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Ax falls on Las Lomitas School District budget

Original post made on Feb 12, 2010

Just as Las Lomitas School District board members were preparing to begin the painful process of cutting the district budget by about $1.2 million at the board's Feb. 10 meeting, they were hit with a new blow: They were told that they needed to add another $300,000 in cuts to the earlier target figure.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 12, 2010, 10:54 AM

Comments (24)

Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 12, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Here is what California law requires of a school district:

"S8. Status of Labor Agreements Analyze the status of employee labor agreements.
Identify new labor agreements that have been ratified since budget adoption1, as well as new commitments provided as part of previously ratified multiyear agreements; and include all contracts, including all administrator contracts (and including all compensation). For new agreements, indicate the date of the required board meeting.
Compare the increase in new commitments to the projected increase in ongoing revenues and explain how these commitments will be funded in future fiscal years.
If salary and benefit negotiations are not finalized, upon settlement with certificated or classified staff:
The school district must determine the cost of the settlement, including salaries, benefits, and any other agreements that change costs and provide the county office of education with an analysis of the cost of the settlement and its impact on the operating budget.
The county superintendent shall review the analysis relative to the criteria and standards and may provide written comments to the president of the district governing board and the district superintendent."

Yet this district just signed anew labor agreement - where is the above analysis? Why was it not provided to the public? Why are the citizens and the newspapers not insisting on getting this information?


Posted by Parent, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 12, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Mr. Carpenter,
you don't appear to live in the Las Lomitas school district, yet you've gone to some effort to educate us about laws related to school budgets. Is there a particular reason for your interest?


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 12, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I stipulate that I do not live in the Las Lomitas School District but as a California taxpayer I am indeed helping support YOUR schools.

And as a citizen I find it disturbing when the public is not kept fully informed by public officials.


Posted by district parent, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 12, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Mr. Carpenter,

The district has really worked within the law/requirements, it is our teachers who are holding out and demanding more and refusing contracts. They have just settled last years contract and are still bargaining for this year. As the highest paid teachers it's very sad that they are often at odds and oblivious to the struggles of the district/parents/current economic conditions. If you have any good way to bargain with the teachers union please attend a school board meeting as it is public.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 12, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

When unions won't negotiate in good faith then you just say NO.

That is what the Fire District has done for over 18 months. You certainly don't capitulate to the union's demands.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 15, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Mr. Carpenter, I appreciate your insight and as taxpayers people should be informed. Unfortunately, schools are about the officals' personal agendas that's why we're where we are. Time will tell how the distribution of wealth works out for even the rich school districts.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 15, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Carpeter wrote: Yet this district just signed a new labor agreement - where is the above analysis? Why was it not provided to the public? Why are the citizens and the newspapers not insisting on getting this information?

You would think the dept of education would be interested in this analysis for their budget analysis too. If your statement that it's CA law, you should contact their legal counsel.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 15, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Parent states:"If your statement that it's CA law, you should contact their legal counsel."

Oh Citizen, Sweet Citizen do not expect others to carry out YOUR responsibilities. YOU should ensure that YOUR school district complies with the law.


Posted by Joey, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Feb 16, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Peter,
No one cares about the laws of CA. Are you naive to believe that school districts care or anyone really care to do any analysis that is "required"? So a slap on the fingers by their buddies in Sacramento and back to the old ways. Union this union that, hey it's about the api scores and getting fed and state funds and keep your turf it's not about laws kids or whether your kids have access to any decent schools. It's about status quo power control and making sure your tax dollars are nicely distributed.


Posted by Lebron, a resident of Menlo Park: Stanford Hills
on Feb 18, 2010 at 10:36 pm

Professional atheletes haves unions to protect their interests, mainly salary and the player's "fair" share of the pie.

Nothing different, you folks want a top school. The teachers have worked hard for many decades to deliver what you want, the "BEST". Just like where you parents went: Harvard and Stanford and Princeton and Yale and etc. only the best for your kids right?

Well, how much is that worth to you? The union is hear to make sure they get their fair share for their customers.

If they create you value (a GREAT SCHOOL), they want their share. You are in awe of what young atheletes make out of college. $20, 30, 40 Million a year, do you think these 20 year olds got that without a union? These teachers probably deserve to make a lot more than what they are getting, if you consider that they have delivered you the NUMBER ONE school in the State.

The herd affect fell for the real estate marketing and inflated perception of the so called "good" school districts. Now when this start to tumble the ones hurt the most will be the kids and families who bought their homes in the last few years into this big fat bubble.


Posted by Soccer Dad, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Feb 20, 2010 at 9:17 am

Next year looks grim. Real estate prices soft and higher enrollment will make it worst combined with more State cuts in their effort to distribute the funds more evenly amoung schools. Majority of school districts in CA are in much worst shape than LLSD. Someone smart at the capital will suggest a legislation to make more cuts to Basic Aid districts I am sure.

Parents will pay more in taxes locally or see the schools and thus, real estate values decline. A slow painful deflating of the system.


Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 21, 2010 at 9:19 am

Don't support any candidates for public office that are backed by public sector unions, unless you like having your money taken away to support unjustifiable wages and benefits.


Posted by Sam, a resident of Portola Valley: Los Trancos Woods/Vista Verde
on Feb 22, 2010 at 8:56 pm

As a decision maker, I dread dealing with unions. However, I must agree with Mr. Carpenter on a firm stance.

As I learn more about this district and how the admin. and parents are dealing with the teachers union, I am not impressed. The manipulation and negativity will come back to bite you.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Feb 22, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

As I posted elsewhere:

Faced with dropping revenues and unsustainable employee pay and retirement costs local governments need to act NOW. While negotiating changes with unions will be necessary over the long term there is something that each local government could do today to begin controlling its long term costs.

They could take this pledge:

"Given the economic pressure which we face and our inability to quickly change our agreements with our employee unions, we therefore pledge to hire no new or replacement employees after 31 December 2010 until we have been able to negotiate new, more affordable retirement programs for the positions involved."


Posted by Joseph E. Davis, a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 23, 2010 at 6:57 pm

Or how about this pledge:

Given my fiduciary duty to the taxpayers of this community, I pledge to reduce all salaries and benefits to an appropriate, representative, market level, that in no case will be greater than the average pay level of this city.


Posted by Ben, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Mar 5, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Beginning of the down cycle, our legislators will spread the wealth among the school districts. Private schools will benefit as the cycle evolves.


Posted by Susan, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Mar 12, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Consolidate Portola Valley, Woodside, Atherton schools into one district and get rid of all the overhead. There are many school districts (Palo Alto, Cupertino, San Jose, etc.) where there are a dozen or more schools with one superintendent and staff. Why do you need 3 superintendents will all that admin. support? I guess the tax payers are willing to pay for that extra fat and would rather see cuts in music, arts, and larger class sizes.


Posted by Jackie, a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Apr 5, 2010 at 6:01 am

Property values down and most more recent/younger homeowners are under water. Now they learn that the schools they paid extra for is heading south. What an awaking when they start to think about moving out of the district. Assessment is way above actual value and higher taxes keeps new buyers out. Ouch.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 5, 2010 at 6:13 am

Jackie states:"Assessment is way above actual value and higher taxes keeps new buyers out. Ouch."
Easily solved - the law requires the property to be reassessed to actual value upon request to the County assessor.


Posted by Peter Carpenter, a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 5, 2010 at 6:25 am

Note this deadline:
Currently, we are accepting decline applications for the 2010-11 tax year. We will continue to accept applications for the 2009-10 tax year until 4/15/10; any applications submitted for 2009-10 after that date will not be accepted.

see:
Web Link


Posted by Jackie, a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Apr 7, 2010 at 3:57 am


Carpenter writes: "Easily solved - the law requires the property to be reassessed to actual value upon request to the County assessor."

In theory yes, but ask the people who requested a reduction in assessments in an environment when the County "needs" your tax dollars. It's like pulling teeth from a rhino, you can try but good luck.

It's like trying to get anything done with big government or school boards, nothing gets done but you have to keep feeding the system or the sky will fall down on you. Life is good, lets keep it that way.



Posted by Jackie, a resident of Woodside: Woodside Heights
on Apr 7, 2010 at 3:57 am


Carpenter writes: "Easily solved - the law requires the property to be reassessed to actual value upon request to the County assessor."

In theory yes, but ask the people who requested a reduction in assessments in an environment when the County "needs" your tax dollars. It's like pulling teeth from a rhino, you can try but good luck.

It's like trying to get anything done with big government or school boards, nothing gets done but you have to keep feeding the system or the sky will fall down on you. Life is good, lets keep it that way.



Posted by Jake, a resident of another community
on Apr 15, 2010 at 5:41 am

These so called number one or top public schools with wannabe ("look at me") rich folks all have one thing in common. They are programmed to make sure your kids are good test takers so that you can someday be like mommy and daddy who went to an ivy league school. The problem is that without the arts music and other social skills your kids will be just that, a good test taker who you will support beyond his 18th birthday. It's a public school people, they only have so much funds and you have molded them (teachers and admin) to give you the results you desire, top API's.


Posted by Jose, a resident of another community
on Jun 21, 2010 at 10:55 pm

My family and I will be renting a older house but it is in las lomitas schools district. I have 3 kids and my wife have 2 from another marriage, we looking forward to it because las lomitas is one of the best if not the best school in California. Unfortunately the high schools are not good in menlo park but by that time we will move to another school. I wonder if more cuts will be coming the future.


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