Paso Robles teachers demand superintendent tell the truth

March 11, 2013
Kathleen McNamara

Kathleen McNamara

OPINION By PASO ROBLES TEACHERS UNION

After delivering a 97 percent vote of no confidence in Superintendent Dr. Kathleen McNamara at the Feb. 5 meeting of the Paso Robles School Board, teachers plan to return en masse to this Tuesday’s meeting.

“Our message this time,” explains history teacher Robert Skinner, “is to be truthful about the facts.”

According to Jim Lynett, Executive Director of Paso Robles Public Educators (PRPE), the district and the teachers’ union have been signed over to Fact Finding by a state mediator.

Sometime within the next 60 days a three person panel will convene to review the facts behind the bargaining dispute between PRPE and the district.

At issue, the district is demanding that “commencing the 2013-14 and each year thereafter” teachers take a pay cut of 4.86 percent along with two furlough days. According to Skinner, “by including the 1.12 percent loss in the two furlough days, teacher wages will be slashed by nearly six percent for next year and every year thereafter.”

In a recent press release, the district boasted of a 5.4 percent reserve. Nevertheless, Superintendent McNamara claims the district is still in financial trouble. “How can you still be in financial trouble when, by your own admission, you have a reserve that is almost double the legal requirement, have stopped deficit spending and the county has certified that you have exited negative certification?” asks Lynett. “She is not being truthful with the facts.”

Last year, due in part to an accounting error of $1.59 million by district administration, employees took a 3.24 percent pay cut in the form of six furlough days. This school year, in anticipation of Proposition 30 failing in the November 2012 election, employees took a 6.48 percent pay cut in the form of 12 furlough days.

“Last November’s election and the slashing of employee pay saved the district from bankruptcy”, asserts Lynett.

According to Governor Jerry Brown, the passage of Proposition 30 has stabilized the State’s budget. Spending for K-12 public education will increase each year starting in 2013-2014 until it reaches an increase of $19B or 40 percent by 2016-2017.

“PRPE expects the upcoming fact finding report will demonstrate the district’s improved financial condition,” explains Skinner, “that is, of course, as long as Dr. McNamara is truthful with the facts.”

 


34 Comments

  1. SuperMex says:

    Teachers bee whining all day long. The state is broke. Take it like a man and get to work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 16

    • Grandmaof9 says:

      The teachers don’t want a raise – they don’t want MORE taken from them! Give me a break! Wine/Whine dude and you didn’t become a substitute teacher because??? It wasn’t be cause the pay wasn’t enough? lol

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  2. winedude says:

    Seriously? Teaching is a joke. I was a substitute teacher 10 years ago and I couldn’t believe how poorly most of the high school students were prepared. This is mostly because the teachers are grossly unprepared for the job. “…schools of education represent the academic slums of most any college.”

    Read the whole article: http://www.humanevents.com/2013/03/11/walter-williams-educational-rot/

    BTW, I had to take CBEST and the above author is correct…it’s a JOKE! There probably shouldn’t even be a 2nd attempt to pass. If you can’t pass the test (and my wife passed it as well) on the first try, you shouldn’t be teaching our kids…!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 10

    • Ana di Plosis says:

      “Teaching is a joke.” = I never committed myself to becoming a full-time professional.

      “I was a substitute teacher 10 years ago and I couldn’t believe how poorly most of the high school students were prepared.” Which high school? Come on, dude: be specific! I’ll bet you a case of wine that it was NOT PRHS or any other high school on the central coast. King City, perhaps? Somewhere in LA? No comparison to this area, dude.

      “I had to take CBEST and the above author is correct…it’s a JOKE!” Who, if anybody, every claimed that the CBEST was a challenging test? I felt the same way when I took it. What is challenging (logistically, not cognitively) is earning a full-time teaching credential, as it requires working for FREE during two student teaching assignments. Name another profession where you don’t just train for free but actually have to pay to train.

      In PR, we are fortunate to have some effective substitutes who are respected by the students, but most students view most subs as a joke, and would laugh at the notion that any sub could replace their real, full-time teacher. See, kids know the difference people who have committed their lives to the profession, and those who just “dabble” in it via substituting. Kids know that the subs aren’t there because they care about educating children; they’re there to make a little extra money. Subs are like those dudes who date single mothers for the short-term “benefits”: the children of those mothers will never respect the one-date dudes like their real fathers.

      So, dude, to conclude our lesson: if you want to be taken seriously in a relationship or a profession (or anything else) you have to make a full-time commitment to it. If you think otherwise, maybe you should be committed. Or, perhaps you should change your username to “whinedude.”

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 8

      • winedude says:

        I confess…I got into substitute teaching because of the money. I made more money as a substitute teacher than I ever dreamed of making in the wine business…NOT!!! I got into substitute teaching because I wanted to help a couple of friends who were biology teachers at the local high school where I lived at the time. They had a project and I wound up doing substitute teaching for them. When they were done, I was recommended as a qualified substitute and taught many more classes. Most of the teachers I substitute taught for were very good. Others, like yourself, had this incredible belief that somehow teachers were special people…they AIN’T!!!
        As for me professionally, yes I have been able to dedicate myself to my profession in the wine business. I have 40+ years experience, both as a grower and winemaker, with numerous awards and medals. If you don’t think 40 yeears in the wine biz is a commitment, I don’t know what is. I discovered what I wanted to do with my life fairly early on. If I brought a bit of pleasure into someone’s life by enjoying a glass or two of what I produced, I am quite happy and satisfied with my career choice and my life in general. Cheers…

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

        • Ana di Plosis says:

          I appreciate excellent wine and those who craft them. I have no doubt that teachers are some of your best clients. Like you, teachers cultivate the minds of students over the course of 13 years (K-12) before we bottle them up and send them off into the world. How good each vintage or each individual bottle turns out to be is dependent on many factors that lie beyond our control and and cannot be measured by multiple choice tests. But we like to think that what we do is valuable as well, and we don’t appreciate being shortchanged by district officials who siphon off our wages in order to fatten their reserve/slush fund–just in case they screw up, as they did last year with that whole 1.59 million dollar “accounting error.” Cheers to you.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

          • r0y says:

            “Cultivate the minds of students” – I am calling this B.S. for what it is. Unless you are a private tutor, please do not insult us. Public schools are nothing but regurgitation of propagandist ideologies. Why else would a middle school science class be taught Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth as science, when it’s been debunked every which way til sundown?

            There is no critical thinking or expanding of minds in our current education system! Not even colleges and universities! Children are like SPONGES and the school system has turned the spigot down to a drip like Chinese water torcher! Unless you’ve been teaching for OVER 30 years plus, there is a good chance you do not even know you are pushing the indoctrination in the classroom!

            Schools are nothing but business as usual now. Period. The only thing they get (for now) is the sacred cow status (like police and fire), but we’re quickly seeing how those departments can abuse it, too….

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9

            • Ana di Plosis says:

              What is “torcher”?

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

            • punchcutter says:

              Hey rOy,

              I’ve been teacher for close to 20 years and I teach critical thinking skills every week in a variety of ways. I want my students to think for themselves and I offer up as many points of view as possible. My students don’t have a clue where I stand politically as I don’t want my opinions to influence them.

              I don’t want sacred cow status, I’m not a big fan of unions, and buisness as usual to me means I have adequate resources to do my job.

              What I do want is for my student’s to have a far more open mind than you do. Painting with such a broad brush is, quite frankly, very ignorant.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  3. Fernella says:

    It is time for the union to LISTEN to the truth. Look around you. The entire community, county, state, and US is suffering. How it is that you think you deserve pay increases, extended benefits, and be treated like royalty is beyond comprehension. You are beating a dead horse.
    Take the furoughs. At least this will protect your pensions. It is NOT the superintendents fault that the state and federal government are not able to continue spending what they DO NOT have. The trickle down bites. We are ALL feeling it. Home finances have higher reserve goals than what you are complaining about.
    As a parent, I understand what the Board is trying to accomplish.
    It is past time for the unions to come to terms with the reality of present day and get a solid grip. The day of the union is over. Evolution is at work folks. Open your eyes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 12

    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      Did I read a different article than you did? I seem to remember it saying that the union was fighting an additional cut beyond what they had already conceded. There was nothing there about a pay increase. While I agree that the state pension system is a problem, that is not the issue here.

      Unions are not inherently all evil despite what some people preach in the media. Find a more appropriate example if you are just looking to make an anti-union rant.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 7

      • Fernella says:

        PRPE wants the district to pay more then the yearly current 10K cap in place on individual employee insurance plans, retro pay increases back to 2010 to name only two items.
        This is not the time to pump up by being nasty. PRPE needs to step back and take in the whole picture. I do not see them looking beyond there classrooms. Yes, our unions have some good points. Though in this day and age, very few. PRPE is proving it.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

      • r0y says:

        Unions are not inherently all evil? I don’t know about evil, but they inherently hurt whatever industry they are part of, especially PUBLIC SECTOR unionization. Even that horrible progressive FDR didn’t think the public sector should unionize, and with good reason. Adults know what the unions are through and through. It’s only the poorly-informed union members that are the last to see the forest for the trees. I fully support PRIVATE SECTOR unions, hey if you can make it work and be competitive and grow the host you’re feeding off of, then more power to you! I’ve not seen it in the last century or so, but I’m sure any day now…

        I’d love to see a REAL fact-finding mediator who would not be afraid to speak the truth and say, unionized school systems have destroyed our country and continue to destroy lives and lower national IQ’s all in order to justify union leadership’s largess.

        If you are not getting what you think you are worth, go somewhere else or start your own: nobody, and I mean NOBODY owes you a damn thing!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 9

  4. SLOBIRD says:

    I say to all the union boosters that spent millions of their dues to get Prop 30 passed by your great supporter, Mr. Jerry, go ask him for the money you brought and paid from your trusting governor. We gave to you via this big sales tax investment for “Save Our Schools”. Well, California voted to save this ridiculous failing education system and I for one don’t want to give any of you one more penny. Deal with it, like the rest of society! No more whinning, gravy train derailed, no pity panthers wanted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 13

    • No_More_Anger says:

      The rank and file should of voted for Prop 38, the # was dedicated to schools. Oh wait, that would have meant everyone would be taxed, not just the rich.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 4

    • zaphod says:

      Mr. Jerry looks approachable.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  5. TaxMeAgain says:

    Wow, that’s it? Nobody has a single positive comment to make about the teachers getting stabbed in the wallet time and time again? I, for one, am totally tired of getting taxed to death to pay for all this when it seems that all the cash goes to pork and the administration. I want our kids to grow up in a healthy, positive environment (at least for a while) before they mature into hating, bickering, divisive, and bitter Americans. Really.

    Pay for good teachers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 5

  6. Grandmaof9 says:

    What is McNamara’s record – what did she do at the last school district she was at?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 5

    • Ana di Plosis says:

      Grandmaof9: I encourage you to read the next issue of Crimson, the PRHS paper, which is scheduled to come out on Thursday, March 21st. You can get a free copy at the front desk in the main office.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

      • Grandmaof9 says:

        (smile) I know the answer already… My 6 year old grandson has been so fortunate that his first 2 teachers have been the best – I just pray that teachers of this caliber aren’t forced to ltake early retirement because of the actions of this woman and the board – Our children – our FUTURE needs teachers that got the extra mile for the kids today – so that our future leaders will have a well rounded education. These kids are our future folks – and they aren’t asking for more money – they are just asking their salaries to not be cut any more…

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  7. racket says:

    Union bullies are union bullies, whether they are longshoremen or kindergarten teachers.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 21 Thumb down 21

    • Ana di Plosis says:

      What makes you think that our union reps are “bullies”? Standing up to the district administrators so they can’t walk all over us? Jim Lynett is as mild-mannered as they come, and Robert Skinner is one of the most affable people I’ve ever met. If anything, they show tremendous restraint and patience in dealing with district administrators on our behalf. I have never known either of them to use profanity or even hyperbole, and they base our union meetings on the most accurate information currently available. In short, you don’t know what or whom you’re talking about.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 10

      • r0y says:

        What you often fail to recognize, every time you post Ana, is that the super is going to get her pay no matter what, there is NO FINANCIAL BENEFIT for her to lower or raise teacher’s pay / work days, etc. This is the inherent problem with public sector unionization – there is no one who benefits on the “other side” of the table from the unions.

        So why would public sector management limit public sector employee pay packages? Could it be because there is NO MONEY to continue on current projections? Is the union or it’s teachers involved in the budgeting process? Sure, we can all say the management can take pay cuts, are over-paid, etc. but even adding ALL of management’s salaries would not have the same effect as reducing the vastly larger body’s income.

        I think, in the end, it all comes down to PENSIONS. The government historically promises what it cannot deliver, and we’re just now having it START to catch up with us all.

        I’d love to see all these great teachers get together, and instead of forming a union actually establish an alternate, competitive school where they can set the agenda, salaries, curriculum, etc. But no, being mad at someone is so much easier and safer.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 9

  8. winedude says:

    Some can do; the others teach. No sympathy here…for EITHER side.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 23

    • No_More_Anger says:

      I’m with you, don’t like Mac and the unions give teachers a bad conotation

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 8

    • Ana di Plosis says:

      Some people can teach; the others have to settle for doing something less important for society.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 13

      • r0y says:

        Wow. I think I would rank water-purification and delivery, food supply / agriculture, and even electricity a bit more important than education. Without education, I am ignorant. Without food, water, and energy, I am a starving homeless person without any sanitation.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9

        • Ana di Plosis says:

          Electricians provide electricity; teachers provide enlightenment.

          Farmers and ranchers provide food; teachers provide food for thought.

          We all have something valuable to offer society. But nothing is more important

          to preserving democracy than educating those who will become the future voters

          and leaders of this great Republic.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 6

          • r0y says:

            As someone who has spent a lot of time in communist-run countries, that sounds very familiar: “educating those who will become the future voters”

            Yes. Educate them. That’s what we’ll call it.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

            • Ana di Plosis says:

              Yes, rOy, education is a threat to democracy. Yes, rOy, people who make a living teaching children how to read, write, and reason are enemies of the Republic. TNow go back to watching Fox-News and leave the serious thinking about educational issues to rational, non-paranoid adults.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 4

              • r0y says:

                Right on cue, you missed the point. How can we trust you to teach critical thought if you cannot even grasp the simplest of metaphors?

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8

                • Ana di Plosis says:

                  rOy: What did you intend to be metaphorical about your last post?

                  Please educate me.

                  Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

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