UPDATED: Factfinder backs furlough days for Palmdale teachers, PETA responds

This past May, hundreds of teachers and parents gathered in front of the Palmdale School District to protest proposed salary cuts and furlough days. A neutral factfinder has sided with the District in concluding that the cuts are necessary to balance the budget.

This past May, hundreds of teachers and parents gathered in front of the Palmdale School District to protest proposed salary cuts and furlough days. A neutral factfinder has sided with the District in concluding that the cuts are necessary to balance the budget.

PALMDALE – A state-appointed factfinder has recommended that the Palmdale School District and its teachers enter into a multi-year agreement (three years), during which salary reductions and furlough days be taken as necessary to balance the District’s budget, according to Superintendent Roger D. Gallizzi.

In a press release issued Monday, Gallizzi outlined the recommendations of Bonnie Castrey, a factfinder appointed by the Public Employee Relations Board as a neutral party to help in contract negotiations between the Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association (PETA) and Palmdale School District.

“After the two full days of hearing and deliberation, the Factfinder Castrey completed and distributed her report and recommendations to the parties on July 4th,” Gallizzi states in the press release. “In that report, Ms. Castrey sides with the District on virtually every substantive point at issue regarding its finances, and recommends a course of action not significantly different to what the District has been proposing for several months.”

According to Gallizzi, the Factfinder made the following findings and recommendations:

  • The District met its very “heavy burden” of proving that it cannot afford to continue to pay salary and benefits at their current level.
  • The District should use salary reductions and furlough days to balance its budget.
  • Teachers should pay for health benefit costs above a health benefits funding cap.

Read the Factfinder’s 23-page report in full here.

“The District remains committed to negotiating immediately and in good faith with PETA in an attempt to find a mutually acceptable solution to the current impasse over teacher salary and benefits,” Gallizzi states.

Gallizzi’s press release explains the history of the contract negotiations, the details of the factfinder’s recommendations and the Palmdale School District’s path forward. Read it in full here.

UPDATED 7/9/13: PETA responds to Fact Finding report

The following is the full statement from Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association President Hugo Estrada, which details PETA’s position on the Fact Finding Report between the Palmdale School District and Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association.

This is the Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association (PETA) position on the Fact Finding Report between the Palmdale School District and Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association. Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association finds the State Neutral’s Report has merits for both sides as substantiated by the fact that panelist from both sides agree and dissent on some areas.

On behalf of the Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association I want to thank the community for supporting our efforts to keep cuts/concessions away from the classroom. In November 2012, you helped us passed Proposition 30 which promised to do exactly that. In January, Governor Jerry Brown presented his new budget and he also mentioned a new method of funding schools based on the needs of those communities. He called it the Local Control Funding Formula. Based on this formula our community’s needs qualify for significant new revenue as noted by the Neutral’s report. Governor Brown signed the budget and eventual trailer bills into law on June 27th. It is important to note that other districts around our area are already using the new information and so should our district.

Experts from School Services of California, John Gray, and California Teachers Association, Angela Su, in January recommended patience when negotiating cuts/concessions until May. With the State Budget now signed and the formula defined, we know the funds are coming and both the District and the Association must use this knowledge to negotiate in good faith.

Pulling numbers from PSD Budget documents, the fact-finders report, CA Department of Finance, and State Assemblyman Steve Fox’s table on http://theavtimes.com/2013/06/17/passage-of-state-budget-benefits-local-school-districts, PSD will receive approximately $11.7 million in new funding next year. Since Proposition 30 taxes will last for 7 years, this new money will continue. In addition to the new funds, the Neutral’s report recommends the District move the extra $5.2 million from the textbook account to the general fund since no new books will be adopted until 2015.

Governor’s Budget:
New unrestricted funding = $8,000,000.00 (minimum)
Common Core funding = $3,700,000.00
Total New Funds $11,700,000.00 (minimum)

Total dollars available $11.7million + $5.2 million= $16.9 million
PSD projected deficit                                         $11,800,000.00

In closing, PETA has a history of co-operation with the district, also noted by the Neutral’ Report. That history merits for both sides to return to the table and negotiate in good faith using Mrs. Castrey Report as a basis for reaching a reasonable settlement. PETA extends a heartfelt thank you to our community for continuing to make public education and our teachers a priority.

Previous related story: Palmdale teachers, parents stage protest

  39 comments for “UPDATED: Factfinder backs furlough days for Palmdale teachers, PETA responds

  1. Quigley
    July 12, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Oh man just bought a new speedo for the pool party! The house is for sale with Galli’s husband so the address is in the cyber world for all to see…it’s called MLS in the real estate world! Sorry, can’t take that one down!

  2. dave
    July 12, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    What does Palmdale School District think there doing by bringing in a Fact/Finder.The District should of be ashame of thereselves for trying to cut Days and Pension Reductions for these teachers.Now we no whats going wrong, with kids getting a good Education,There are other things the District so called Leader can cut and keep these Teachers Working Full Time.This District is chasing the good teachers right out of schools,These kids are the only ones who lose in this Deal.

  3. Quigley
    July 12, 2013 at 8:29 am

    So today is the day for Gsllizzi and his posse to take their heads out of each others a@#…..do the right thing!!!

    • Quigley
      July 13, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      Didn’t do the right thing…not surprised! I just can’t get my head around exactly what this District is trying to accomplish. Jesus the morale in this District is so off the charts they don’t have a chance in hell at regaining it…there’s only one solution and its called clean slate!

  4. Questions
    July 11, 2013 at 11:15 am

    I am a concerned parent. I was educated by the public school sustem and have faired quite well. Perhaps if we were really in a “transparent” district we could have come to viable solution. We are all stakeholders. It’s akin to bowling pins. Once the ball hits one pin it affects the others. Perhaps the first time around some are missed, but at some point of the whole game each one would be hit. The last time I checked, furlough days= pay cut. So the recommendation is for a pay cut plus 9 furlough days. So basically, two separate pay-cuts. So, if the furlough days are restored, will the other 3.8%(?) pay cut be restored as well? These cuts affects the children’s learning time and also hurts the parents because now they have to find the money to pay for additional babysitting, take a risk leaving their under-aged children at home, or losing much needed income by staying home with their children. It appears that the funds are there to maintain status quo so why is there such a push for all of these cuts? It seems like there is a school yard fight happening where the bully rounds up all of his crew to beat up on those that are kind, caring, smart or who he just doesn’t like. We tell our children not to be bullies and we educate them on the characteristics of a bully so they will not become one and to recognize a bully. Wow! In looking at everything g that has gone on in this district, I would have to say, those in leadership have displayed many of those characteristics. I have seen it at the board meetings and public and private events. I must say I was in shock and very disappointed because many of them are good people. I hope that everyone reads this and find a way to come to a positive resolution.

  5. Natalie Ynocente
    July 10, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    I have replied to several comments and now would like to make my own. I am a PSD teacher. I love my job, I love my school, and I don’t know what else I would do in life. It is not an easy career path, but for me, the positives outweigh the negatives. Those who are not educators can pontificate and bash educators and the system, just as those who are not parents can play arm-chair quarterbacks and tell people how they should raise their children, and those who don’t work in retail can tell the stockers how to stock the shelves, and those who are not chefs can tell the cook how to better cook the meat. The issue isn’t about raises or performance-based pay. None of us are asking for raises. We are not rubbing our hands together thinking, “now I can afford that first-class trip to Hawai’i.” We are asking that the money be used to maintain status quo.

    All teachers suffered a hit to their checks last year with furlough days and an increase in insurance premiums, and we saved the district 2.3 million dollars. Those days were returned to us because the funding became available, and no indication was given at any point in time that those days could have been applied to the next year because we would be even further in the hole than we previously were. Had that been an option and the true state of our district was clearly set forth and explained, I truly believe our teachers would have said, “roll them over to help next year.” We are being painted as greedy little brats, and not being seen as mothers, fathers, and college-educated professionals who are scared of losing the roofs over our heads and losing more than 90 hours of educational minutes away from our students. We are not demanding “more”, we are asking that a compromise be reached that will allow us to make a living wage and, in turn, deliver a complete education to ALL students.

    • Quigley
      July 10, 2013 at 9:19 pm

      It seems there is one question yet to be answered that can put closure to this nightmare…where the hell is the money that everyone knows has been approved for PSD? How and why are Gallizzi, his board, and cabinet deliberately withholding the truth behind these funds? How do you all sleep at night? Now is the time for you all to get your head out of your a#@ and do the right thing…it’s not to late to clean the wounds…but if you keep stabbing, this once outstanding district will die!

    • AVGirl
      July 11, 2013 at 6:10 pm

      Sounds more like a union dispute and ineffective bargaining that might not have been done in good faith on the side of the school district.

      I understand how all this is frustrating, but at least teachers have the chance to appeal to the public and have a union that might be able to help. My husband is a federal employee and we are facing a 20% pay reduction with no recourse. No unions, no outcry from the public to champion our cause. My husband loves his job too, but he might be forced to change careers if this becomes permanent.

  6. Green is a cover-up
    July 9, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    These teachers are losing support from our community, I think the leadership being shown by the union has been shown to be less than forthright. Our family is looking at charter or private.

  7. Michael Rives
    July 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    The State of California just agreed to a 4.5 % salary increase with 95,000 employees. I don’t know what benefits package was approved, too, but,is it fair that some employees get raises and other don’t? You either give everyone who receives state funding a raise or you don’t give anyone one. It is not equitable, too, for the State to take care of its own at expense of the school districts and teachers. If the teachers are going to have to eat Grape Nuts cereal for dinner, then so be the State of California folks, too.

    • Nikolas Malechikos
      July 9, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      As someone who has never worked a “civil service” type of job… I honestly cannot relate to the idea that EVERYONE deserves a raise…just because.

      In the private sector, raises are NOT guaranteed. You EARN your raises based on your performance and your proven value to the company.

      I know this line of thinking opens the giant can of worms (teacher performance-based pay). But honestly, what else are we to do?

      Yes, I have a family FULL of educators in the PSD, and NOBODBY can tell me that the district doesn’t have DOZENS of teachers that need to be fired for poor performance. Trust me, they ALL know which of their fellow teachers are dead weight and better of not being a teacher any longer… talk about disservice to the children.

      Get rid of the dead weight, develop a system that compensates teachers fairly and rewards those who EXCEED expectations. Just showing up to work every day on time and doing what you are SUPPOSED to do, doesn’t warrant a pay raise. Not in the private sector and NOT in the public sector.

      • AVGirl
        July 9, 2013 at 1:52 pm

        Very well said.

        Last year my daughter told me about one teacher in particular that was just awful. He would often tell the class that none of them would ever go to college (this is a freshman HS class) That they were all illegal, and their parents were all welfare recipients who leached off the system.

        He should not be teaching.

    • AVGirl
      July 9, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      Teachers are not state employees. With that type of reasoning, we should all get raises whenever someone else gets a raise.

      Keep in mind that many state employees have had to take numerous furlough days over the past 5 years and probably haven’t seen much of a raise in that long as well. Their gain isn’t as good as it sounds once you compare it to all the lost wages due to furlough days.

      • SoccerMom
        July 9, 2013 at 4:41 pm

        I think everyone needs to educate themselves on a teacher’s calendar year and days of work. I often here comments of teacher’s salary and how they are so under paid. The average working adult works many more days than a teacher. Teacher’s normally work a 10 month calendar. Their benefits packages (health, PERS or STRS) are pretty nice packages at the end of the day. They also receive extra compensation via a stipend to chaperone school events, head a department, etc.) Based on my experience just like in any other profession there are people that should not be working in their profession. Thanks to tenure it is impossible to get rid of them unless a criminal act is committed. Our public education system needs a good overhaul. I had to be my children’s advocate at all times in order for them to get the education they deserved eventhough I was working full time. Not all parents have this luxury unfortuneatley.

        • AVGirl
          July 9, 2013 at 6:07 pm

          I have had that exact same discussion with my sister, who is a teacher in Lancaster.

          Say the average teacher’s salary is $50k per year , that breaks down to $5,560 (rounded) per month based on a 9 month school year (2 months for summer plus spring and winter breaks)

          Multiple that by 12 and you get $66,720 if they had worked for 12 months like most other people.

          I agree that teachers are underpaid and that many pay for things out of their own pockets and work more then 8 hours many times. But you have to admit having summers off plus more vacation time then most Americans, not to mention a good retirement plan are all nice perks.

        • Natalie Ynocente
          July 10, 2013 at 11:35 am

          I am a teacher. I have never received a “stipend” for chaperoning a trip, and only one year did I receive a $35 an hour extra duty pay for teaching a dance class to our students; the following two years I worked for free. I have taught for eight years and only receive a step-in-column movement on the salary schedule. When a statement is made that the average makes about $5,560 a month for 9 months, you must understand that there are three months that teachers receive no pay; to fix this problem our salaries are divided into 10, 11, or 12 month portions. We also pay-up for any benefits, and pay into our retirement systems (either into OASDI-PERS or STRS), and state and federal income taxes. So, my current bring home is $3100; should all these worse-case scenarios come to fruition, I will bring home $2000 a month. Now, deduct child-care, rent, car payments, car insurance, food, and about $300 a month in gas to get back and forth to work, and I cannot make it. Planning time outside the work day, grading two hours a day (if I am lucky), staff meetings, professional development trainings, record keeping, parent conferences added to my day lengthens my day to more like ten or eleven hours a day, not a typical 8-hour work day. Walk a mile in a teacher’s shoes, please. It is not an easy job; we are one doing the best we can to reach anywhere from 20 to 180 unique individuals from 20 to 180 distinct family units, backgrounds, and belief systems that we do everything we can to educate and help, but we cannot do it on our own. I agree with you, there are many problems with our system. Horace Mannwas correct Wehrmacht he stated more than 160 years ago, “education is the great equalizer.” Unfortunately, our culture has just grown to expect that an education is the teacher’s job; once we (teachers, students, and parents) begin working together, the level of education and depth of knowledge will increase and needs will be met.

          • AVGirl
            July 10, 2013 at 3:17 pm

            Most other industries, people are given raises based on performance and not just because.

            I am not saying that teachers don’t deserve more money for all the things they have to deal with, I am just pointing out that salaries can’t be compared since most teachers don’t work 12 months like most everyone else.

            I know several teachers who take on students as private tutors or take temporary assignments with companies that provide tutoring to supplement their incomes during the summer. Teachers are also usually given additional pay for having extra credentials. So if a teacher continues their education, they are rewarded.

          • Natalie Ynocente
            July 10, 2013 at 8:19 pm

            I agree with you that we cannot give raises to people “just because.” Yet performance-based raises in the classroom are not fair either. In no other “industry” is a person’s salary dependent upon the performance of 30+ children, who may or may not want to take a test. Also, it is vital to realize that the PSD teachers are not asking for a raise, we are not asking for additional benefits…we are asking for everything to be left where it is. We don’t want “more”, we want to be able to make a living wage and continue to educate our students.

            By the way, I am one of those teachers who works extra jobs tutoring, for $11 an hour. I hold a BCLAD and receive an extra $83 a month (before reductions)only at my school, but would not at another; my colleague is nearing 20 years with a Master’s and only makes $500 a month more than I do, after reductions.

      • Natalie Ynocente
        July 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm

        Actually, public school teachers are employees of the state. We are paid by the Los Angeles County Office of Education, who gets its money from the State of California. Funding, or lack thereof, comes from the state budget and state and local taxes. So, indeed, we are employed by the state of California, just as police officers, firemen and the like are.

        • Michael Rives
          July 10, 2013 at 1:09 pm

          If California gives raises to its employees who manage the state government, they should also raises to the employees it funds like teachers: No raises for teachers, no raises for state employees either. As for all this bonus talk to good teachers, well, I worked for the VA system and they gave bonuses to docs and execs, but, not to workers. I didn’t complain because that is way the system is fixed, but I did complain when I got a lousy or no Cost of Living increase or had my health insurance cost upped. The school districts are faring much worse than I ever did. I am very sorry, as a citizen of this state, that they are being badly treated.

          • AVGirl
            July 10, 2013 at 3:08 pm

            The State would have to increase the total education budget since teachers are not paid directly by the state.

        • AVGirl
          July 10, 2013 at 3:02 pm

          Teachers are not directly employed by the state. School district budgets might be tied to the budget, but contracts and such are deal with at the local level. That is why a teacher in one district doesn’t make the same as a teacher in another district.

          Same for police, fire and such.

    • July 12, 2013 at 1:05 pm

      Michael Rives, i like your ideas, and i think you were born to be a leader.

  8. Mr. Mister
    July 9, 2013 at 9:26 am

    So the Factfinder doesn’t think $250K for the superintendent should be at least reduced by 5-10%? His salary is fine but the teachers make too much? I’m not really sure how neutral the Factfinder is.

    • ohreally?
      July 9, 2013 at 10:49 pm

      $250,000 a year is a very middle of the road salary for a school district superintendent, it is not excessive. Most superintendents at districts of comparable size make anywhere from $200,000-$350,000 a year.
      Unlike most districts, this Superintendent was actually a PSD teacher, so the rhetoric that he and the elected board don’t care about teachers is overblown, at best.
      87% of the PSD budget is salary and benefits according to this report, so what do you think should be cut to hold that? Books? Class supplies? Classrooms?
      The personal attacks against the superintendent and the board are insane. No one ever wants to take a pay cut, but look at the budget. Where IS the money supposed to come from to pay for what the teachers want?

      • Mr. Mister
        July 10, 2013 at 9:39 am

        Maybe $250,000 in a good economy/budget seems middle of the road, but when your looking at making cuts, it should be across the board. Have his wages stagnated like the teachers, and also have him take furloughs. To quote him correctly, “time for him to pay the piper.” And considering that Galizzi hired a handful of administrative staff to do portions of his job, let’s cut there first. Cut nothing that would put the teachers or students at risk. And considering that a teacher makes about %20 of what the superintendent makes, I would say it’s more justified to cut his pay over the teachers. He’s no longer an educator, so I imagine education is not high on his list of priorities. Clearly. Get this guy out!

      • Angel
        July 14, 2013 at 10:58 am

        Are you kidding me. It is not only $250,000, Palmdale School District pays not only their portion of his pension/retirement and also his portion of Medicare. Who of us get our bosses to pay our portion of Medicare and retirement/pension? The answer is none!

        1. Cut his salary
        2. Have him pay his own portion of his pension and Medicare
        3. Since he became Superintendent he has added numerous positions at
        The District office. Let him do his own work. Eliminate those
        Unneeded positions.
        4. Look at the attorney fees spent by this man. $900 per hour…really. He had an attorney present for 3 days during negotiations for 8 hrs. Per day. Do the math. $21600. The media should do a public records act requesting the legal fees pertaining to that same firm since Gallizzi became Superintendent. That would be scandal of enormous proportions.
        5. Teachers are acting in good faith…Gallizzi is not he is a bully and the Board allows this.
        6′ He threatens classified and management staff.
        6. Vote these Board members out in November. Stand behind your teachers.
        7. Demand the Superintendent be removed.
        8. Give teachers your support.

        • Quigley
          July 14, 2013 at 11:54 am

          After reading this post I am sick to my stomach. Congratulations Gallizzi you are now the most despised man in the Palmdale School District..great accomplishment!

  9. Laurie Jones
    July 9, 2013 at 8:32 am

    We, proud PSD teachers, have endured many cuts over many years. We have lost class size reduction which only helped our students. We have not had a raise in … I can’t even remember how long. But our superintendent has always had one each and every year, not to mention…lots of perks. We have taken cuts in our benefits over the years despite never receiving even a cost of living raise. You might be wondering … why we take it…why do the teachers allow this to happen…All these years? We teach children! We inspire your children each and every day! For some reason, THAT is not good enough for our “management”. I challenge each citizen who’s child attends a Palmdale School District school to ask the question…”Why should my child be punished (furlough days) for your actions of district funds? The public wants you to open your books of the past 15 years.”

  10. Nikolas Malechikos
    July 9, 2013 at 8:06 am

    If we want our education system to be properly funded at what just about anyone would consider to be an acceptable level… we need to repeal Prop 13. Plain and simple.

    California funds its K-12 education system on a per/student basis that is absolutely abysmal compared to most other States.

    • AVGirl
      July 9, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      The way California used to fund schools prior to Prop 13 was found unconstitutional in Serrano vs. Priest.

      So repealing it wouldn’t help much. Prop 98 was suppose to fix that, but hasn’t seem to work out so well.

      Not sure we should rely so much on teachers anyways. Parents should become involved with their children’s education. Throwing money at a problem usually doesn’t fix it, but adjusting the way people approach things can make a huge difference.

  11. Juan De La Cruz
    July 8, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    The fact finder recommended salary cuts if a one year contract is negotiated instead of a three year contract. The fact finder also recommended a soft cap for health benefits. Ms. Castrey also recommended scheduling all furlough days (if necessary) during the second semester of the school year to allow any new money coming in from the state to reduce the amount of furlough days (if any). Mr. Gallizzi’s letter seems to be ignoring these recommendations as a tentative schedule of furlough days has already been established with August 8th and 9th being two of them. He is still insisting on a hard cap for health benefits and a salary reduction even with a three year contract. What is the point of the fact finder’s recommendations if they are simply going to be ignored?

    • Quigley
      July 9, 2013 at 10:20 am

      Perhaps Sandy Corrales should answer your question…her article in the AV Press today has no mention of this information. We should also ask her why the board agreed to pay Gallizzi out for his vacation day’s on the books by the end of June…post that Corrales. How much did that cost the district, and better yet explain why he did it. I think we all know the answer. A payout after July 1st would have the 3.8% salary reduction. So here we go again, regardless of this District’s financial disaster Gallizzi is once again at the front of the line collecting his $$ and “HIS BOARD” is allowing it! By the way Sandy your $29 will not get you my vote!

      • marysol G
        July 9, 2013 at 4:16 pm

        I second your statement!!! This situation should be taken higher. There seems to be alot of dishonest actions from the district. Enough is enough!!!

      • Angel
        July 14, 2013 at 11:08 am

        Have the Board give up their health benefits provided by Palmdale School District. They should not receive the same type of health benefits. Do the math 5 Board members at $15,550= $77,750. Why should they have these paid for, for being at a Board meeting twice a month for a couple of hours? The community should demand that these health benefit be taken away. Why should we be paying this amount as taxpayers? Ask yourselves this! $29 is laughable and the Board should be embarrassed. Wake up everyone.

        • Quigley
          July 14, 2013 at 11:39 am

          Angel is there any truth to the rumor that a board member, after serving more than one term, recieve health benefits for life?

          • Angel
            July 14, 2013 at 2:53 pm

            Truly I do not know. But I believe the Board should not have those benefits at all. They are not employees of the Palmdale School District who have earned their benefits.

            Let’s face it their legacy (Board and Superintendent) has been to destroy and demoralize once thriving District. Morale is as low as ever. Abuse, bullying, threatening,intimidation is running ramped. Did you see that during the last negotiation day last Friday,Gallizzi had all of the Palmdale School District trucks Parked in front of the District office so that the teachers who were out there is support of their negotiating team, could not be seen due to all of the Palmdale School District trucks being parked there. Nor could they park there. How childish and vindictive he is. Now on Tuesdays Board meeting he is going to impose on the teachers by arbitrarily reducing their salaries and health benefits. This is not what was recommended by the fact finder at all. Anyone who can read, can read the fact finders full recommendations. He is being vindictive against the teachers. There is no need to be doing what he is doing on Tuesday night to them. So therefore since he did not get his way in negotiations, he wants to beat the teachers over the head with imposing these cuts, when he knows money is going to be coming in. Why not wait? He is vindictive that is why and the Board will back him up. The teachers need to continue to unite and not take it. Take those benefits away from the Board.

        • Quigley
          July 15, 2013 at 9:47 am

          Personnel Commisioners receive health benefits as well.

          • Angel
            July 15, 2013 at 9:49 am

            Take them all from them too.

Comments are closed.