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WVUSD Board Ratifies Agreement with Teachers for Furlough Days

Teachers will take two furlough days this year, four in 2013-14, and four in 2014-15 to help the district close a budget gap.

Walnut Valley Unified’s 650 teachers will take 10 furlough days total during the next three years in an effort to help the district get back on firm fiscal ground.

The Board of Trustees Wednesday night voted 5-0 to ratify the collective bargaining agreement with the Walnut Valley Educators’ Association.

The vote on the agreement follows several months of tough negotiations between the administration and the teacher’s unions that lead to impasse and prompted the district to bring in a mediator to broker a deal between the two sides.

Board President Helen Hall said in a news release that she feels the agreement is key for the district’s future.

"This is a huge step forward for the District," she said about the ratification of the agreement. "The future is looking bright and we are thrilled to be moving beyond our financial challenges."

Walnut Valley teachers approved the agreement on Feb. 8. Under the plan, teachers at all 14 schools will take two furlough days before the end of the current school year, as well as four days each during 2013-14 and 2014-15.

The furlough days equal a 1.09 percent salary reduction by the end of May, and 2.2 percent for 2013-14 and 2014-15, according to the district.

“Educators did what was right for kids, as they have always done,” said Larry Taylor, Walnut Valley Educators Association (WVEA) president in a statement. “For the association, it will help our members do what they do best, educate kids, every student every day.”

In December, the district announced a $4.2 million shortfall and filed a negative certification with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, citing that it would not be able to meet its financial obligations for the current year and the subsequent year.

Superintendent Dean Conklin said last month at a community budget meeting that the district is in the black this year but in the red for the next two years.

Conklin’s original plan to help balance the district’s budget called for teachers to take six furlough days this year and nine for the subsequent two years, but the teachers’ association leadership said any furlough days agreed to had to come with cuts.

The current plan, which is expected to close a $12 million shortfall through 2014-15 and get the district back to a positive certification, has both, Conklin said.

“The new budget plan includes a combination of reductions and furlough days. These changes, along with the benefits associated with the passage of Prop 30, move our fiscal situation from a negative certification to a positive certification,” he said in a news release. “This is a major step forward for Walnut Valley. Compliments to the certificated, classified, and management staff who have worked so hard to develop this new plan.” 

The Classified School Employee Association, which represents around 500 non-teaching employees, also plans to vote soon on a tentative agreement of its own.

“CSEA’s tentative agreement has gained the State Policy 610 approval,” said President Margarita Gutierrez. “The agreement can now be brought to the membership for ratification, and then to the Board of Trustees.” 

The district must submit a revised spending plan by March 15 with balanced budgets through the 2014-15 school year.  Officials say they expect the second interim report to be certified positive.

Under the agreement with the teachers’ association, two furlough days for 2013-14 and four in 2014-15 could be eliminated if the district closes escrow on its Site D property in Diamond Bar. 

Lennar Homes bought the land for $39.8 million, but the escrow is still underway, according to the district. Under the sale agreement for the land, Lennar has a one-year escrow closing until Oct. 16, officials said.  The buyer has the option to pay one or more escrow extension fees to stretch the closing out for one year beyond the October date.

“Discussions have begun on the potential use of these one-time funds,” said Jeanette Ullrich, assistant superintendent of business services.  “Consideration is being given to items such as the payment of long-term debt obligations to free up current general fund debt service commitments; augmenting (general obligation) and State Bond funds to complete capital facility projects; and technology infrastructure.”

 

 

Cacheguy February 21, 2013 at 04:19 PM
Just curious.....if a teacher takes a "furlough" day without pay then they don't get paid. The kids still go to class so a substitute teacher must be brought in for that day. My guess is, to make that work, the teachers must be making a substantially bigger amount than the substitutes replacing them. If the subs are good perhaps we should keep them.
DB Clock February 21, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Cacheguy, the kids don't go to class on a "furlough day". A "furlough day" is one in which the school is closed for instruction and children are denied an education. And the superintendent says, "“Educators did what was right for kids, as they have always done"!!! Doing what is right is to take a pay cut (like the rest of us during the recession) and give the kids their 10 days of instruction back. How does removing 10 days of instruction put Kids First?!!! Shame on on the Board and shame on the WVEA for not putting my Kids First, every day by reducing the number of instruction days they receive.
Ken February 21, 2013 at 05:10 PM
Conklin is a crook!
Vito Spago February 21, 2013 at 05:51 PM
I thought if kids were not in school, the state did not pay the district? So what good do furlough days do? My guess is not much. They need to do mass layoffs. Else put the Walnut teachers in Compton schools and the Compton teachers in Walnut schools. Teachers from Compton will be elated and those in Walnut will see how good they really had it. Do the same for administrators.
Ken February 21, 2013 at 06:13 PM
Just like everything else in this country, because teachers are at the bottom of the totem pole, they get the shaft!
Vito Spago February 21, 2013 at 07:37 PM
Ken: I always thought it was us retirees who do not have government jobs that got screwed.. I get to live on $40k a year from my investments. That is a little over $3000 per month. I am getting a 3% return on my investment account. You can calculate the size of my investment account. Now do you see how retirees are being screwed and that teachers retire with the equivalent of a $3M bank account.
Ken February 21, 2013 at 08:42 PM
Why are teachers criticized for getting into a profession that has an excellent retirement plan which, by the way, they pay half of? Would you turn down a job that has decent pay and benefits and say, "I don't deserve that!"
Lyoness February 21, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Let's remember that teachers only work about 8-9 months a year and make a very good income. Gone are the days of being over-worked and under-paid!
Lyoness February 21, 2013 at 10:10 PM
As a matter of fact, they only work about 50% of the year (180 +/- days). I think teacher/administation salaries should be posted, since they are public empoyees. I have heard that some make 6 figures. If over 90% of funds go there, we need to know what the breakdown is.
Just a Teacher February 21, 2013 at 11:29 PM
The state has it worked into the ADA language now that the districts still get that money on furlough days. Apparently, they use average attendance to come up with the number. That is what I have been told because I asked the same thing.
Just a Teacher February 21, 2013 at 11:38 PM
8-9 months? I don't think I need to list the number of months we are in school, but it is actually 10. As far as your 184 days a year, that is actual instruction days. I guess we don't do any work on the weekends. I would like to see a teacher making over 6 figures. We actually post our pay scale on line, http://www.wvusd.k12.ca.us/ under human resources. The highest paid teacher earns $90,290 and that is after they have been teaching for 30 years. Take a look at the administrator pay while you are there and see who makes the 6 figures. By the way, if educators have it so great, why don't you give up that stressful job and come live the easy life? I doubt you will because down inside you probably realize that teachers don't have so easy.
Michael February 22, 2013 at 02:12 AM
God made the Idiot for practice, and then He made the School Board. Mark Twain http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/marktwain125617.html#bWYguRL1Vf71ULD3.99
Dr. James Swartz February 22, 2013 at 03:03 AM
and it also should be noted that teachers spend untold personal dollars just to make classes workable since supplies are so short. and then of course there is something called preparation time that is not counted either. it is amazing how so many people beat up on public school teachers on this site when in fact they are among the role models for our children, and rightly so. is it okay if people in the private sector get pensions but not okay that teachers do? and why? give our finest a break!
Lyoness February 22, 2013 at 03:35 AM
3 months of summer break, plus winter and spring breaks, and multiple holidays off are still more vacation days than any job I've ever worked. 6 hours on the job and a couple for lesson prep doesn't make it any longer than most salaried positions either. I believe that depending on the school's location and class level, it can definitely be a stressful job, but we're talking about WV schools. The students for the most part are high achievers of their own volition, thanks to parental envolvement. Parents here are also very big on fund raising, and I know for a fact that parents donate many thousands of dollars to help lessen the load of what teachers pay out of pocket for supplies, etc. As for teaching for 30 years, some of those are just there because we can't get rid of them. Some are not worth the money. Time to make room for new and improved versions. Technology is the future, and we need to get with the program in order to compete.
Just a Teacher February 22, 2013 at 04:01 AM
Once again Lyoness, if teaching is so easy and better than a typical private industry job, why don't you do it? As stated on this site before, we don't get paid vacations. We get 10 sick days a year, that's it. We don't get paid for summer or any holidays. Our contract says we work 184 days. So if you keep talking about how easy we have it, come join us, if you can handle it. After all according to you it is just "6 hours on the job and a couple for lesson prep"
Lyoness February 22, 2013 at 04:25 AM
How can you say you don't get paid vacations?!?! If you get $42-$90K per year and only work 184 of 362 days, that's 50% of the year OFF WITH PAY. Am I missing something? Are you paid hourly or salary? I'm not a teacher because I'd rather be in the medical field, thank you very much. I'm not bashing teachers-I'm just tired of the old "poor me" attitude that some teachers have fostered since the 70s. That ship has sailed--you're paid very well, thank you very much. School board members and administrators are even more over-paid, but just quieter about it.
Just a Teacher February 23, 2013 at 04:15 AM
Lyoness- your knowledge of parents donating thousands of dollars is not true for all WV schools. I know teachers who spend thousands of dollars each year buying supplies and books for class libraries. You are bashing teachers and you look very ignorant doing so. You are not in the field and your limited knowledge is not true for the entire district..
Just a Teacher February 23, 2013 at 04:16 AM
Furthermore, the students, for the most part, are not high achievers. If you studied the testing data and student information, you would see that many of our students qualify for free and reduced lunches. Other students have parents who cannot read and rely on oral communication with teachers. It is common for students in our Title 1 schools to need help getting shoes and uniforms. In fact, the "well paid teachers" you speak of, have been known to buy shoes and clothes for students. I also know of teachers who purchase gifts and food for school families during the holidays. You should really consider branching out to the people in your community and learning about who they are. While it is true that Walnut is an amazing city with great people, it is also true that many of them struggle to provide for the people they love and sacrifice many things just to live in city boundaries so that their children can have a WVUSD education. I really hope you never have to send your children to one of our schools to be served by the very people you have judged and spoken so poorly of because you don't deserve to benefit from all these professionals have to offer
Lyoness February 23, 2013 at 04:53 AM
Again, I'm not bashing teachers. For the most part, they do a great job AND get paid well for doing it. My child does attend a WV school and I am very involved in the school. We are constantly being headed up for donations, fund raising and to help out through out the year. I'm still waiting for you to enlighten me as to how they don't get paid vacations/holidays. 184 instructional days and a decent annual salary=a lot of paid days off. Most working stiffs get only 2 weeks vacation and 5 major holidays for that $50k.
Teacher Supporter March 07, 2013 at 12:29 AM
Lyoness and Vito, Most people make a decision early in life as to the profession they go into. Most choose that profession because they have a passion for what they do. However, many of those professions have the ability to get into their car, leave the workplace, and do non-work related activities for the remainder of the day. Teachers leave school, go home, and try to incorporate their personal lives into planning and grading. Therefore, a teacher's job is a lot more involved that many non-teachers know. Some of the comments I've read seem to be wriiten out of jealousy, envy, and a complete misunderstanding of what a teacher does. I would venture to guess that many people who make unflattering comments about teachers are also the people who moan about jobs, off-shore outsourcing, and the general state of the American economy. If America is to recover from the horrific Wall Street "professionals", who apparently missed the lecture on ethics or morals, education MUST be the priority. Petty talk about teacher pay, the months worked, retirement pay, etc., should consider their motivation for for their comments. Teacher Supporter
Vito Spago March 07, 2013 at 02:10 AM
Teacher Supporter: I am an engineer. it is my life choice. I can do engineering at one of thousands of employers if I want to. I can easily just pick up and leave one and go to another. Teachers should be able and should want to do the same. That is why I think this benefit and layoff handwringing is self-generated. Unions do it and it is bad for teachers.
Lyoness March 07, 2013 at 02:10 AM
Dear Teacher Supporter and Just a Teacher, I'm not pretending to know about all that goes on in the world of teaching. All I know is that if you work X for the year and get paid Y, then the difference is non-working time for Y. There may very well be extra work off-line, but please don't claim that you don't get time off. Parents are tired of our kids are being used as pawns whenever teachers feel they're getting the short end. Our school has not had an Open House for 3 years, as retribution for furloughs. Then, even when the furloughs have been averted, we still don't get the open house! The biggest price is being paid by the students and their families--all for the sake of a few dollars. Get your priorities straight! If you went into teaching for the money, you need to go back to school and get into another field.
alan haskvitz March 07, 2013 at 02:57 AM
Lyoness, you should take your concerns to the school board. If you are a parent and tired of the situation, why not run for the school board? I am sure the voters would love to hear your solutions.
alan haskvitz March 07, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Lyoness, The school board number is 909-595-1261. Ask to speak to the superintendent's secretary and she will guide you how to make a presentation to the board. The principal at the school you are associated with can tell you the datess of the meetings. You will have to give your real name, though.
Michael March 08, 2013 at 12:52 AM
AH, Have you ever tried to communicate with the Board? Or, have you spoken at a Board meeting? You have not, I can tell by your comments (unless you went down there to genuflect in front of them). It is an ABSOLUTE waste of time. A large crowd of people showed up to protest the Board's asinine resolution to support the NFL stadium and they were treated with contempt. It is an utter waste of time- after they arrogantly make you wait an hour as they pass out "proclamations" and awards to themselves and like-minded cronies. Get real.
alan haskvitz March 08, 2013 at 04:53 AM
So you would recommend? And yes, I have addressed the Board. Perhaps Lyoness and you might join forces and run for the Board together.

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