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By Brian Hews
Hews Media Group-Community News has learned that Montebello Unified School District’s Chief Business Officer Rueben Rojas, along with his staff, will cut over 300 hundred jobs within school district ranks, with Rojas and his staff citing “budgetary problems.”
The cuts will be presented at tonight’s MUSD Board meeting.
HMG-CN spoke to one local school district superintendent who said, “that is ludicrous, our budgets were increased by Governor Brown, we have been hiring new teachers.”
The cuts are all across the board from Assistant Principals to database managers.
HMG-CN contacted Lloyd Garrison CSEA Montebello Chapter 505 President who said, “We are rallying tonight at the meeting. Tonight’s rally is a protest to the District and to notify the public that classified employees is the backbone of the school district and that we are standing together in solidarity with all of our brothers and sisters that are losing their jobs at MUSD. A loss of one is a hurt to all.”
Garrison went on, “cuts always should be the last resort. We should be looking at expenditures that CBO Ruben Rojas has continued to spend. Examples are in tonight’s Board actions allocating $88,000 to Christy White Assoc. to provide audit services, which is only $300 under the bid limit. Another example, an agreement with Risk Control Strategies which has nothing to do with the students of the MUSD leaving the board action ‘open ended’ with no limits on the total amount of expenditure and no dates of services.”
“That is bad business knowing the state in which the District may or may not be in.”
“Finally,” Garrison said, “Rojas wants to compensate our Interim Superintendent for dual positions, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services and Interim Superintendent. On both of these items there is an increase to salary, in addition to a $600 for monthly car allowance.”
“These actions are a huge expenditure of funds and leaves our classified brothers and sisters cut with the resolution going to Board.”
HMG-CN also obtained a letter from Lorraine Richards, President of the Montebello Teachers Association to Board President Lani Cupchoy, blasting Rojas, his management style, his fiscal acumen, and the falsification of his resume submitted to MUSD, as first reported by HMG-CN.
Richards stated, “California has increased its investment in public education over the past few years and introduced a new funding formula, which has greatly benefited the students of MUSD. The districts overall revenue from the state has grown by 78% since 2011. Given that, the teachers anticipated a contract would be negotiated quickly but those negotiations dragged on until May to a great extent due to a relatively new CBO Rueben Rojas. Rojas has threatened teachers with a reduction in force even though district funding has increased by 17% over the last two years.”
“In spite of the professed lack of funds for the adequate maintenance of school facilities, Rojas was able to find district resources to remodel his own office space as well as install an electric charger for his personal vehicle at district expense. He was instrumental in the passage of a new school bond and drawing funds from earlier bonds but he has not utilized any money to build, remodel, and upgrade school facilities.”
“Rojas has not been involved with the Local Control Accountability Program committee and has shifted some funds from their intended purpose to other places.”
“The teachers are not alone in their discouragement at the fiscal management of public funds intended for the education of the children in the MUSD community. The district finance department, which Rojas overseas, has been plagued by the loss of longtime employees who have either left the district or requested a transfer is out because of Rojas’ unpleasant management style.”
Richards finished, “in the interest of integrity, transparency, and most of all, commitment to managing the district finances in a way that has direct and positive impact on student learning and achievement, we ask the board to reconsider its choice of district Chief Business Officer.”
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