Paso Robles teachers demand superintendent tell the truth
March 11, 2013
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.”