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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Los Angeles County, CA November 8, 2005 Election
Measure X
To Terminate District's Merit System and Personnel Commission
Torrance Unified School District

Majority Approval Required

Fail: 10,975 / 41.64% Yes votes ...... 15,384 / 58.36% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Results as of Nov 28 4:37pm, 100.00% of Precincts Reporting (33/33)
Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Shall the merit (Civil Service) system for school employees not requiring certification qualifications, as provided for in Article 6 (commencing with Section 45240 of Chapter 5 of Part 25 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Education Code of the State of California), and which has been in operation for at least five years, be terminated by the Torrance Unified School District of Los Angeles County on May 7, 2006.

Impartial Analysis from County Counsel Raymond G. Fortner Jr
Approval of Measure X would terminate the merit (civil service) system for classified employees of the Torrance Unified School District ("District") on May 7, 2006. Classified employees, with certain exceptions, are those employees holding positions which do not require a teaching certificate.

If the measure is approved, the District's Personnel Commission that manages the merit system would cease to function on May 7, 2006, and services would be transferred to an appropriate department of the District, as determined by the District. Displaced employees of the Commission may be offered jobs in the District with duties, salary and benefits at the discretion of the Superintendent and Board of Education of the District. Approval of this measure would also require that, simultaneously with the termination of the merit system, the governing board adopt rules and regulations relating to classified school employees. The laws pertaining to merit system districts would cease to have any further force or effect in the District.

A majority vote of the qualified electors in the District (50% plus one) is required for passage.

  Official Information

Torrance Unified School District
News and Analysis

Daily Breeze

Suggest a link related to Measure X
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Arguments For Measure X Arguments Against Measure X
Eliminate Duplicate Services.
Measure X consolidates duplicate departments within Torrance Unified School District into a single Human Resources Department. The existing Human Resources Department which serves only teachers and administrators will absorb the Personnel Commission serving all other District employees. Although intended as a “merit system”, the Personnel Commission practices seniority-based hiring without Board of Education oversight.

Keep Class Size Reduction.
Earlier this year, the Board attempted to cut 32 teaching positions in 3rd grade to reduce expenditures by $1.8 million and avert deficit spending. Funds were so limited that the Board chose to forgo $1.7 million in state funding to save only $110,000.

Responding to the need, Torrance Education Foundation, parents, PTAs, businesses and community friends donated $110,000 to hold off eliminating class-size reduction in 3rd grade and the associated loss of state funding for the 2005/2006 (current) year only.

Measure X, when passed, can extend class-size reduction for at least two more years (possibly more). The District will save at a minimum, the salary and benefits of a DUPLICATE Director (approximately $110,000). The Board will not have to give up $1.7 million in State funding, fire teachers or crowd our children’s classrooms.

Save Money.
Measure X will return the entire $318,000 annual budget of the Personnel Commission to the General Fund for more pressing needs.

The threat of passing Measure X has already caused the Personnel Commission to reduce their budget two years in a row (saving $32,000). The District has also changed the status of the Director of Human Resources, saving an additional $36,000 annually.

Passing Measure X will protect scarce funding, untie the hands of the District when they make spending allocations, impose cost-effective realignment of personnel services and eliminate redundancy and waste making personnel operations more efficient.

YES on Measure X November 8th.

School Board Candidate

Secretary/Air Force mother

Southwood-Sunray Homeowners Assoc.

Small Businessman

Anza Elem. Volunteer mom

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Join the leaders of our community asking--Who is behind Measure X and why?

Proponents of this measure state the school board cannot reduce the Personnel Commission’s budget and is, therefore, out of the reach of the general public. In fact, the Commission’s budget for the last three years was reduced at the request of, and with the approval of, the school board.

This is not a duplication of efforts. Additional staff will have to be hired to perform these functions. Measure X will not save class size.

The Merit System is needed in Torrance to ensure qualified employees are hired and treated fairly and favoritism and nepotism are kept out.

The Personnel Commissioners are community members, one of whom is APPOINTED BY THE SCHOOL BOARD. They are the taxpayers’ representatives and cannot be controlled by elected officials or administrators.

The merit system does not perform the same functions as unions, yet labor organizations realize the importance of keeping the system. Unions represent employees. Merit systems represent employees, taxpayers, and school districts.

Children deserve and must have top quality:

Bus drivers
School secretaries
Campus security personnel
Cafeteria workers
Paraeducators, etc.

If this measure passes, those who suffer will be the children and the approximately 4,000 teaching and non-teaching employees who provide services in support of the education our children deserve.

This measure was placed on the ballot by a small minority. Join the majority and support our community.

For the sake of the children, VOTE NO ON MEASURE X!

Past President and Current Member–Torrance Unified School District Board of Education

City of Torrance Council Member

Past President–Torrance Unified School District Board of Education Personnel Commissioner

Community Member and Paraeducator

Classified Employee–Torrance Unified School District
BEWARE…The main proponents of this initiative are candidates for the Board of Education.

DO NOT BE FOOLED––This initiative will not save the taxpayers of Torrance money.

In 1989, employees in a democratic election implemented the Merit System under the California Education Code. This was done to protect the taxpayers from wasted tax dollars and to prevent questionable hiring practices.

The Merit System must remain because it:

Removes politics and favoritism from hiring.
Provides for hiring the most qualified employee.
Provides for school and community input.
Provides an impartial check and balance system for employees.
Protects employees from abuse of power.
Relieves elected officials from outside influences in the hiring practices.

Costs of Commission mandates are less than 3/10ths of one percent of district budget.

The Merit System was initially created by the Legislature in response to mass firings of classified employees when newly elected Board Members promised jobs for votes. The board then hired their political supporters and family members. The Merit System as mandated by the California Education Code is independent of management, Board of Education, and politicians.

The Merit System further protects the taxpayer’s interests by ensuring that employees are hired based only upon demonstrated knowledge, skills, and abilities and not on who they know. The Merit System has served the best interests of the students, employees, and community for over 16 years. An action to remove the Merit System will not result in reducing class size. VOTE NO ON THIS MEASURE on November 8, 2005.

Past President and Current Member–Torrance Unified School District Board of Education

City of Torrance Council Member

Past President–Torrance Unified School District Board of Education Personnel Commissioner

Community Member and Paraeducator

Classified Employee–Torrance Unified School District

Rebuttal to Arguments Against

Opponents want you to think impartial hiring practices are ONLY possible with a Personnel Commission. Departing trustee, Maureen O’Donnell is quoted in the Daily Breeze, “How are you going to hire people? Through a beauty contest?” (March 22, 2005, A4)


Eliminating the Commission will not abolish hiring safeguards. Upon termination, the Board of Education is legally required to implement rules and regulations to ensure fair hiring practices. Human Resources is very capable of maintaining a seniority list for 1400 additional employees while continuing service to 1400 teachers.

Many districts in California presently operate without a Personnel Commission. Torrance Unified School District operated for over 40 years without one. A patronage system with political bosses handing out plum assignments is NOT inevitable.

Self-Serving. Opponents, including a sitting Personnel Commissioner, minimize the Commission’s cost as “only 3/10th of l% of the budget”. Do the math: $120 million times .003 is $360,000. Compare $360,000 to savings achieved by crowding 3rd grade with 12 more students per classroom ($110,000). Why are they protecting the Commission at our children’s expense?

When the District announced they’d “misallocated” $3.3 million forcing massive budget cuts, O’Donnell was not bothered. “…[I]t was just like if you wrote checks and didn’t list the checks in your checkbook” (April 18, 2005 meeting). She told the Daily Breeze, “Am I surprised at the incompetence? No.” (December 17, 2004, A8). Evidently, O’Donnell believes protecting the bureaucracy is more important than our children.

Vote YES on Measure X. Benefit our children NOT their bureaucracy.

Candidate Board of Education

Secretary/Air Force Mother

Southwood-Sunray Home Owners Assn.

Small Business Man

Anza Elem. Volunteer Mom

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Created: January 28, 2006 14:42 PST
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