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VVUHSD OK's pay cuts
Board votes 4-1 to approve ratification of contract
VICTORVILLE • In light of the fiscal insolvency facing the Victor Valley Union High School District, the Board of Trustees approved the ratification of the classified employees contract, resulting in uneven cuts for the district's employees and further aggravating teachers, who have taken more pay and benefits cuts than classified employees.
“We have only two choices: painful cuts — which include furlough days and cuts in pay, benefits, etc. — for all employees, or apply for a state loan,” Superintendent Elvin Momon wrote in a letter to district employees on Tuesday. “I implore you to help us keep the ‘VVUHSD voice’ intact and I ask each of you to stand with me, the administration and our Board of Education to problemsolve, collaborate and fight with every ounce of energy and integrity the challenge of state takeover.”
Lakeview Middle School teacher Don Powell, who spoke firmly to the board at Thursday’s meeting, urged the board to act with integrity, alluding to Momon’s letter several times.
According to Powell, the district is asking teachers to give up 4 percent of their salary while classified and management are only giving up 3 percent. Powell further compared the classified and certificated contracts by saying that in addition to eight furlough days, teachers are also taking a 30 percent reduction in sick days, a 40 percent reduction in bereavement, a 400 to 2,000 percent increase in prescription co-pays and a 400 percent increase in the cost of office visits to health and wellness centers.
Although the district has made significant cuts, Powell believes that it is the teachers who are balancing the district’s budget “on their backs” and “are being asked to sell their soul so that we can maintain local control of this district.”
Powell compared the teachers reductions to the lack of cuts in the newly ratified classified employees contract, which will be in effect until June 30, 2015. The board approved the ratification of the contract at the Thursday night meeting by 4-1.
“Is management being asked to give up bereavement?” Powell asked. “No. Is classified? No. That doesn’t sound like all employees. That doesn’t sound like integrity. Is management being asked to give up 30 percent of their sick days? No. Is classified? No. That doesn’t sound like all employees. That doesn’t sound like integrity.”
Powers verbal accusations to the board ended abruptly, however, when he was confronted by security after his allotted three minutes were up and he continued to talk.
Board member Timothy Hauk agreed with Powell and was the one dissenting vote against the board majority to approve the ratification of the contract. Board member Derek King said that although he agrees with Hauk, he voted in favor of the ratification because of the lack of time to return to negotiations. If the district is not making sufficient progress, the process of turning control over to a state receivership will begin Feb. 15.
Lynnea Lombardo may be reached at (760) 951-6232 or at LLombardo@VVDailyPress.com.
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