You will be receiving emails from MBUSD addressing the budget and compensation issues. We will not be responding to each and every missive from the district offices. We are confident that we have communicated effectively to you, the MBUTA members, five irrefutable truths that cannot be dismissed by the District. They are:
1. The State requires 3% reserves. MBUSD is sitting on enormous unrestricted reserves totaling over 45% of their operating budget. Though they are busily attempting to move those funds into restricted accounts, their own numbers put that figure over 25% of the operating budget.
2. Budgeting is not reality. Budgeting by MBUSD is a combination of guesswork and numerical manipulation to achieve policy results and priorities. When they talk about ending the year in a deficit, realize that is a budget not reality. MBUSD has not, in recent memory, ever ACTUALLY ended a year in a deficit. Quite the opposite, they have ended the last several years with significant surpluses totaling between 1 and 4 million dollars…all of that going to the reserves and none of it being used to maintain the economic health of your family.
3. Don’t get hoodwinked into accepting the “one time monies” argument that would deny you a market rate adjustment in salary. That is another budgetary trick. To illustrate this using an extreme example, imagine the following. A district budgets 1 dollar for income and budgets 1 million dollars in expenses. This creates a budgeted $999,999.00 operating deficit. Of course, the district knows income will be much higher and expenses much less and, indeed, when the actuals come in the dead of summer, they are. When the numbers come in, ACTUAL income is 1 million dollars and ACTUAL expenses equal 1 dollar, giving the district a $999,999.00 ACTUAL surplus. Does budget manipulation like that constitute “one-time money”? Budget surpluses like MBUSD’s do not happen by accident. They are a result of budgetary manipulations to achieve policy results and priorities…and for the last decade those priorities HAVE NOT included you or your families.
4. When talking salary and benefits (a.k.a. total compensation), they can be figured in a myriad of ways. The most simple and honest way to figure how we compare to other districts is to calculate how much the District spends, in total, on salaries and benefits and divide that figure by FTE’s. When that straightforward commitment of dollars per person is used, our District does not stack up well compared to surrounding districts. In fact MBUSD places 10th out of 13 surrounding districts.
5. It is hard to take MBUSD’s claims of poverty seriously when they double the budget for “books and supplies” while budgeting no increase for teachers’ salaries. In establishing their priorities, they have made “things” more important than you, the person who actually brings value, utility, and educational purpose to those shiny goodies.
Thanks for your continued support as we move toward a contract that fairly represents the outstanding work you do with the students of Manhattan Beach and the South Bay.