[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
59°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
January 22
1839 - Gov. Juan B. Alvarado gives most of SCV to Mexican Army Lt. Antonio del Valle. [story]


Cassidy Bensko serves up a batch of pink lemonade | Photo: Stephen K. Peeples

Children from North Park Elementary have joined the effort to support the 84 teachers who may be pink-slipped as soon as tonight at the Saugus Union School District board meeting. They set up a stand to raise money for gift cards by selling lemonade.

Pink lemonade for pink slips.

Last Thursday seven North Park teachers were notified that they could be receiving RIF (Reduction in Force) notices from the district known colloquially as pink slips.

“Many teachers were visibly upset and the kids saw this. All but one of our third grade teachers was pink slipped. The third graders were sad after seeing many of their teachers crying,” said Robin Bratslavsky, a North Park parent.

Cassidy Bensko, a third grade student, came up with the idea of a cupcake and pink lemonade stand.

“Well, we were in our class and our teacher said that a lot of teachers at our school are getting laid off. So right when she left the room everybody got in a circle and started talking about we needed to do something,” said Bensko.

Cassidy, 8 (center) and Emma Bensko, 6 | Photo: Stephen K. Peeples

Cassidy’s mom spoke about the brainstorming huddle.

“Cassie Mae is just kind of used to doing these lemonade stands. That’s their point of reference when they want to do something that’s productive and something that’s fun. The thing that comes to mind is the lemonade stand,” said Micaela Bensko.

With cupcakes donated by Bake U Happy the students wanted to raise money to buy gift cards for pink-slipped teachers.

“This is the tool to show the teachers how much they love them. That’s what this is really all about. That’s why we have love balloons,” said Micaela Bensko.

 

Petition for Educational Foundation

Saugus Union School District parent Jackie MacDougall wants to get to the root of the problem that’s forcing the district to possibly pink slip 84 teachers.

“We’ve hit a critical point if something doesn’t happen now, I don’t think we’re going to be able to bounce back,” said MacDougall.

Perhaps more accurately, MacDougall wants to get to the grass roots of the problem.

On Monday afternoon, MacDougall and her former business partner Andrea De La Cerda (whose husband Paul is a board member) started a petition campaign through the website Change.org entitled “Saugus Union School District: Establish Education Foundation to Prevent Budget Cuts!” Within 24 hours the petition had nearly 1,000 signers primarily through word-of-Facebook.

Jackie MacDougall

MacDougall and De la Cerda didn’t want to speak at tonight’s SUSD board meeting merely representing two parents. They wanted to demonstrate wide support.

“I think a thousand signatures in a 24 hour period shows them that many, many parents are on board,” said MacDougall.

On board for what exactly?

MacDougall wants more than signatures on a petition; she’s hoping SUSD parents will sign checks to put money into an education foundation.

“We’re not asking every single parent – well, we are asking every single parent to write a check — but we also understand if you can’t,” said MacDougall.

For parents whose pocketbooks are not overflowing, MacDougall is asking for volunteer help in reaching out to friends or businesses.

“If you can’t make a donation, then who do you know? Who can you reach out to? What businesses? You can volunteer time or help to run a fundraiser,” MacDougall said.

Since Santa Clarita is a bedroom community to Hollywood she hoping residents can reach out to the entertainment industry. She also believes that the economy hasn’t been bad for all local businesses.

“Some businesses are doing really well and they need to step up in the community and support the community the way we support them,” said MacDougall.

Andrea De la Cerda

MacDougall knows her education foundation idea isn’t merely pie-in-the-sky. The path has already been explored and mapped.

“La Canada has their own school district and they have a foundation that raised $2 million a year,” said MacDougall.

Should the SUSD decide to raise the student to teacher ratio in grades Kindergarten through 3rd grade to 30-to-1, the district would save money by contracting with fewer teachers. Not only would that cost up to 84 teachers their jobs, MacDougall believes the children will suffer.

MacDougall has two children currently enrolled at Helmers Elementary with another child expected to enter Kindergarten next year. One of her children, whom she describes as being on the “autism spectrum”, has had the fortune of having a teacher who is “unbelievably connected and in tune with his needs”. She believes children with needs similar to her son’s will slip through the cracks in a larger classroom.

“Next year the teacher’s going to have 30 kids and then my child who doesn’t necessarily qualify for an aide and now he’s in a classroom with 30 kids?  That’s not going to fly,” MacDougall said.

Cheryl Cameron, a teacher at Bridgeport Elementary in Valencia facing an RIF notice, says she often hears parents say a 30-to-1 ratio was what they experienced as kids and that worked out fine. Cameron believes the expectations and responsibilities for teachers since the 70s and 80s has changed a great deal with the mainstreaming of children with learning disabilities and the influx English language learners.

“Years ago class size reduction of 30-to-1 might have been more of an ordinary thing. But now we have more students in our district, due to shifting demographics, who are learning English. They require, both legally and ethically, I think more of our time to bring them up to speed,” said Cameron.

MacDougall has heard suggestions that the answer to the budget problem is to cut the pay of administrators. She says people don’t understand that the SUSD is in deeper financial waters than that.

“People are saying cut the administration, cut their salaries and this and that. The teacher jobs are only a fraction of the cuts. We’re expected to have $6.5 million dollars in cuts. Teacher salaries are like a third of that,” said MacDougall.

MacDougall says the source of the SUSD financial troubles derives from being one of the lowest funded districts in Los Angeles County. Although she admits she’s still researching the history of budget allocations she says it derives from calculations made in the 1970s when the population in Santa Clarita was not as large.

“And so, we spend per student 4,000 something dollars versus some places in California where they get twice that per student. We’re still struggling. That’s just crazy to determine the budget back in the 70s and not adjust that based on the population,” said MacDougall.

According to CaliforniaWatch.org in a June 2, 2011 report the SUSD spent $7,663 per student. However, MacDougall’s larger point that SUSD is being outspent is validated by California Watch’s report that the Los Angeles Unified School District spends $10,015 per student. Taft Union High School in Kern County spends $21,932 per student.

No matter the numbers MacDougall knows that action must be taken now. A proposed ballot measure in November will come too late for the 2012-2013 school year budgeting.

“I don’t necessarily believe the foundation can save every single teacher and every single program. Let’s just say we raise $500,000 this year. What could we save? What quality of education can we give our kids that would not otherwise be there?” said MacDougall.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

No Comments

    Leave a Comment


    LOCAL SCHOOL LINKS
    Related Content
    LATEST SCHOOL NEWS
    Friday, Jan 19, 2018
    Oak Hills Educational Foundation and Oak Hills PTA will be hosting their annual science fair at Oak Hills School in Valencia in the form of an exciting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Expo event on Jan. 23rd-26th.
    Friday, Jan 19, 2018
    The Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District has appointed Brittany Kruczynski as the new Director of Fiscal Services.
    Wednesday, Jan 17, 2018
    iLEAD Schools will honor College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook with its 'Vision in Education' award at the Santa Clarita Valley International School’s annual benefit dinner on March 10.
    Tuesday, Jan 16, 2018
    Santa Clarita Valley International (SCVi), a free public charter school serving grades TK through 12, will host an informational session Thursday for current and prospective high school students in the school’s Shakespeare Theatre at 28060 Hasley Canyon Road in Castaic, the school announced Tuesday.
    Friday, Jan 12, 2018
    At the next regular meeting of the Saugus Union School District, the Governing Board members will hear proposals for candidates for the district's new Superintendent from three executive search firms on Tuesday, January 16.

    Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
    A Castaic man was charged with attempted murder and assault for allegedly trying to set his ex-girlfriend on fire in one of three domestic violence incidents in the SCV Friday and Saturday.
    Man Allegedly Tries to Kill Ex-Girlfriend by Setting Her on Fire
    College of the Canyons Canyon Country Campus officials will break ground on the Science Center on Wednesday, Jan. 24 at 1:30 p.m.
    Jan. 24: Science Center Groundbreaking at COC Canyon Country Campus
    The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley has named Canyon High School sophomore Lluvia Partida the 2018 Youth of the Year.
    Lluvia Partida Named SCV Boys and Girls Club 2018 Youth of the Year
    The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce will host five grand openings for local businesses in February 2018 - Fantastic Sams, Bodhi Leaf Coffee, Kaiser Permanente, Farmers Insurance and Open Trails E-Bikes.
    February: SCV Chamber Hosts 5 Grand Openings
    California State Parks is taking reservations for the spring tour season at Tomo-Kahni State Historic Park in Tehachapi, site of a Kawaiisu Native American village.
    Reservations Open for Tours at Tehachapi Native American Village Site
    The Jane S. Pinheiro Interpretive Center at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve will be open March 1 through May 13 (Mother’s Day) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekends.
    March 1: California Poppy Reserve Center Opens in Antelope Valley
    The Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve’s two-day volunteer training for the 2018 spring wildflower season will be held on February 3 and February 10, both Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Feb. 3, Feb. 10: Poppy Reserve Volunteer Training for 2018 Wildflower Season
    The 2017 Kosmont-Rose Institute Cost of Doing Business Survey again ranked Santa Clarita among the best cities for doing business in Southern California.
    Survey: Santa Clarita Among County’s Best in Cost of Doing Business
    Traffic on McBean Parkway between Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard in Valencia is being delayed intermittently between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. today due to filming involving a Cessna airplane that will land at the Valencia Country Club.
    Small Plane Landings for Movie Shoot in Valencia Until 4 p.m. Today
    Adam Rubio's game-winning RBI single in the eighth inning resulted in TMU's 5-4 win over Marymount California University Saturday.
    Mustangs Rally to Beat MCU in the Eighth
    With Robert Winslow on the mound, TMU won 13-0 over visiting Marymount California University at Master's in the second game of Saturday's double-header.
    Master’s Baseball Team Wraps Opening Series in Dominating Fashion
    The No. 4 Mustangs men's basketball team scored a 74-71 win over Westmont before a capacity crowd Saturday in the team's 18th straight victory, and fifth straight to open Golden State Athletic Conference play.
    Master’s Holds off Westmont for 18th Straight Win
    Hannah Forrar scored 16 points Saturday night but The Master's University women's basketball team still lost to Westmont 62-55.
    Westmont Rises Over Mustangs 62-56
    It’s not too late to register for the College of the Canyons spring 2018 semester, which will run from Monday, Feb. 5 to Thursday, June 1.
    Not Too Late for COC Spring Registration
    Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies caught and arrested two men and two women from Bakersfield allegedly using credit cards stolen in Santa Clarita to purchase items at a Centre Pointe business.
    4 Alleged Credit Card Thieves Arrested on Multiple Charges
    Caltrans has reopened U.S. Highway 101 in between Carpinteria and Santa Barbara after nearly a nearly two-week closure due to mudslides.
    Caltrans Reopens Highway 101 from Carpinteria to Santa Barbara
    A 38-year-old man was arrested on charges including theft and forgery in Stevenson Ranch early Thursday morning.
    Man Booked for Alleged Theft, Forgery in Stevenson Ranch
    L.A. County health officials have extended a Cold Weather Alert for the Santa Clarita Valley through Monday night due to the National Weather Service’s forecast for low temperatures.
    SCV Cold Weather Alert Extended Through Tonight
    In the ninth inning Friday, with Master's well on its way to a 15-7 season-opening win over Marymount California University, Coach Monte Brooks sent Josh Robison to the plate if for no other reason than to see what would happen.
    TMU’s Robison Hits 3 Homers in Season-Opening Win
    Here is the Castaic/Val Verde public safety and crime information report from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station for the week of January 1, 2018
    Crime Blotter: Theft, Grand Theft Auto in Castaic-Val Verde
    Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck abruptly announced his retirement on Friday, capping off an eight-year stint leading one of the largest metropolitan police forces in America.
    L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck Abruptly Announces Retirement
    1839 - Gov. Juan B. Alvarado gives most of SCV to Mexican Army Lt. Antonio del Valle. [story]
    1914 - Signal newspaper owner-editor Scott Newhall born in San Francisco [story]
    1993 - Hart High grad Dee Dee Myers (1979) becomes first female White House press secretary [story]
    Traffic on McBean Parkway between Magic Mountain Parkway and Valencia Boulevard will be delayed intermittently between 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday, January 22 due to filming involving a Cessna airplane that will land at the Valencia Country Club.
    Jan. 22: Filming in Valencia to Prompt Street Closures
    Attorneys Brian Koegle and David Poole of Santa Clarita Valley law firm Poole & Shaffery, LLP will provide insight on legal matters affecting California businesses at the Valley Industry Association's February luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Valencia on February 20 starting at 11:45 a.m.
    Feb. 20: VIA Luncheon, 2018 Employment Law Update
    Oak Hills Educational Foundation and Oak Hills PTA will be hosting their annual science fair at Oak Hills School in Valencia in the form of an exciting Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Expo event on Jan. 23rd-26th.
    Jan. 26: Oaks Hills STEM Expo
    2017 was an exceptional year for the Santa Clarita Valley economy, and 2018 promises even more positive growth.
    Live, Work, Play in SCV: All to Improve in 2018
    Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation Mythbusters tackle a tough and persistent question: Is growing a community a good thing?
    SCV EDC Mythbusters: Why Growth is Good
    The nonprofit SCV Mayor’s Committee For Employment of Individuals with Disabilities will host its second annual Educate-Empower-Employ Recognition Luncheon at COC on Thursday, February 22.
    Feb. 22: SCV Mayor’s Committee Annual Luncheon, Fundraiser
    CalArts alumni will stage the second annual Co-Incidence Festival, an experimental music festival and residency hosted at Washington Street Gallery in Somerville, Massachusetts from Jan. 19-28.
    Jan. 19-28: CalArtians Stage Co-Incidence Festival in Mass.
    Joseph Wayne Monroy, a South Gate man charged with the murder of a Newhall man in January 2016, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in Los Angeles Superior Court today, and was sentenced to 21 years in prison.
    Monroy Sentenced to 21 Years for 2016 Newhall Murder
    Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has appointed Joseph Hedges to the position of Chief Operating Officer and Pamela Mizukami as Chief Deputy Director of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.
    Brown Expands High-Speed Rail Exec Team to Move Project Forward
    The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reports that influenza activity has declined over the last two weeks; however, activity is still widespread and higher than peak levels observed during recent seasons.
    Flu Outbreak Eases in L.A. County, But Still Widespread
    The Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District has appointed Brittany Kruczynski as the new Director of Fiscal Services.
    Kruczynski Named Hart District Fiscal Services Director
    Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies were out in force stepping up enforcement of pedestrian and bicycle safety laws and issued 69 citations to drivers Wednesday, but none to pedestrians.
    SCV Deputies’ Pedestrian, Bike Safety Push Nets 69 Citations