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Angry teachers and parents voice concerns at Lodi Unified School District meeting over class sizes, transportation

"Current system is not working"

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Posted: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 9:59 am, Tue Aug 10, 2010.

Forty-five students in a fifth-grade class at Davis Elementary School. Five combination classes at Reese Elementary. Fifty students in a junior high drama class at an unidentified school, and 84 in physical education.

Parents pulling their children from public school classes to either enroll them in private school or commence home schooling.

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  • Charlotte Fye posted at 7:24 am on Wed, Aug 11, 2010.

    Charlotte Fye Posts: 3

    I would love to hear from anyone else - we have all heard REPEATEDLY from this gentleman how he feels about this issue. Does the entire public agree with his view? By the way, my 3rd graders can tell you that a fact is something you can prove; an opinion is something someone thinks, which may or may not be based in reality. We were asked to take a 17% pay cut (raise freeze, permanent pay cut, and furlough days add up to 17%). While we put in more hours for free than any other profession I know of, and are compensated poorly, we are in it for the kids' and our futures. Our superintendent has 3 secretaries, all of whom make over $80,000, none of whom are college graduates, and we are not supposed to be insulted by that. Additionally, the cheapest health care benefits package our district offers is over $500.00 a month. We don't want anything additional with the possible exception of an across the board pay cut for all district employees. I find it interesting that we pay our firemen, policemen, nurses, and teachers so poorly and yet the very backbone of our society relies on those very people. I would love to hear from someone else - anyone else - other than listen to this man repeat AGAIN what he has already said. Of course he is a bully, but the last time I checked, this was still America. I hope I'm right about that part at least!

  • Charlotte Fye posted at 9:00 pm on Tue, Aug 10, 2010.

    Charlotte Fye Posts: 3

    WOW!! Really personal and very redundant. Must be a sad person to have such a negative, narrow view of something you clearly have no personal experience with. You can keep accusing us of being selfish all you want, but that just shows you did not listen to how many times our concerns involve others who are effected in the bigger picture. No need to repeat back to me what you have said over and over - you have made it clear you refuse to allow any logic into you emotions. The future of our nation is really scary out there, folks!

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:34 am on Mon, Aug 9, 2010.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Charlotte Fye …Here are just a few facts:…
    Again, 90% of the entire budget comes from salary and benefits. The cuts in salary were across the board for administrators, teachers and all personnel. The points you make are trivial and petty in my view. Again, if everyone had taken a larger pay cut, all teachers would have kept their job… and the children would have had a better year. You have demonstrated selfishness and greed by refusing to do what was in your control, voting yes. The package offered was too generous yet was voted down for insignificant minor points of concern. The blame is squarely on the shoulders of the union and teachers. If I were to blame the district for anything, it would be for limiting the salary cut to 2%. The tax payers deserve better.

  • Charlotte Fye posted at 12:29 pm on Sat, Aug 7, 2010.

    Charlotte Fye Posts: 3

    Here are just a few facts: 1. Lodi Unified refused to tell us how many jobs we would save IF we took their deal, and we were told it was an "inappropriate" question for us to ask! 2. Lodi Unified INSISTED that we pay for a whole year's worth of furlough days out of 2 paychecks - REFUSED to let us spread it out over a period of months. How many people taking furlough days have to take all 12 days out of 1 or 2 paychecks?!? 3. Lodi Unified REFUSED to make pink-slipped employees exempt from the furlough days hit. 4. Lodi Unified laid off all of the vice principals in full public view and then hired them ALL back when the public was NOT made aware. 5. Lodi Unified expects their teachers and students to take 100% of the financial hit, while the district office houses the highest paid employees who work for the district and who NEVER step foot in a classroom or impact students' learning! See the article on the chief budget officer who just retired - "Barge's annual salary went from $139,000 in 2007-08 to $160,000 currently" - in fact, his first act when he got promoted to chief budget officer was to give himself a raise!! How ironic these people keep making more and more money and our kids get less and less. This has NOTHING to do with how we feel about unions and their politics - it is about our kids and their futures!!

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 8:25 am on Thu, Aug 5, 2010.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Since 90% of the entire budget goes to salary and benefits, I think the attention you pay to district wasteful spending is a very minor point or even a diversion from the teachers and union strategy to get what they want. It is a common strategy of the union to instigate anger and generate support by creating issues that apply political pressure to the decision makers (the board). I n this case, since the union could have easily prevented the lay offs and larger class size, one could easily conclude that the union desired large class size in order to apply this pressure. By blaming the school board and making them the villain, the union can achieve their ends of better salary and benefits by fanning the flames…to me, the teachers are pawns in the game of theirs.

  • Honey Mars posted at 9:43 pm on Wed, Aug 4, 2010.

    Honey Mars Posts: 20

    Yes, Kim, if you had a friend that was a Lodi teacher, they would have told you all about the wasteful spending taking place at the District office. The District Office has done a lot of shady things since Huyett arrived. Try researching without your personal situation. Then go see how a kindergarten teacher handles a class of 36 5 year olds.

    Sorry posted on other article, I can't get use to this new server

  • Melissa Evans posted at 7:52 pm on Wed, Aug 4, 2010.

    Melissa Evans Posts: 4

    I agree that parents need to take more responsibility for their own children. I am also a working mother of 3 children that attend LUSD schools. I was very sad to see the turn out tonight at the Kindergarten back to school night. I will say the transportation issue has put me in a hard situation. I have 3 children so finding another parent, which I have tried to do, to take all 3 of my kids to school so I can be at work on time is about impossible. Most do not have room in their car for my 3 and their 2+ kids. My children are to young to walk by themselves and it is far to dangerous as we live in the country. I am one of the Lucky working parents because my boss was very understanding of my situation and I was able to change my start time and drive my kids to school. This does not just effect me it also effects all my co-works as they have to wait on me to get there to start the day. As for the class sizes I do believe that they are to big and that parents need to help as much as possible. I volunteer 3 days a week when I get off work. It may only be the last 45 min. of the day but I can get a lot done for the teacher in that 45 min. I would like to see the district be more understanding of the parents and their concerns and I would also like to see more parents step up and help your own child, school, teachers, and neighbors.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 3:29 pm on Wed, Aug 4, 2010.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Kim... I see thousands of employees in the same situation as you as I am in the employee benefits industry. I agree with you and my heart goes out to many. I know that the salary and benefits teachers get are very good for the situation. Instead of anger and frustration, they should be happy and thankful for what they do have. I’m glad you posted what you have to deal with as it is very common. Instead, the result of their actions seem to give them yet another reason to see the glass half empty when in reality it is overflowing. The union could have easily prevented the class size increase and teacher layoffs; instead we are treated to this article showing negativism.

  • Kim Parigoris posted at 1:34 pm on Wed, Aug 4, 2010.

    Kim Parigoris Posts: 470

    I have heard numerous people lately say that they were always in the teachers corner in the past, but now it seems to be about big unions, and what THEY can get out of it- the heck with the kids. My hours have been cut back at work from 40 to 28-32, and I have no paid vacation or sick time due to cutbacks. My health insurance deductible has doubled and I am 100% responsible for the first 5,000 annually. I'm not complaining, my employer is just trying to stay alive in these tough times and I am happy to be employed.. this whole situation is tough on all of us...so the gimme mentality is wearing us thin..

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 1:10 pm on Wed, Aug 4, 2010.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    If these teachers are representative of the majority of teachers, I think parents should quickly remove their children from Lodi Unified. The class size increase was sealed the day 80% voted against the deal that was offered by the district. In fact, if the teachers would have insisted the district increase the salary reduction from 2% to 10%, then no teacher would have been terminated and all class sizes would have remained as it was.
    From my perspective, this outrage and anger is misguided. If teachers are this misinformed about this issue, maybe they are not fit to be teachers. This is more an issue of selfishness than about the children. I do think Lodi teachers are hard working and dedicated… but on this issue… I do not get it.

  • Kim Parigoris posted at 9:59 am on Wed, Aug 4, 2010.

    Kim Parigoris Posts: 470

    "Thompson then termed the concerns a "game" and called on the teachers to put pressure on their union leaders to come to an agreement to help reduce class sizes." How ironic, when the unions are largely at fault for the financial woes of this state and country! As far as the busing, I saw a story a couple weeks ago with a furious parent about the busing situation. Then we read that she is a stay at home Mom- and she has to get her children up at different times- sorry, not getting a lot of sympathy here. When did it become the sole responsibility of the school and government to do everything? Times are rough, and are going to get tougher and everyone needs to pitch in and think outside the box. We can not rely on the government to do everything for us, and private citizens may have to do the old fashioned thing and form carpools, start attending PTA meetings and getting involved and helping out! I have a friend that is a teacher with over 200 students throughout her day and on Parent night she had 4 parents show up. The blame game ain't cuttin' it folks! Yes, there are huge problems, and class size is one of them. The high school I went to had class sizes of 40+ students...we also had dress codes, discipline and were not allowed to leave school grounds, etc- we had rules- what a novel idea, and even the "rowdiest" of us still had respect for our teachers!! We were disciplined if we needed it, not threatening to report a teacher or parent to the authorities if we didn't like it. Time to turn the clock back a little bit and get a grip.



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