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State Education Budget Faces Additional Cuts

Original post made by Sandy, Mohr Park, on May 18, 2009

In the May Revise to the State Budget, announced last week, the Governor adjusted the February budget to close the gap that has emerged because tax revenues have continued to decline. He also wanted to provide a second set of estimates (to show the additional cuts that would be needed if the May 19 propositions fail).

This Contra Costa Times article summarizes the cuts to education: Web Link

- Even if the measures on Tuesday's ballot pass, the state will have to reduce education funding by $3 billion. There would be teacher layoffs, a shorter school year by five days and larger class sizes.

- If the key ballot measures fail, another $2.3 billion would be taken from K-12 schools, bringing the total reductions to $5.3 billion and cutting the school year by 7.5 days.

The State Superintendent of Public Instruction was very clear in his reaction to the proposed budget cuts: (Source: Web Link )

"The two budget proposals the Governor released today offer a choice between devastating and horrific cuts to public schools. I am heartsick at the prospect that public schools in California are being asked to absorb between $800 million and $1.4 billion in the final month of the traditional school year, and then an additional $1.6 billion to $4.2 billion in the next school year. If approved, these proposed cuts would be added to the $11.6 billion in cuts to schools approved last February.

"Cuts of this magnitude will have immediate negative impacts in every school in our state.... I am gravely concerned that these devastating cuts will interrupt our progress in improving student achievement. I am also worried that cuts this deep to California's public schools will jeopardize our maintenance-of-effort commitment to U.S. Department of Education and put our federal stimulus money at risk."

How do people feel about the prospect of fewer school days for our kids?

This will also mean fewer paid work days for teachers -- down from 3 professional days to 1, and from 180 days of instruction to 175, the equivalent of a 5% salary reduction. Is that additional cut in salary "enough" to lead people to consider voting in favor of measure G?

What other cuts do you think should be considered, that are not yet on the district's list of possible cuts?

Will the revenues from measure G be enough to offset these additional cuts? Or should the school board have asked for a larger parcel tax?

Comments (8)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 18, 2009 at 6:37 am

The state won't have a budget for months; they haven't hit the deadline in years. The district is receiving $8 million from the feds--nearly double what they indicated they needed in the first year of the parcel tax. Certainly should be enough to cover any possible shortfall. And it is plenty of time to answer your questions without the anxiety or the rush. There are other answers (like freezing step and column) and I don't think cutting five days of school is going to be a mandate with other solutions (state or local) available.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Beth
a resident of Del Prado
on May 18, 2009 at 9:30 am

It would be hard to believe that any objective taxpayer would vote for measure G after doing a little research. The stimulus money exceeds the initial shortfall, giving PUSD time to get their house in order.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 18, 2009 at 11:05 am

I am in favor of Measure G.

But I think that 7.5 less days of schools should be alright. I have children, and the last week of school is pretty much wasted, so just ending the school year earlier would be a reasonable thing to do.

I think the teacher work days, and all those half days in elementary school must end. The teachers get paid, yet the kids (their work) are not in school.

During the week of thanksgiving, the entire district k-12 takes the week off! That should end. Those extra three days, the teachers and staff still get paid - yet the kids are not in school. Those three days can be part of the 7.5 days less in a school year - just move them to the end of the year, and adjust the pay accordingly.

Substitute teachers: my children have had so many substitutes throughout the years, it is hard to believe that we are paying both the teacher and another person to come in. I understand there is illness, personal days, but there should be a limit. And the reason for hiring a substitute should be good (it should not be just because a teacher decided to take the day off to attend a child event for instance). The children do not learn anything with a substitute, so you might as well give the kids the day off, that way the district will realize the money/learning lost when teachers do not show up for work.

The districtshould eliminate positions that are not necessary or redundant. Just walk into one of the middle school offices, count the number of secretaries and/or clerks and see what they do: to much staff for the work involved. I know they eliminated some management and other positions, but did they really? Or did they just move person A to position B? We need to see how much staff we have and what they do.

But even after all the cuts possible, we will have a deficit, thanks to the incompetent people we have in Sacramento. That is why we need Measure G, so our schools do not suffer too much.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 18, 2009 at 11:08 am

I am in favor of Measure G.

But I think that 7.5 less days of school should be alright. I have children, and the last week of school is pretty much wasted, so just ending the school year earlier would be a reasonable thing to do.

I think the teacher work days, and all those half days in elementary school must end. The teachers get paid, yet the kids (their work) are not in school.

During the week of thanksgiving, the entire district k-12 takes the week off! That should end. Those extra three days, the teachers and staff still get paid - yet the kids are not in school. Those three days can be part of the 7.5 days less in a school year - just move them to the end of the year, and adjust the pay accordingly.

Substitute teachers: my children have had so many substitutes throughout the years, it is hard to believe that we are paying both the teacher and another person to come in. I understand there is illness, personal days, but there should be a limit. And the reason for hiring a substitute should be good (it should not be just because a teacher decided to take the day off to attend a child event for instance). The children do not learn anything with a substitute, so you might as well give the kids the day off, that way the district will realize the money/learning lost when teachers do not show up for work.

The district should eliminate positions that are not necessary or redundant. Just walk into one of the middle school offices, count the number of secretaries and/or clerks and see what they do: too much staff for the work involved. I know they eliminated some management and other positions, but did they really? Or did they just move person A to position B? We need to see how much staff we have and what they do.

But even after all the cuts possible, we will have a deficit, thanks to the incompetent people we have in Sacramento. That is why we need Measure G, so our schools do not suffer too much.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 18, 2009 at 11:13 am

Also: Cost Of Living Adjustment should not take place during a budget deficit. This is something the union demands, and perhaps the district needs to do something about it. The district says there were no raises, but I think they have given raises, even in years when the money was tight. No COLA during years of budget deficit.

The salaries for some of the people at the district is just outrageous. Even maintenance people get paid too much (compared to the private sector for instance). Some say if we don't pay so much they will quit: let them, with the current economy, they will not be hard to replace.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 18, 2009 at 11:50 am

Resident, if we do all that you mention, there is no need for a parcel tax. Especially since we are receiving significant amount of federal funding. The district has given out raises in every year, even when things are tight. They have two type of raises. One is COLA. The other is step and column. The unions are doing everything they can so that nobody touches their step and column raises. If you look at the salary schedule, everybody is receiving a longevity raise every year until you are in the district for 30 years. While the unions feel this is off the table, it should not be. These raises are exponential. A raise given today is a permanent cost and additive. They will make it seem like it is only $1.5M this year but it is actually $1.5M this year and all years in the future. So a $1.5M raise in a SINGLE YEAR will cost the district $15M over 10 years. I don't think our Board realizes that. If you gave a $1.5M step and column raise each year for 10 years that would cost the district $82.5M over 10 years! Since our average number of years of teaching in our district is less than 10 years, these people would not be hitting the cap at 30 years. This would be a good math assignment for 5th or 6th graders.


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Posted by question
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on May 18, 2009 at 11:52 am

" I have children, and the last week of school is pretty much wasted, ..."

Then they will just waste the new "last week". Nothing will be accomplished.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 18, 2009 at 4:47 pm

I'm willing to support a parcel tax when the district is willing to negotiate a freeze on all wage increases (COLA and S&C included).


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