the bad financial hand the district has been dealt. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is attempting to close a $19.1 billion state deficit by making $12.4 billion in cuts. Reductions of billions of dollars will fall on K-12 schools statewide, directly and indirectly.

"The district has done a thorough analysis of state revenue, as well as federal and local funding," Goldman said. "We spent a great deal of time in planning, to ensure that we protect core programs."

Campbell said that she feels that the district's administration could afford to make cuts to its staff, although she was reluctant to name any specific positions.

"Most teachers would rather see administrative positions cut than lose teachers."

Administrators aren't the ones teaching the students, she reasoned. "To cut back on teachers — it's all basically kind of a slap in the face.'

"We run a fairly lean administrative staff," Goldman said in response.

Next month, he said, as he moves to fill the position of superintendent left by Maurice Ghysels, one administrative position will be eliminated. Shaw-Lee Ouyang, currently the director of finance for the district, will take Goldman's old position. Ouyang's old position will be left unfilled. A new title will be created for Goldman's old job: chief business officer.

"School sizes are going up, but there haven't been any increases in school administrative staff," he said.

Regardless, for Campbell, the problem remains.

"To me, as an educator, cuts in education are never appropriate," Campbell said. "But you have to convince the governor of that. And until you do, cuts in education will continue."


Posted by Just Teach, a resident of another community
on Jun 24, 2010 at 4:36 pm

I work in High Tech.....I have not had a raise in at least 5 years...


TEACH....I have a kid who goes to the High School, and the teachers aren't exactly world leaders,student leaders,or anything to write home about by any stretch of the imagination...maybe a pay decrease is ine line?

Posted by MV citizen, a resident of Jackson Park
on Jun 24, 2010 at 4:52 pm

one of the district's official strategic goals: "Attract and retain a diverse, talented and caring workforce."?
Totally wrong. Competency is the only criteria for a teacher.
Can out instructors teach a student how to solve a quadratic equation? Can our instructors teach our students to write a proper compositions, and in American English?
"Diversity" is pointless Political Correctness.
I also agree with Just Teach, quit whining.

Posted by le dude, a resident of Rex Manor
on Jun 24, 2010 at 6:20 pm

You get what you pay for. It's no different here. By today's standard, most people who could actually recognize a quadratic equation or teach students to write a proper compositions English would be over quallifed to teach in Mountain View given the poor pay-"near the bottom of all 32 districts in Santa Clara County when it comes to teacher compensation." The above posters therefore are incredibly naive. Probably the same ones who agreed to a parcel tax for small class sizes and and other measures meant to have direct impact on classrooms which is now all of a sudden a mute point.

Posted by irony, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 25, 2010 at 12:27 am

le dude... would that be a moot point?

Posted by Big Al, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 25, 2010 at 1:07 pm

How is it that neighboring areas can afford to pay their teachers more but MVWSD cannot? Quality teachers really do require higher wages if we expect to keep them.

Posted by Tea Partyer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 25, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Teachers are definitely not overpaid. There is money available for teachers' raises, but no one wants to admit it.

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!

Posted by Really?, a resident of Whisman Station
on Jun 26, 2010 at 6:59 am

Tea Partyer, nice job of recycling old misinformation. (How many times have you posted this same erroneous entry?) Do you really expect people to believe that in 2000 the superintendent was making only $5000 more than principals and was making $5000 less than the associate superintendent? Of course, 2000 was pre-merger and neither district had an associate superintendent, so you might as well make up whatever facts you want. By the way, why didn't you include the cost of health benefits or point out that administrators work 26-37 more days per year than teachers, but teachers get the same health benefits? How much have health benefit costs gone up during that time, and who has paid for that increase? I guess that ignoring facts or making them up is better for your "analysis" and effort to scapegoat administrators.

Posted by Tea Partyer, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 26, 2010 at 7:38 am

The information was taken right of the salary scales from 2000 and 2010. A FOIA request will get them for you Cost of health benefits applies to administrators as well, so your point is lost on that one. Explain the disproportionate raise in administration salaries, while teachers' salaries have stagnated. The district's jobs is to educate children, not pad administration salaries so they can get a plump retirement. It's people like you that have allowed the tax and spend mentality to take over. I guess the we are in the mess we are in for no reason at all. Next time, try addressing the salary spiking issue of the last two administrators who retired. Thankfully, it looks like that old trick will most likely be made illegal in the future according to the press.

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