Del Mar Union School District and Teachers Association reach budget agreement

By Karen Billing

An agreement has been reached between the Del Mar Union School District and the Del Mar California Teachers Association (DMCTA), resulting in $1 million in budget solutions. The budget solutions teachers agreed to were increasing class sizes from 20:1 to 22:1 in grades kindergarten through third; a corresponding reduction in Extended Studies Curriculum; no more oversize class stipends; no more upper grade compensatory days; and reduced out-of-contract pay for shared contracts.

The one-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) was passed by the teachers last week and the board voted 5-0 to accept the MOU at its April 25 meeting.

President Doug Rafner said he was shocked because he’d heard so much about the preference for the proposed furloughs as a budget solution over class size increases in discussions prior to the April 25 meeting, but was happy that both sides were able to come to a resolution, which he said is no easy feat.

Trustee Scott Kholos said he was a little disappointed in the outcome but he had pride that smart, thoughtful people were able to sit around a table and come to some agreement about what they feel is best for the district.

“It isn’t a perfect solution but it is what happens when you’re negotiating between two sides. Is it exactly what both sides wanted? I think both would say ‘no.’ It’s kind of a messy process and you come up with the best solution possible,” said Tim Asfazadour, assistant superintendent of human resources. “It’s a tough process but we aren’t like Ramona whose teachers are looking at going on strike…It’s not the best solution but we didn’t get to an impasse because we continued to negotiate in good faith.”

The MOU is the result of two years worth of negotiations.

“It has been a very purposeful deliberation process and no decision was taken lightly. There was a lot of back and forth at the bargaining table,” said District Superintendent Holly McClurg.

McClurg said all parties worked together as the district faced a very different reality of needing to find at least $2 million in budget cuts to avoid deficit spending and keep a healthy reserve, wanting to come as close to $2.5 million as possible.

In March, the district approved $1,596,130 in cuts and the DMCTA agreement includes the second part of those budget solutions, a savings of approximately $1,011,000.

Some parents in attendance expressed frustration that the DMCTA did not accept five furlough days as an option, a savings of $682,500. Due to those furloughs not being accepted for certificated teachers, the district will not be able to do furloughs for classified and management staff and will have to find another place to trim the approved savings of $202,000. Parents also did not like that class sizes would increase.

“The MOU to me is a disappointment,” said parent Suzanne Hall. “Not only does it effectively roll back cuts that the district has already committed to but it also removes teachers from the teaching pool that we’ve already invested time and money in.”

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