South Bay Principal Open to Salary Cuts
A principal at a high school in Otay Mesa says he and others are willing to take pay cuts to save the jobs of four instructors, the U-T says. If the instructors are laid off, the average class size at Montgomery High will grow from 31 to 34 students.
"In my 24 years of education, I have never seen a teacher released due to their ineffectiveness," the principal said, touching on the continuing debate over how difficult it is to get rid of bad teachers. "To lose some of the people who work the most or are effective, that's just not right."
--from Voice of San Diego Morning Report by Randy Dotinga
South County principal calls for salary cuts to save teachers
By Ashly McGlone
San Diego Union-Tribune
February 22, 2011
OTAY MESA — Montgomery High School Principal Lee Romero sees the $24 million deficit the Sweetwater Union High School District is trying to close in its $320 million budget through layoffs and wonders if there isn’t a better solution.
Such as salary cuts.
Romero said he and his wife, who is a teacher, along with others would be willing to take a pay cut if it meant saving the four instructors slated to be laid off at his school if class sizes grow from 31 to 34 students, as proposed by the district.
“At what point do we do the right thing and take the cuts away from the classroom, because it is going to hurt our kids? Nobody including the district, including the unions, are talking about taking a pay cut,” Romero said. “If we go this route (by increasing class sizes), it is going to be bad for everybody.”...
Among the teachers Romero expects to lose under seniority rules that come into effect during layoffs is special education teacher Juan Carrillo and county Teacher of the Year nominee Rhea Walker. They have been teaching for four years and 11 years, respectively.
According to Romero, those who could lose their jobs have contributed to his campus seeing an 85-point increase on the state’s performance index.
“To have more students in a classroom means more special ed students in a classroom, and it almost seems impossible,” Carrillo said.
Romero said no one should be laid off.
“In my 24 years of education, I have never seen a teacher released due to their ineffectiveness,” Romero said. “To lose some of the people who work the most or are effective, that’s just not right.”
Walker can see both sides of the tenure system.
“Time and again you have proven your worth, but the bottom line is still the dollars,” Walker said. “You are thankful and grateful to have something there to guarantee you have a job, but at the same time it’s a double-edged sword.”
Romero said pay cuts need to be addressed.
“There’s 10 percent unemployment in California and people are taking cuts, but we have not,” he said.
About 110 pink slips were issued last year; all but six Spanish teachers were called back to work. Administrators are taking four furloughs this year...
The district cut $11 million from this year’s budget to help close a more than $23 million deficit. The shortfall was covered with stimulus funds and previously restricted money that the state freed up for use in other areas.