Wednesday, August 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Teachers respond to ‘new normal’

By
From page A6 | October 09, 2012 |

By Frank C. Thomsen

Our children and our community have a lot at stake in the November election. The outcomes of Proposition 30 and Measure E will determine whether we even maintain the current precarious fiscal situation we now have or whether we will face a future of immediate and ongoing school cuts that is almost too bleak to contemplate.

While we hope for the best, the school district has a responsibility to plan for the worst. Davis teachers understand that, and so we have been engaged in a good-faith effort to prepare for that worst-case scenario. As previously announced in The Enterprise, the Davis Teachers Association’s negotiating team has offered, in the event that Proposition 30 fails, five furlough days that will save the district more than $900,000.

While it is difficult to give up five instructional days with our students, we believe that ending the school year a week early — together with concessions from other employee groups and a freeze on discretionary spending at the district level — will provide the bridge money needed to make it through June, even if the election results don’t go our way.

The district, however, wants 10 furlough days. We oppose the district’s proposal because we know that our teachers and students just cannot afford it.

As teachers, we are already struggling to cover curriculum with larger class sizes and increased student needs. Ending school two weeks early would put our children two weeks behind. Teachers would have to consider what to leave out of the curriculum, to decide what the children would not learn during that time — what math facts would not be practiced, what science concept would not be introduced, what spelling lesson would fall by the wayside.

We are concerned about our students — and we’re also concerned about our own families. Ten furlough days means a 10 percent pay cut for Davis teachers during the January through June period. Very few of us can absorb that without taking on an extra job (and jobs are now scarce), dipping into our own children’s college savings or going into debt.

This pay cut would hurt Davis teachers who have already seen their paychecks diminished through inflation, health insurance increases and past furlough days. We have had no cost-of-living adjustment since 2006 (and only 1 percent then), even though between 2006 and 2011, cumulative inflation in California has eroded our earnings by more than 14 percent.

Additionally, employees are absorbing all rate increases for health benefits, an ongoing de facto pay cut. Full coverage including a Kaiser health plan, for example, costs a teacher’s family more than $940 per month out of pocket.

These costs do not even take into account the one-year 2.7 percent pay reduction in 2010-11, which we agreed to because we were told that there was a one-time emergency. We did not expect the district would turn to us every time it had trouble balancing its budget.

As a teacher, voter, taxpayer, DJUSD parent and community member, I urge a different path. Now that we know reduced state funding is the “new normal,” we have a responsibility to examine every expenditure, prioritizing student learning while leaving no solution off the table. We also need to provide employees — teachers, administrators, and other staff — with salaries and benefits competitive with surrounding districts both because it is the right thing to do and because we want to recruit and retain the best.

Let’s limit lost instructional days to five, cut unnecessary expenses immediately — and spend the next month spreading the word that Proposition 30 and Measure E are the first steps toward a more stable future for schools and students.

— Frank C. Thomsen is president of the Davis Teachers Association.

Comments

comments

Special to The Enterprise

.

News

Report details the face of hunger in Yolo County

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Summer jobs aren’t always in the bag

By Spencer Ault | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Davis Arts Center gets a new look, thanks to Brooks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
More details emerge in Woodland officer shootings

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Bob Dunning: Taking on a Specktacular challenge

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2 | Gallery

For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Sunder campaign will be at Farmers Market

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Classic car show slated in Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Students can practice safe bike routes to junior highs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

‘Monsters University’ to be screened in Central Park

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
California regulators approve PG&E rate hike

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

America’s ‘it’ school? Look west, Harvard

By New York Times News Service | From Page: B3

 
School board preps for new academic year

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

The big moveout, on ‘Davisville’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Public opinion sought about Nishi Gateway

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

 
Davis Art Garage honored; bench dedication set

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Woodland historical award winners announced

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

 
.

Forum

Can’t understand this change

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Delta-friendly water bond is a win for all of California

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Bravo! The road diet works

By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6

 
Support water bond in November

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Relay for Life team says thanks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

.

Sports

 
Hard hoops schedule features defending national champs at UCD

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Crisp’s big hit helps A’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie QB is back to pass … Touchdown, Tina! Tina?

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Sacramento scores early to snap skid

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

 
Unplayable? Cubs, rain hand Giants a loss

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

UCD roundup: Aggie gymnasts are awesome at academics

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
.

Features

Food that travels well for cooking out

By Julie Cross | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
.

Arts

Crowd funding campaign offers support for Art Theater of Davis

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Visit Crawfish and Catfish Festival in Woodland

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
Artists invited to paint at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Goldberg, Milstein to play at Village Homes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
The voice on the CD comes alive at Music Together concert

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Railroad museum will host Aberbach memorial

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, August 20, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B6