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Photos: Community Sounds Off on School Layoffs

Parents, teachers, students and school board members bemoaned the consideration of more than 80 layoffs of Monrovia Unified School District teachers, counselors and employees at Wednesday's board meeting.

The school board voted unanimously Wednesday to start the layoff process for more than 80 teachers, counselors and district employees despite unanimous condemnation of the situation from audience members and the board members themselves.

Facing a projected $14 million budget deficit in the next three years due to decreased state funding, school board members voted to begin the layoff process that could result in the termination of 86 full and part-time employees.

Board members stressed that their hands were tied by the state, while parents, teachers and students focused their remarks on the importance of school counselors to education and pleaded with the board to preserve their jobs.

To read more about what Wednesday's vote means, click here.

Click on each person's picture to see what they had to say on the topic Wednesday night and share your own thoughts in the comments.

Jacen Crehan February 23, 2012 at 04:59 PM
I might add that counselors and school personnel overall are getting more and more important as our economy worsens. Parents are stretched to their max and feeling a lot of stress that could impact their children. Having a person at school to turn to in a time of need like this is critical.
Joe Black February 23, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Wow! You can't make this stuff up. The District is crying poverty and cutting jobs but managed to fowl up two huge fundraisers that would have required no effort on their part. First the Superintendant and the School Board turned down the body building event at the Highschool, because of building improvements conflicts which had not even gone out to bid, then they fowl up a PTA fundraiser because it was at the Arcadia mall. Talk about mismanagement and no fiscal responsibility.
Tracy Ramirez February 23, 2012 at 05:47 PM
This is such a bummer. I really feel for all of us involved-all schools are hurting in the state as a result of fiscal irresponsibility up in the Capitol. We are all pawns in a sick and twisted political game of "mine is bigger than yours". I wish politicians would see the real victims of their nonsense are not the other politicians they're trying to beat, but the kids and their future-which is our future as well.
Carmen Martinez February 23, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Being a regular volunteer at my children's classrooms, I can attest to the fact that our district cannot take any more cuts. Ms. Dedini is right. Children need to build rapport with adults that are able to handle difficult situations. Ms. Luna, counselor at Santa Fe, knows all of the kids by name, and truly goes out of her way to help and support them. Our teachers are not just clocking in and out, they go out of their way to help our children. Ms. Zucco is our biggest advocate, if she voted to have ongoing conversations about layoffs, then I know the Board hands are truly tied. Joe Black is right, there have been times where either City Council or the District do not support fundraising, but it is a drop in the bucket. Mayflower PTA has raised $32,000.00 but our budget has a $14 million deficit. There is no way fundraising can raise that kind of money on an on-going basis, even if we Shop Monrovia 24/7. The money comes from the State. There has to be a better alternative than cutting 86 jobs this year. Next year we will still be in a deficit, and probably the year after that. Does that mean that we will continue to layoff teachers to balance the budget? At this rate, we might as well start considering home schooling! Laying off teachers is a drastic measure. Delivering pink slips creates a sense of uncertainty. How can we expect the teachers, counselors and other staff to continue to do their job with that uncertainty?
Brendell February 23, 2012 at 07:18 PM
It is totally ridiculous that they are cutting positions without a thought of prioritizing the importance of each position with respect to the students. Typical politics for you. First they wanted to control the Fundraisers and now this. If any cuts are made, it should be the cutting of paychecks to the highest paid individuals first and scale the cuts down the totem pole. Say, start with a 10% paycut to the highest ranking and scaled down to 5% for the lower ranks. This would make the most sense of the situation and save many important positions. I realize that something has to be done, but really, cutting 80 or more jobs is suppose to make sense ??? Why not, implement the pay cuts and save 1/2 of those jobs. I bet, many would be willing to take a pay cut in order to save their colleagues positions. Many of us, can live with a 10% pay cut, it will not put anyone in the poor house. What it will do, is solidify a good education for each of our kids in Monrovia. The hard decisions have to be made, not everyone will be happy with it....... but the Board is taking a political view on things and its not right !!
Tracy Ramirez February 23, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Maybe this is off the topic, and I posted this elsewhere as well, but does the lack of funding being allocated have to do with Prop 13? When homes convert one property into a multi-unit rental property, many of which are in Monrovia, does that impact the school budgets? I am just curious because Monrovia seems to be the land of converted garages and single family homes with back yards that have been developed and turned into small apartment complexes. With up to, say, 6 families living on one property, and property taxes being paid from just the single owner of the property, does this exhaust or put a strain on the system? It seems like a major flaw that could impact the way monies are allocated. Or maybe I'm not understanding how Prop 13 works and how funds are given to our city for schools. Can someone clarify this for me? The finance nerd in me wants to find a mathematical solution to the problems my city's district is facing. : (
jake February 23, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Did she really give herself a $ 60,000 raise.
Brendell February 23, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Did who get a $60K raise ? Whoever it is, that is UNACCEPTABLE in this recession !! We should find a way to take it back and reduce her pay by another 10%, as I stated before.
Brendell February 23, 2012 at 08:26 PM
I'm not sure if prop 13 has a direct impact as you are thinking. I'm not totally up to speed with the entire prop 13 thing, it's a little convoluted as far as I know, as with most propositions. What I do know is; when a property has city permits to enlarge or alter to multi-units, they will re-assess the property taxes, therefore, generating more taxes collected. In some cities, there are even fees charged to the homeowner for the school district, when they are pulling construction permits. Converted garages are mostly illegal, so that would not impact taxes. If any property is enlarged with permits from the city, that will usually increase their annual property taxes. Now how much actually goes to the local school district.... I'm not sure, but I want to say, its a percentage of the tax revenue collected. With many properties being foreclosed these days or sitting in limbo, there's much less tax revenue across the board. Also, if people are having hard times, they will be less likely to pay their property taxes on time. In L.A. county, the county assessors cannot foreclosed on a property unless 5 yrs of property taxes are uncollected. If you have loan against the property, taxes may go 2 yrs delinquent before the bank gets wind of it and pays it for the homeowner, so the county wont foreclosed on it. There is a huge delinquency now in terms of property taxes getting paid everywhere. That is a huge problem which does trickle down directly to the schools as well.
Giselle Moreau February 24, 2012 at 12:12 AM
I'd just like to re-iterate, as I did at that meeting, that something needs to change, and NOT at the school level.. Especially when the average teacher's salary in MUSD was $70,287, and the superintendent salary in 2011, was $191,672. And, on top of that teacher's even after a certain number of years, peak at around $80,000. Cutting teachers, counselors, as well as their pay, while retaining a salary well over the state average ($159,000). Seems like the idea of "sharing the burden" falls on deaf ears..
Brendell February 24, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Wow, that is absurd. I'm sure she also takes home a nice bene's package as well as perks and a healthy retirement #. If she really cares about the kids in this city, then she should reduce her pay first and urge the rest of the admin to do the same, but scaled accordingly. This is what I mean, that a 10% pay-cut won't matter to people with her salary. She should actually take a 15-20% pay cut and show the rest what a great leader she is and that she really cares. Its not a perfect fix, but a better start than what the Board has in mind....... Anyhow, let me know if anyone can put together a protest in front of the Admin Bldg. I'm there !! OCCUPY MONROVIA !!
Genevieve Sheehan February 24, 2012 at 12:57 AM
Can the city use any of the $40M from the sale of land for the Gold Line expansion and divert it toward schools to make up this shortfall? These layoffs don't make sense even fiscally. If the shortfall in education funding from the state is $14M over the next 3 years, the salaries and benefits for 80 people don't even scratch the surface of that.
Carmen Martinez February 24, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Giselle, could you please send your speech to Nathan (nathan.mcintire@patch.com)? We will all benefit from reading it. And re-reading it.
Mike Goblirsch February 26, 2012 at 12:12 AM
We need to fix this budget crisis before it is too late. The children are suffering. I work in the LAUSD school district and we have been losing staff over the last few years. Classrooms are overcrowded. Counselors are overwhelmed. Clerical staff have been reduced in force and asked to take on more burdens. Our janitorial staff has been cut in half and they are not able to keep up with the work that needs to be done. I suppose we could ask them to put in extra hours for free but they have families like all us. We need to educate our students and prepare them to be functional members of society. We are not doing that. We need to get it right. We need to fix this budget.
Giselle Moreau February 26, 2012 at 07:03 PM
The other issue here though (although I completely agree with you), lands with the teachers' union. I believe that group is the one that sets up the whole "seniority" rule for security of their employees... So, many of the individuals who are being cut are being let go because of their place in years compared to other members... There are plenty of staff members whose jobs are secure that do not work as hard as some of the "younger" employees; this as well, is wrong. It's not how you run a business, and as far as I'm concerned, does not in any way benefit the students at the school. Staff members jobs should be secure based on other reasons besides "seniority.." Such rationale has nothing to do with their competence on the job.
Tom Adams February 26, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Tracy, the problems we face have nothing to do with Prop. 13. If you look at the overall taxation in California before and since Prop. 13 the amount of taxes paid in California has increased 4 times more than the cost of living has. That means if your job is tied to the cost of living but the taxes you pay have increased 4 fold you are falling behind. The issue is WHERE the money goes and our good friends up in Sacramento have that so fouled up it may take decades to fix it. The political friends of the current power in Sacramento has been given plenty. The Correctional Officers got the sweetest deal in their history just last year, as the Governor was slashing school funds. Sacramento has become, more than ever, a pay to play word and those who pay the most get the most, they really don't care about our children.

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