Wow, what an interesting election night!
Who could’ve predicted the outcome in CUSD? Not me, at least not the way it all seems to have played out. I think many of us though it would be all or nothing for the competing slates, and instead it was a seriously split decision.
Thankfully, the Reform Board Conservatives held onto their majority of 4 seats, with Anna Bryson and Ellen Addonizio looking like victors in their re-election campaigns. Anna and Ellen will keep working with Sue Palazzo and Jack Brick to oversee our school district and provide very important checks and balances over the entrenched public education bureaucracy which has serious room for improvement. Anna, Ellen, Sue and Jack are a great team, and along with Superintendent Joe Farley, I know CUSD is in excellent hands. Among the important work they will all undertake next year will be re-drawing the trustee area boundaries based on the results of the 2010 census, which will be uber-important now that the voters in CUSD have decided to adopt Measure H and embark on an experiment in democracy by electing future trustee elections by trustee area only.
On a national perspective, we have to be happy that the Republican Party has become the majority party in the House of Representatives, which will restore a seriously needed check and balance to the Executive Branch and the Senate. Here in California there is still a serious lack of checks and balances, as it looks like the Democrats will retain control of Sacramento and we will be subjected to more tax and spend insanity. Locally, some of my favorite people in our community have been elected or re-elected to many of local City Councils, although not necessarily all of my preferred candidates won, and certainly not here in my home town of San Clemente. Read More...
Union members and their
so-called “Children First” supporters have attacked the
CUSD reform trustees with despicable mob behavior from
the first day the trustees were seated as a board
majority. The union forced its will upon students,
parents and taxpayers with a selfish teacher strike,
staged as a political stunt to gather recall petition
signatures and to protect their special interest turf.
They have waged a political campaign of lies with
dishonest talking points dutifully parroted by ignorant
and corrupt union members and so-called “Children
First” union supporters.
It’s not enough that the union and its supporters have already outspent the reform trustees 16:1 in this special interest power grab. Now, they have escalated their unethical behavior by stealing the reform trustees’ signs, proving that the democratic process and the rule of law mean nothing to these thugs -- these so-called “professionals” who hypocritically demand “respect” as they serve as terrible role models for our children. This is more evidence of the misconduct these union thugs and their unethical supporters have inflicted on the district for the past two years as they continue to wage a war of chaos and character assassination to destroy the reform trustees at any cost, even if it means breaking the law.
This video shows some of these amoral low-lifes in possession of stolen reform trustee signs after they were caught red-handed, followed and then confronted in a parking lot. This is just one more wake-up call to remind us of how these special interest fanatics will return CUSD to the darkest days of Fleming corruption in a heartbeat in order to satisfy their hatred for the reform trustees whose only real offense was to bring real reforms to CUSD by standing up to union power politics and opposing their selfish political agenda.
• The teachers union and their so-called “Children First” group have now spent more than $350,000 since September 30th trying to buy control of CUSD – $67,000 more this week alone – this is an obscene amount of money for a local school board election!
• The powerful teachers union is outspending the conservative Reform Trustee incumbents more than a 16 to 1 margin!
• The Register found the Teachers Union had even this month begun funneling thousands into a newly formed Political Action Committee – an obvious effort to hide from voters and the press the unprecedented union spending in CUSD.
• Voters have a very simple choice -- They can continue to support the conservative incumbents and the policies they promote, or they can choose the candidates and positions that are endorsed and promoted by the teachers union.
Choose the conservative incumbents:
• VOTE NO on the Union’s Recall of Winsten & Lopez Maddox• VOTE NO on the Union’s Measure H• RE-ELECT THE “ABC TRUSTEES” (Addonizio, Bryson & Christensen)
READ the full OC Register Story
READ the second OC Register Story
READ the initial OC Register Story
Candidate for Trustee Area 4
Capistrano Unified School District
The ballot for the upcoming November elections will be crowded with important choices. If you are a taxpayer with children or grandchildren in the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD), if you believe we must provide the best possible public education possible within our means, and if you agree that a well-educated workforce will benefit everyone in our area, I wanted to make sure you are aware of a key race.
I’m running for re-election to the CUSD Board of Education, where I’ve served for the past four years as trustee and president. During that time, we boosted academic achievement to the highest level in the state among large districts, we introduced many new programs that included special training for teachers at schools that needed to improve performance, and we brought a financial budget that was running at a deficit back into balance. Read More...
Questions of principle
Capo Unified Sch Dist, Area 3, Recall Election
Party Non-partisan office
What is the role of government? How do you see yourself in the position you seek fulfilling that role?
The role of our government is to protect the rights of the people as guaranteed to them by the United States Constitution and the California Constitution. The role of a public school district trustee in this process is profound in protecting the rights of individual students, parents, taxpayers, voters and other constituents from the education bureaucracy that has been constructed and perpetuated by those who economically benefit the most from a large centralized education bureaucracy controlled by lifetime career ‘‘stakeholders” under the tutelage and architecture of the National Education Association, the California Teachers Association, the California Federation of Teachers, the California School Employees Association and all of their affiliated and related organizations. Read More...
Meet the Union Candidates:
Gary Pritchard: a failed Democratic Nominee for a State Senate seat in 2008 who ran with widespread union support on a platform calling for same sex marriage, increased rights to abortion and higher taxes. Pritchard's ballot statement was paid for by the ultra liberal publication “Daily Kos” and his wife writes for the equally liberal Huffington Post. READ OC Register Story
Saam Alikhani: an 18 year old kid that just graduated from high school 35 days before he filed papers seeking to be elected as a CUSD Trustee. He has been a vocal supporter of the unions. Here is Alikhani's platform when he ran for student body president a few months ago: Read More...
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie Tells It Like It Is: Teachers Unions Are the Real Bullies, Waging the Politics of Raw Power
|Christie speaks in Washington DC, calling Newark schools 'absolutely disgraceful'|
• California Republican Assembly Opposes Union Recall Effort!
• OC Republican Party Condemns Union Recall Effort!
• CUSD Reform Trustees Reject Union’s Unsustainable Demands!
• Voters Must SAY NO to the union’s selfish political agenda!
The powerful public employee unions have commenced an orchestrated, multi-pronged attack against the seven Reform Trustees serving on the CUSD Board of Trustees. This attack is designed to undermine your Reform Trustees and all the progress they’ve made to restore honesty, integrity and accountability to the 9th largest school district in California. This is their plan:
FIRST, in the middle of the nation’s worst economic crisis since the great depression, with the State of California buckling under the weight of unprecedented budget deficits that have crippled the ability of local cities and school districts to provide basic services to their constituents:
• 2,200 Teachers Union members in Capistrano Unified abandoned their students and walked out on strike…and
• The powerful teachers union is backing a ballot initiative that would take away from every CUSD voter 6 of their 7 votes -- by allowing each voter to only vote in one Trustee District rather than “at large” for all seven Trustees.
DAYS LATER, the Teachers Union and other public employee unions were marching on Sacramento demanding that legislators increase your taxes!
TODAY, union-backed activists turned in petition signatures seeking to recall and remove from office two of your popular and highly-successful Reform Trustees!
SVUSD teachers union accepts 9.7% pay cut without striking -- SVUSD board owes CUSD trustees thanks for setting example
READ the OC Register Story
The SVUSD school Board owes a big "thank you" to the Capistrano Unified Board members that refused to give in to the unreasonable demands of the local teachers union, the California Teachers Association and even the National Education Association. The CUSD Board held firm and finally these selfish Union leaders gave up their unreasonable demands and ended their strike WITHOUT OBTAINING ANY MEANINGFUL CONCESSIONS FROM THE BOARD. Had the CUSD Board caved in to the union pressure -- you can bet that unions up and down the state would all be on strike now!
Take a look at the major negotiating points in CUSD over the past year -- the Board held firm every time, and the union was forced to capitulate: Read More...
• The School Board has full accountability for the solvency of the district and must take whatever action is necessary to meet its legal responsibilities and protect the students and taxpayers.
A Word About Strikes — An Editorial
By: Ron Bennett
Copyright © 2010 School Services of California, Inc.
For Publication Date: May 2010
Over the past few weeks, we have seen media attention drawn toward the collective bargaining process, particularly when there has been a unilateral contract imposition by management or a strike by labor. In my opinion, we are likely to see a few—maybe quite a few—similar situations evolving over the next several months. I would like to offer some opinions on how to think about these situations and how to either avoid them or handle them appropriately.
Radio Commentators John & Ken:
• Interview CUSD Trustee Ken Lopez-Maddox
• Analyze the Reform Board's Great Victory
Union leaders last night finally gave up their unreasonable demand that the contract cuts imposed by the Reform Board would expire automatically on a date certain. Unfortunately, they only did so after 2,200 teachers union members had abandoned their students and walked out on strike for three school days. Congratulations to the Reform Board for this great victory and for standing up for the students, parents and taxpayers of CUSD!
JOHN & KEN ANNOUNCE THAT TEACHERS UNION CAPITULATED -- STRIKE OVER! With Nation Watching, Reform Board Scores Huge Victory for the Students and Taxpayers.
"So the ten percent decrease sticks for the next three years and it's unlikely they're going to get any of the money back, which means the class sizes will remain the same, no teachers will be laid off … But what really matters is that logic won, mathematics won … what we kept saying all last week or two, 'When you're out of money, you're out of money,' and finally the union had to accept that."
"It did show you what the teachers are about, though. You've got to keep repeating this to the end of time. Teachers, when they're in their union, when their in their union context, are not nice. They don't love kids, they don't care about the kids. They love themselves, they love their money and they love their benefits. They love their union group think. There are very few rebels in the union … very few. Eighty-seven percent of the teachers voted to strike. Eighty-seven percent gave the middle finger to the students for three days. And so eventually they settled for what? For exactly the deal they had … a 10% cut."
-- John & Ken, KFI AM-640, April 27, 2010
• OC Register Condemns Unions' Demands for Tax Increases!
• CUSD Reform Trustees Reject Union’s Unsustainable Demands!
• Voters Must SAY NO to the union’s selfish political agenda!
First, in the middle of the nation’s worst economic crisis since the great depression, with the State of California buckling under the weight of unprecedented budget deficits that have crippled the ability of local cities and school districts to provide basic services to their constituents, 2,200 Teachers Union members in Capistrano Unified abandoned their students and walked out on strike…
NOW, the Teachers Union and other public employee unions are marching on Sacramento demanding that legislators increase your taxes!
Union Marchers Demand 40 Billion in Tax Increases!
The public employee-union backed marchers arrived at the Capitol this week after 48 days on the road from Bakersfield, and Thursday presented lawmakers with their state budget recommendations -- $40 billion in tax increases.
READ the Sacramento Bee News Report
• Radio Commentators Bill Handel and John & Ken All Get It!
• CUSD Union Strike Is Just Politics
• Ground Zero for national campaign by Unions to grab more money, power and influence -- at the expense of the taxpayers!
John & Ken Interview our Chairman, Tony Beall, Committee to Reform CUSD -- April 23, 2010
This strike is not about the union contract. It is all about politics -- the union's desire to take over control of the board in November. The California Teachers Union has made CUSD a test case -- ground zero for the future of California. If the union loses here in CUSD again, they know other districts from across California and beyond will follow the lead of the Reform Trustees in CUSD. That is why the union has brought in the big guns from the CTA. That is why the union has for the past two years commenced a multi-pronged attack against the Reform Board. The union is:
1. Backing an initiative for the Nov 2010 ballot to take 6 of 7 votes away from every CUSD voter;
2. Backing the unjust recall campaign to remove two Reform Trustees;
3. Preparing to run a slate of five pro-union candidates in the November election; and
4. Striking in the middle of the current school year to further destabilize the district and cause "organized chaos" in an effort to turn voters against the Board.
CUSD Superintendent: Saddened That Planned Student Walk Out Is Based on Misperceptions and Misinformation
Contrary to union claims, Superintendent also confirms Reform Board's decision regarding CUEA negotiations substantially compromised its original pre-impasse proposal with fact finder's recommendation.
Letter to Parents re Planned K - 12 Student Walk Out
By Dr. Roberta Mahler, Interim Superintendent, CUSD
During the last week you may have read one or more e-mails advocating for a "K - 12 Student Walk-out" to take place on April 13 as a symbolic gesture of support for the teachers' union position regarding labor negotiations. It is of significant concern to hear that students would be held out of school on a regularly scheduled and staffed school day in order to address adult issues. Read More...
• 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:
Teacher total compensation in Capistrano is among the highest compared to other unified school districts in Orange County
• A teacher’s career earnings are much higher in Capistrano Unified
By CUSD FACT CHECKS, Information on Issues Relating to Labor Negotiations and District Finances
The best way to evaluate the competitiveness of Capistrano Unified School District is to calculate employees’ total compensation. Salaries alone don’t give a true comparison. Health benefits are a crucial element of the total compensation package for any employee. Some school districts have higher salaries, but make their employees pay more out-of-pocket costs for their health benefits. When you add salary and benefits together, CUSD ranks among the top in total compensation among unified school districts in Orange County. Capistrano ranks well above the regional and statewide averages in total compensation according to the most recent data available from the state.
The minimum teacher salary in Capistrano is $48,899. The maximum teacher salary is $98,931. An average teacher salary is $81,845. These figures do not include health benefits or any stipends/extra duty pay teachers often receive for being coaches, mentors, or handling special assignments.
At $61,773 in total compensation, beginning teachers in CUSD are the 3rd highest paid among unified districts in Orange County. Mid-career teachers earn $86,350 and are the 5th highest paid. Veteran teachers at the top of the pay scale are the 4th highest paid earning $109,905 including benefits for their 185-day work year.
See CUSD FACT CHECKS Fact Sheet comparing total compensation, health benefits and lifetime earnings of CUSD teachers to other Orange County school districts.
Below are the documented CUSD/CUEA contract settlement amounts over 9 of the past 10 years (information for the 2004-05 contract was not available) pursuant to which CUSD teachers received aggregate raises of 32.5%. In accordance with the teachers’ salary schedule:
• Every July, each teacher gets a "step raise" of 3.5% every year for 11 years and then every 5 years until 23 years of service, and then raises if negotiated (COLA); and
• As each teacher gains education credits, he/she gets "column raises" until a masters degree is earned. Read More...
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...
Chris Christie may be the Governor of New Jersey, but he has important things to say that are relevant in CUSD [include a few relatively short quotes from the governor's speech]:
1) California is suffering the exact same abuses and undue influence from the teachers union,
2) The union is trying to take over CUSD [and include a link to the mass email we just sent with Mike Winsten's letter]
3) In California, unions are demanding that taxes be increased to give them more [Include a link to our prior blog on that point]
4) The teachers union is now demanding more money from CUSD [Include a copy of the letter the union just sent to CUSD demanding $8MM more of Federal money, instead of letting it go to the kids]
Governor Chris Christie talks about the letter sent to the New Jersey Education Association and their response to that letter during a Conversation with the Governor in Ramsey, New Jersey on Wednesday, March 24, 2010.
Reform Trustees Save CUSD $5.5 Million Dollars - Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Brought By CUSD's Disgraced Former Supt. Carter
Read OC Register Article
Read Carter's Termination Report
The Trustees obviously did the right thing when they fired this corrupt and greedy educrat. It really makes us wonder why Erin Kutnick's pro-union "Children First" group, as well as hundreds of union members, fought so hard to protect Carter from being fired. Why did they fight so hard to protect Carter when the facts so clearly showed he'd been caught "red handed" trying to rip off the school district by inserting a golden parachute severance clause into his own employment contract without board approval? Read More...
Click Here to WATCH THE TRAILER in HD or
Click Here to WATCH THE TRAILER on YouTube
Please join us in watching the television premiere of PRI’s Not as Good as You Think: The Myth of the Middle Class School tonight, at 8:30pm Pacific Time.
"Not As Good As You Think: The Myth of the Middle Class School" is a groundbreaking documentary that shatters the myth that "good" schools located in "nice" neighborhoods are shielded from the education crisis that pervades schools in poor, urban areas. The CUSD Recall Committee’s successful five year campaign to bring badly needed reform to the Capistrano Unified School District is prominently featured in this movie -- as an example of just how badly broken the American public school system can be in one of the country’s most affluent areas…and how tremendous improvements and reforms can be achieved by dedicated, vigilant citizen action and oversight. Read More...
"County Party Urges All Voters Not to Sign Recall Petitions"
IRVINE, CA - The Republican Party of Orange County Central Committee unanimously approved the following resolution yesterday pertaining to the new recall campaign which is being promoted by public employee unions and their allies against Capistrano Unified School District Trustees Ken Lopez-Maddox and Mike Winsten.
OPPOSING THE RECALL OF CAPISTRANO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT TRUSTEES LOPEZ-MADDOX & WINSTEN Whereas, in 2008 the Orange County Republican Party Central Committee proudly endorsed for election to the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees Ken Lopez-Maddox and Mike Winsten; Read More...
WARNING: Public Employee Unions Have Commenced A Multi-Pronged Attack Against the C.U.S.D. Board Members
Tony Beall delivered this inspiring speech to the OC Republican Party Central Committee on February 15, 2010, warning that powerful union leaders from across the state and nation had commenced an orchestrated, multi-pronged attack on the seven conservative Republicans serving on the CUSD Board of Trustees.
Thank you Chairman Baugh. I greatly appreciate your strong leadership and the opportunity to address the Central Committee tonight. Last month, you spoke eloquently about the many abuses we have seen with public employee unions throughout our nation and state. You spoke of the need for our country to engage in a Second American Revolution to combat the insatiable and unsustainable union appetite for scarce taxpayer dollars. I agree with you 100%. Tonight, I’m here to ring alarm bells. I’m here to tell you that one of the great battles of this Second American Revolution has already begun – right here in our own backyard.
Powerful union leaders have commenced an orchestrated, multi-pronged attack on the seven republicans serving on the CUSD Board of Trustees (each of whom was endorsed by the OC GOP).
Let me provide a bit of background. Read More...