• Class Sizes Will NOT Be Increased
• Dozens of Teachers' Jobs Saved
• But Union Leader Threatens to Strike
Your Elected Reform Trustees:
• Were Forced to Cut $25 Million from Last Year's Budget
• Must Cut $34 Million More This Year
• Voted to Save Dozens of Teachers' Jobs
• Voted to Preserve Smallest Possible Class Sizes
• Are Now Threatening to Strike
• Want Board to Lay Off Hundreds of Young, Talented, Energetic Teachers
• Want Board to Increase Class Sizes
• Want to Preserve Higher Salaries/Benefits for Most Senior Members at the Expense of the Students, Young Teachers and Taxpayers of CUSD!
LOOK: Photo of Teachers Union Pres. Vicki Soderberg
who wants more money for her most senior members…
...even if it hurts our children and younger teachers!
Capistrano Unified School Board is facing a crisis.
They are being forced to cut $34 million from the
2010-2011 budget...which is especially painful
because the Board members were forced to cut $25
million from this year’s budget.
Our school district was ill-prepared to deal with the State’s current budget crisis because former Superintendent James Fleming (now indicted for multiple felonies and awaiting trial) and his seven “old guard” trustees had engaged in years of gross fiscal mismanagement (e.g. massive deficit spending on an annual basis, failure to maintain adequate reserves, construction of a luxurious $52 million Administration Building).
URGENT UPDATE TO CUSD COMMUNITY: Reform Trustees Protect Teachers' Jobs & Refuse To Increase Class Sizes
An open letter to the community by the CUSD Reform
Dear CUSD Community,
The Capistrano Unified School District (CUEA) and Capistrano Unified Education Association (CUEA), which represents certificated employees including teachers, have been involved in contract negotiations since June 2009. The Board of Trustees and negotiating teams have worked continuously, up to this point, through this process. Specific information regarding the negotiations process can be found on the district’s website at www.capousd.org.
We now find ourselves at a time of year when some of our most important work with students lies before us. Trustees have reflected on where we are, what lies before us, and feel it is in the best interest of our district to move forward with finalizing the negotiations process.
At its meeting on Wednesday, March 31, the Board of Education will consider the adoption of a resolution to unilaterally implement limited provisions from its pre-impasse proposal which:
• Maintain class size
• Preserve teachers’ jobs
• Provide a balance of temporary & ongoing financial savings
• Recognize concerns of the CUEA bargaining team
The advisory recommendations included within the fact-finding report were utilized to modify the provisions of the pre-impasse proposal as outlined below:
Once class sizes are increased and programs are lost, they don't come back. How many students in a classroom are too many students: 36, 40, 50 or 100?
The line in the sand has been drawn and you MUST decide which side you will stand on. Your kids, our kids, want you to stand on their side.
The choice is yours… Read More...
Your Elected Reform Trustees:
• Must Cut $25 Million from Budget
• Want to Save Every Teacher’s Job
• Want to Preserve Smallest Possible Class Sizes
Union Leaders and Senior Administrators:
• Are Refusing Across the Board Pay Cuts
• Want Board to Lay off Hundreds of Young, Talented, Energetic Teachers
• Want Board to Increase Class Sizes
• Want to Preserve High Salaries and Benefits for Themselves at the Expense of the Students, Young Teachers and Taxpayers of CUSD!
The Capistrano Unified School Board is facing a crisis. They must cut approximately $25 million from the 2009-2010 budget…especially painful because they were forced to cut millions from this year’s budget.
Our school district was ill-prepared to deal with the State’s current budget crisis because former Superintendent James Fleming (now indicted for multiple felonies and awaiting trial on April 7th) and his seven “old guard” trustees (Sheila Benecke, Marlene Draper, John Casabianca, Shelia Henness, Duane Stiff, Mike Darnold and Crystal Kochendorfer) had engaged in years of gross fiscal mismanagement (e.g. massive deficit spending on an annual basis, failure to establish and maintain adequate reserves). Read More...
District Administrators Propose Covering Massive Budget Deficit on the Backs of our Children, Families and Taxpayers...Again
With the economy flagging and thousands loosing their jobs, highly paid CUSD administrators (check it out here) and union leaders are rejecting modest, across-the-board pay cuts -- a sensible solution supported by reform trustees that could preserve desperately needed education programs, smaller class sizes and protect overburdened taxpayers.
Instead, administrators are proposing another assault on the remaining 15% of the budget, which is precious little to cover current classroom needs already cut to the bone. Apparently, this is fine with administrators, union leaders and tax-hike advocates who continue to ignore the "85%" elephant in the room that is crushing the educational needs of the children to death.
See the OC Register story.
New OC Register Column: Public School System Doesn't Need More Money - Its "Bankrupt Culture" Needs Reform and Common Sense.
Click here to read Ms. Star's column.
New Report Shows California Teachers Are Highest-Paid in the Nation...Yet the Teachers Union Wants Billions More.
Click here to read the OC Register editorial.
Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, 71st Assembly District
See Press Release
As a former high school teacher and elected school board trustee, I have always made the protection of our education system my top priority. The Governor proposed his budget in January and indicated that it would be necessary to make cuts to our classrooms.
Since then, thousands of parents, teachers and students have contacted me to express your distress about the Governor’s proposed budget cuts to education. I have been working with my colleagues to develop a responsible education plan that fully protects Proposition 98 and yet does not rely on raising new taxes. Read More...
Recently Mission Viejo residents received notices (See attached) placed in their children’s backpacks and school binders by CUSD employees. The notice reads in large print “CUSD teachers deserve our support, not pink slips.” The notice encourages donations of $400 dollars per student in order to offset budget shortfalls.
In a recent conversation CUSD Foundation member Stacy Flynn, told one Mission Viejo parent, “the state budget cuts have created a $7 million dollar short fall for CUSD, and this donation drive will help to fill that shortfall in state budget cuts.” When the parent asked Ms. Flynn if the state had actually reduced the budget amount from last year, or if the cut was in the amount of the increase, Ms. Flynn stated, “No the state has reduced the budget” and that the parent was “misinformed.”
Town Hall Meeting to Discuss: "What Impact Will California’s Budget Crisis Have on South Orange County?"
Rancho Santa Margarita, Ca. On February 19th, a Town Hall Meeting focusing upon the impacts that the State’s budget crisis will have upon South Orange County will be held in Rancho Santa Margarita. A panel of several prominent local elected officials will analyze and discuss these issues of critical importance to all residents. The panel will include:
Three Trustees from the Capistrano Unified School District, Ellen Addonizio, Anna Bryson and Larry Christensen, who will address the particularly severe impacts on our local school district and their plans to address it.
71st District Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, Rancho Santa Margarita Mayor Neil Blais and Rancho Santa Margarita Councilmember Tony Beall, who will act as the moderator for the event.
Dear Superintendent and Trustees,
I am a parent of a 3rd grader in Mission Viejo. I was in attendance at last evening's meeting and I have to tell you how completely saddened I am at the lack of respect you (with exception of 3 board members)have shown toward our Mission Viejo Schools.
First, I would like to address your lack of preparation as it pertains to our boundary issues. I can't count how many times I heard you, Mr. Carter, make this statement, "I don't have that information in front of me." We were in front of this board in December. This was TWO months ago. Read More...
MV reform advocate addresses CUSD Final Budget Workshop, shares essay on Newhart overcrowding by Barbara Casserly
The extreme fallout from last night's board meeting is too incredible and mountainous to put in one email so I will give you some topline and other resources to read.
This feedback distribution list began with bus transportation and after last night, the buses are pretty much a thing of the past. Unfortunately, buses are now the least of our problems.
In last night's meeting, the CUSD reform trustees were magnificent and really spoke up for the interests of Mission Viejo , especially Newhart Middle school (see attached essay for details). The Superintendent recommended "do nothing" for the overcrowding at Newhart and the 4 old guard trustees agreed, despite calls to look at other options (stop bussing San Juan kids into our city, look at k-6, etc.). They moved on to address the concerns of San Clemente residents who had turned out in full force last month over their overcrowding issue and worked very hard to resolve that constituency's problem.
See CUSD Board Update: 2008-09 Budget Development
See Essay on Newhart Overcrowding by By Barbara Casserly Read More...
Recall targets Sheila Benecke (left) and Marlene Draper (right)
Some have said that we should wait until the November general election to bounce Benecke and Draper out of office to save the district the cost of a recall election. I would ordinarily agree, however, these two Fleming-era leftovers keep proving they cannot be trusted to vote in even one more board meeting than necessary.
Last October, they admitted to repeatedly violating the state's open meetings law (the Brown Act) to avoid civil prosecution by the D.A. But in every regular board meeting since then, they have continued to violate the Brown Act by failing to provide proper public notice of important agenda items. The urgency is that the proposals Benecke and Draper are advocating without proper notice involve district spending of millions on very controversial (and arguably, luxurious) projects to the exclusion of well-known, needier projects. Read More...
Beverly de Nicola, Los Angeles Times "The district made $13 million in cuts this year, and $7.5 million of next year's cuts were planned before the governor announced billions of dollars in cuts to public schools earlier this month."
Due to years of mismanagement and deficit spending by the Fleming regime, CUSD already faced a financial crisis before the recent state cutbacks were announced. This is the inconvenient truth the senior trustees and staff will attempt to cover up by pointing their dishonest fingers at the state. The Fleming trustees and staff are responsible for the draconian cuts already planned due to the pre-existing financial disaster they created.
Now, after years of serial deficits and tens of millions in cuts due to their incompetence and misspending that already have hurt the children, they have assured that the impact of new state cutbacks will be even worse for CUSD than other, more responsible districts.
De Nicola is spokeswoman for CUSD.
Reform volunteer calls on parents, taxpayers to attend Nov 5th CUSD board meeting to demand equity in facilities spending
Your help is urgently needed to fight the latest mismanagement and inequity in CUSD. Here's why:
* The "old guard" majority on the Board of Trustees is set to approve up to $12 million dollars in funding to put in a pool and football stadium at the new San Juan Hills High School (SJHHS). This is on top of the estimated $142 million they have already spent on this school that has an enrollment of only 640 students. Meanwhile;
* Students throughout the district sit in substandard, aging facilities with moldy portables, leaky roofs, old dirty carpeting, inadequate or non-existent multi-purpose rooms, rodent infestations, playgrounds/parking spaces that have been taken up by portables to ease overcrowding, etc. (see pictures below) and; Read More...
Teacher believes large classes have already pushed CUSD passed the threshold of a positive learning environment
Hoffman made this statement during public comments at the October 15 2007 CUSD Board of Trustees meeting. Hoffman is a 31-year teaching veteran who teaches economics and laptop geography at Capo Valley High School.
By Barbra Casserly, Mission Viejo
Good evening Honorable Mayor and City Council. Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to speak. My name is Barbara Casserly and I am a resident of Mission Viejo.
The last time you considered this item you considered the cost of the election. I ask you to consider the cost of allowing the current leadership to continue to take from our children’s schools. We cannot allow the current leadership to pass one more budget. We are experiencing our sixth year of budget deficits because for several years CUSD was a district where our seven Trustees voted together – on every single item. Details were left to key staff members who were rewarded with frequent contract renewals and high praise. CUSD Trustees did not display dirty laundry in public as the dirty laundry was swept under the rug the infrastructure of the district started crumbling.
By Sharon Campbell, Mission Viejo
I am a longtime parent volunteer and active supporter of Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) schools. I, like many others, have dedicated time to serve the students and staff of CUSD. As a resident of Mission Viejo I can say I have never believed Trustee Draper had any interest in the condition of the schools or the children of my community. I have heard her talk a lot about the schools and children in San Juan, but in the past three or four years I have not heard any level of interest about other communities in CUSD, and I attend every board meeting. Trustee Draper does not seem to understand the impact she has on the schools outside her own city. I recently wrote to her about two comments I continually hear her make that led me to my conclusion, but she did not respond. Read More...
A. Immediate Disciplinary Action Must Be Taken.
Very serious allegations involving criminal activity have been leveled against Fleming (and possibly the Trustees). An overwhelming amount
of evidence supporting these allegations has been made public. Given these facts, we believe Fleming cannot be allowed to serve another day as the Superintendent of the Capistrano Unified School District. Read More...
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. CUSD Superintendent James Fleming has “resigned” in disgrace. “This moves us one step closer to restoring honesty, integrity and accountability into our public school system,” said Thomas Russell, spokesperson for the CUSD Recall Committee.
In announcing his resignation, Fleming posted three self-serving, self-aggrandizing and misleading statements on the CUSD official website. In summary, those statements provided: Read More...