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  • Thursday, August 06, 2009


    SPECIAL REPORT: OUSD and Teachers reach pay cut agreement

    A news service of Orange Net News /O/N/N/

    OUSD and Teachers reach pay cut agreement

    The Orange Unified School District and the teachers’ association, the Orange Unified Educators Association, have reached a tentative pay deal to eliminate four teacher staff days, thus reducing teachers’ annual salaries by approximately 2 percent. The Orange Unified School Board had approved a 2009-2010 in the black budget using the 2% pay cut for employees. Last month, OUSD Superintendent Dr. Renae Dreier announced that she had initiated a 2% pay cut for district administrators to take effect next month. It is unknown whether the Superintendent (who had stated earlier in the year that she would take a pay cut) included herself in the 2% pay cut. Dreier is in the second year of her $750,000 ($250,000 per year) salary contract.

    The agreement between the teachers and the district to cut all ready scheduled non-student staff development days means that the agreement will not affect student schedules. The recently passed state budget does make provisions for cutting back on student days.

    Sources in the OUSD District office report that no agreement has been reached yet between the district and the teachers on the proposed cut back of OUSD high school guidance counselors. Community members have opposed those cut backs. California and OUSD lag behind the nation in student-counselor ratios. In a recent reorganization during boom budget times, an extra high school vice principal was added to each of the OUSD high schools. Those positions and consolidation of the three remaining “small schools” have been seen as targets of parents in the community looking to avoid cuts that impact student services.

    OUSD must still reach agreements with the classified support staff on cutting wages for the current budget. OUSD Board Trustee Dr. Alexia Deligianni has submitted another proposal to cut OUSD Trustee compensation. The first proposal to cut the Trustee pay by 10% was defeated along a political alliances vote. Deligianni (who votes with the block that defeated the first proposal) has proposed a 2% cut that is being asked of all the OUSD employee groups.

    A news service of Orange Net News /O/N/N/

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    Orange Communication System /OCS/

    The news of the pay cut by way of furlough days was expected. However, I am horrified to hear at least one OUSD principal has already e-mailed staff asking them to volunteer to work on a furlough day. We need to educate the community that while most state offices are simply closing on furlough days, teachers are expected to volunteer their time. Yikes!
    Teachers should very clearly tell the district, no pay - no work. Period. High schools can do with one less asst. principal, they can not function with one less counselor.
    OUEA members did not approve the 2%paycut. In fact, they voted to keep things as they were for 08-09 with further negotiations. All changes in negotiations require a ratification vote before. Note that one of the days to be eliminated is being decided while certificated members are still on vacation. Surely, there will be compensation firmly discussed prior to OUEA members voting on this so-called "joint decision"and vote.
    Well, it is interesting to note that the EMPLOYEES have to "lead the way" by accepting pay reductions, while the School Board lags behind with Deligianni's "me too" proposal. I remember that Moffat, Nichols, and Smith TRIED to have the School Board take a Leadership role by setting an example with the 10% cut for School
    Board Members proposed a couple of months ago (after all, for a few hours of meetings per month they get a stipend AND FREE HEALTH BENEFITS), but Ledesma,Ortega and Deligianni just couldn't bring themselves to show the leadership that the community expected from them. Now, Deligianni thinks that they can claim some kind of "moral authority" AFTER THE FACT, but the bottom line is that the "new majority" on the board simply doesn't know how to be leaders. I guess we just have to leave THAT job to the people in the trenches.
    I actually have to support the boards decision on this and I was a huge supporter of the recall back in 2001. Times are tough and cuts have to be made temporarily. I would hope that when things turn around though that the pay will be returned.
    For the person posting 8/7/09 @ 12:44am, the district has never been sincere in their so-called interest in their employees and you're "hope" of it being returned at a later point, is foolish. Just because times are "tough" doesn't mean that cuts have to be made in this area. Make the cuts in other areas of waste, not certificated. Remember, they began with an attempt of a 3.75% cut which just "happens" to be the very same amount from a previous negotiating year. One has to stand firm for the sake of the kids and if cuts are made there, the morale of the teachers will go down and eventually the kids are stuck in the middle. Thankfully, most of the caring teachers work very hard to keep that influence out of their teaching hours. The district is attempting to set the stage for future negotiations, knowing full well now, what they will lay out at that time. The employees have to recognize that and remain strong in what is the right thing to take place, and a teacher salary cut surely is not!
    I don't understand "support the boards decision on this" -- the EMPLOYEES(Classified and Certificated) DECIDED to take a pay cut in order that OUSD would present a balanced budget to the County -- the SCHOOL BOARD (Ledesma, Ortega and Deligianni) DECIDED that there there was no reason to "lead the way" by cutting their OWN pay -- and, even though they only "work" a few hours a week THEY GET FULLY-PAID HEALTH BENEFITS!!! Classified empoyees have to do at leas 20 hours per week to qualify for benefits and MOST employees receiving benefits (Classified and Certificated) are FULL-TIME. Deligianni's proposal to cut the board stipend NOW is and hollow/empty gesture that comes TOO LATE to be onsidered "leadership" and IN FACT, the board has decided to fire several classified employees rather than actually pay for the health benefits that they don't qualify for by working.
    Oh, yeah..... and in case you don't "get it," it's not the pay cut that is the big issue here, it's the School Board's "leadership."
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