This statement comes after the ECSTA and the CUSD signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing to keep increased class sizes for the 2012 – 2013 school year last Tuesday. This is the third year that an MOU regarding class increases has been signed.
With this MOU in place, all CUSD classes continue to hold two more students than before.
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Most classes in the district have 35 students or more, MacGaffey said, and this is detrimental for students’ education.
But this may be the last time that the ECSTA signs this type of MOU.
“There are over $9 million (27 percent of the budget), set aside in the fund for economic uncertainties, when the state only requires $1.3 million (4 percent),” MacGaffey said in a written statement. “This is why the teachers’ association is saying enough to the MOU agreement to keep our class sizes high.”
MacGaffey does acknowledge that a portion of the reserve fund is money that the state has deferred.
Still, about half of the reserve fund “is money in the bank,” he said, so “there are other options out there — other than doing this MOU.”
But using the reserves isn’t the main avenue contemplated to bring class sizes to their original size, at least not yet.
Revenue from a tax initiative recently proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown is the option that the union is backing.
“If that (tax initiative) passes, our district will be just fine and we won’t need this class (size) increase anymore,” said Catherine Drew, president of the ECSTA.
“We hope, we plan and we will work for the passage of the tax increase initiative, which will provide more revenue to the state and more revenue to education,” she said.
But if the tax initiative doesn’t go through, MacGaffey said, then teachers will negotiate options different from the MOU.
These options may be taking a furlough day, lose an administrative position or encourage the use of the reserve, he said.
And if the teachers are successful and class sizes are reduced, he said, then the school district will have to hire about 10 teachers.
CUSD Superintendent Thomas Budde wasn’t available for comments.
Staff Writer Alejandro Davila can be reached at 760-337-3445 or email@example.com