Pleasanton School Supt. John Casey warned this week that Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposed budget cuts for the coming fiscal year could cause a "drastic" reduction in school programs as well as possible layoffs.
Schwarzenegger, in a budget proposal released Jan. 10 and now analyzed by the Pleasanton district staff, called for funding cuts to kindergarten through the high school senior levels. The governor also would reduce Proposition 98 funding by $400 million in the current school year and suspend Proposition 98 funding altogether in fiscal 2008–09, which begins July 1.
"Without a doubt, our students will be negatively impacted by the governor's budget proposal because it cuts funding for daily services and programs in our schools," Casey said.
Casey also sent email messages to teachers and staff employees throughout the district detailing some of the cuts that would have to be enacted if the state budget is approved as proposed.
In a letter to the community, Casey stated:
"For Pleasanton, the Governor's proposal reduces revenue limit income for next year by $2.5 million from current levels and Special Education revenue by $450,000 below this year's income level. In addition, we know that our expenses for overhead (e.g. salary schedule movement, energy costs and insurance) will increase by $1.6 million for next year.
"With these proposed reductions in income and increased expenses, the bottom line is that we will need to cut $4.5 million relative to our current spending in order to have a balanced budget for 2008/09. In addition, our advisors estimate that the state's budget woes will continue for the next two to three years.
"Unfortunately, to provide a balanced budget, we are at risk of losing many of the student programs and services that have been a draw to both our district and to the community of Pleasanton. From looking at our budget, we estimate that we would be able to reduce non-personnel items by about $0.9 million. The additional $3.6 million would need to come from cuts in personnel. This equates to the elimination of about 47 positions across the District."
During the month of February, the PUSD Board of Trustees will hold public workshops on how to balance the budget and receive input from the district's Budget Advisory Committee and employee associations.
The next regular meeting of the Board is scheduled for February 12.
In a follow-up statement, Jamie Hintzke, president of the Pleasanton PTA Council, said:
"Schwarzenegger's proposed drastic budget cuts will hurt our children. Our children need your help now! Urge legislators not to cut the funding of Proposition 98, the minimum public education funding guarantee for our students. The impact of the unprecedented cuts proposed in the Governor's budget would severely harm each and every school."
She said voters passed Prop. 98 almost 20 years ago to ensure students and schools receive minimum funding.
"The proposal to suspend Prop. 98 conflicts with the will of the voters and jeopardizes the minimum education funding levels Prop. 98 provides for students and schools," Hintzke said.