SB City Unified board discusses budget hit of $25 million
Mike Cruz, Staff Writer
Posted: 03/01/2011 09:37:08 PM PST

SAN BERNARDINO – Scores of employees of the San Bernardino City Unified School District came out to the school board’s meeting Tuesday night to oppose millions of dollars in proposed cuts.

The board had voted 4-1 on Feb. 22, with two members absent, to approve $25 million in proposed cuts for the 2011-12 school year. The cuts were made assuming that voters in June will reject Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to extend several tax increases.

The board had not taken any action on the budget matter before press time.

By law, the district must send out notices by March 15 to warn of possible layoffs. Several employees addressed the board publicly during the meeting to oppose the planned cuts.

Cynthia Andrade, who has worked for the district for 22 years, said she was angry about the cuts which tell employees they are not valued. She said some substitutes were given a $2.45-per-hour increase, while all other the employees can expect to take a 5 percent pay cut.

The total expected decrease for her was about 30 percent, she told the board.

“To me, and the employees I work with, it’s like a slap in our faces,” Andrade said.

The board had received more than 35 slips from people requesting to speak at the meeting.

Many people at the meeting held up signs saying: “What would you do with 24 percent” and “I wouldn’t have to find a third job.” Another sign played on the district’s motto: “Learning? Achieving? Succeeding?”

Fourth-grade teacher Eddie Barker asked the board to give employees more time with their families, instead of the pay cuts, through furloughs or a reduction in the school year.

“Most teachers consistently work beyond their contracted hours,” Barker told the board, while holding his young daughter.

Board President Danny Tillman said the proposed cuts have nothing to do with how the district values its employees.

“The only reason we made the cuts is because the state said we’re not going to fund you,” Tillman said. “It’s not an easy decision to make.”

Board member Teresa Parra Craig said she understood that the district had to make the cuts, but she wasn’t “getting” and was unsupportive of the process. She voted against the cuts.

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