CUSD plans to eliminate Farallone View principal, first vote tonight


Posted by
Thu, March 10, 2011


The Cabrillo Unified School District has announced that it will “probably” eliminate the position of principal at Farallone View Elementary School.  The first vote will be tonight at the CUSD board meeting 7pm at the district office, 498 Kelly Ave, Half Moon Bay. According to a statement by Superintendent Rob Gaskill:

Barring unforseen good news from the state, Dr. Elizabeth Schuck, a former elementary school principal, will assume the responsibility of on-site principal at Farallone View next year.  On those occasions when Dr. Schuck is required to be off-site for other districtwide duties, the Superintendent or Director of Personnel John Corry—both former principals—will serve in her stead.  We are confident that, with your help and support, we can make this work.

Farallone View principal Pamela Gire was selected for layoff because she is the most recently hired of the elementary school principals. The CUSD board will be asked to approve a provisional resolution tonight, March 10, and finalize it at its meeting on May 12.

Gaskill, Schuck, and Farallone View principal Pamela Gire will a community meeting on Wednesday, March 16 at 6pm in the FV Elementary School Multi-Use Room.

Superintendent Gaskill’s full statement follows.

Program Reductions Impacting the FV Community

We are moving through a particularly challenging period of time for public schools throughout our country—but particularly in California.  Frankly, I think the “news” could get a whole lot worse before it gets better.

I hope the following information provides you with a little more insight into the “why’s” and “what’s next.”  (When you have a few extra minutes, I urge you to read the attached “25 Questions…” document that may further clarify some issues for you.)

1) Why is the Board considering program reductions that include teachers and a principal position?  By law, school boards must take action to adopt provisional program reductions that impact certificated personnel by March 15.  Missing the deadline means missing the opportunity to make necessary cuts to balance the budget. The Board is faced with a current structural deficit of $1.5 million (we are spending more to sustain programs and personnel than we are taking in on an ongoing basis).  Totally aside from that problem is a precarious state budget proposal that, if defeated in the State Legislature or by voters statewide in June, could add between $1 million and $2.5 million to this ongoing deficit.  Schools throughout California are in a state of “near crisis.”  We’re one of them.  In February, and in anticipation of the possibility of these greater state cuts, the Board directed staff to bring back a recommendation for program reduction that would address “about half” of that $1.5 million deficit.  Last spring, the Board adopted a list of program reductions in prioritized order.  Only a successful parcel tax measure prevented the District from implementing across-the-board cuts this year.  That original prioritized list included both “increasing K-3 class sizes” and “cutting a senior level administrative position” as measures to consider in priority order if the state budget picture did not right itself.  It hasn’t.

2) Why does the program reduction proposal specifiy Farallone View Principal?  The adopted priority list specifies “senior leadership position” generating a projected total savings of $130,000.  The decison to reduce a principal position was based largely on my determination that the roles and responsibilities could be met by other staff members who had previously served in that capacity.  The decision to reduce the Farallone View position was based on seniority within the principal ranks.  It is fortuitous that Farallone View is also the smallest of the three Coastside schools by enrollment.  In no way was this decision made on the basis of performance.  Ms. Gire has served the Farallone community and the District well.

3) Does this mean that Farallone View will not have a principal next year?  Not true.  Barring unforseen good news from the state, Dr. Elizabeth Schuck, a former elementary school principal, will assume the responsibility of on-site principal at Farallone View next year.  On those occasions when Dr. Schuck is required to be off-site for other districtwide duties, the Superintendent or Director of Personnel John Corry—both former principals—will serve in her stead.  We are confident that, with your help and support, we can make this work.

4) Is this a done deal?  Probably… but not necessarily.  The Board needs to first approve the provisional resolution and action on March 10 and finalize that action when it meets on May 12.  A lot can happen between now and May or June at many different levels; some of it good and some of it potentially very bad.

5) Is there a chance that we can figure out some creative ways to make this plan even stronger between now and the beginning of next year for our Farallone View children?  Absolutely!

6) How can I get more information?  Principal Gire, Dr. Schuck, and I have scheduled a Farallone View community meeting on Wednesday, March 16 beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the FV Elementary School Multi-Use Room.  Read the attached document.  Visit the district website at http://www.cabrillo.k12.ca.us/ for budget updates and keep close watch on the news.  This is a very volatile period of time we’re moving through.  Fasten your seatbelts…

Rob Gaskill, Superintendent
Cabrillo Unified School District