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progress toward balancing the school budget

Original post made by Sandy, Mohr Park, on May 1, 2009

State budget cuts are forcing the Pleasanton school district to cut $9.7 million from the school budget. The district has already taken action to contribute to a budget solution.

In particular, "PUSD already cut $2 million from the budget earlier this school year. In addition, many managers have voluntarily given up pay this year, and the pay cuts will be mandatory for next year. Mileage stipends have been cut by 72%, cell phone usage reevaluated and curtailed, and our teachers voted to contribute to the budget solution by taking 2 furlough days if measure G passes." (quote from the Committee to Save Pleasanton Schools, Letter to the Community, 5/1/09).

Some federal stimulus dollars will help buffer the district from cuts, but they cannot close the entire gap. Federal money will be of two types -- special education funds and fiscal stabilization funds.

Special education is an under-funded mandate; it costs the district much more to provide required services to students who qualify for special education, than the district receives for this purpose from state and federal funds. The federal stimulus will send PUSD about $2.1 million in support of special education costs -- half payable during the current school year, and half next year. "Half of the $2.1 million can cover money we already spend out of the General Fund for special education, and the other half needs to support new student program costs." In other words, over $1 million in federal funds is restricted in its uses. It is intended to be used for special education learning materials (like books, audio equipment, and other one-time investments) and not on salaries.

The second type of federal stimulus money, called fiscal stabilization funds, will be distributed through the state, and not directly from the federal government. The state will award the money after receiving appliations from school districts (they are due next Monday). Until the state processes those applications, the amount the district will receive will not be known.

In spite of the actions already taken to solve the budget crisis, the school district still faces the need for additional cuts. The board has indicated that almost one third of administrative positions will be eliminated this summer.

If voters support measure G, then fewer cuts will be needed. Over 2200 community members have endorsed the measure.

These are important facts to consider when you cast your ballot on June 2.

Comments (18)

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Posted by Larry
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 1, 2009 at 1:28 pm

The California Department of Ed, say they expect all districts will get 100% of the dollars that had been cut by the state in general purpose (ADA) and categorical money.

Bummer NO need for the parcel tax!!!

Lots of money wasted on measure Greed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 1, 2009 at 1:46 pm

Sandy is a registered user.

Larry, can you offer a source to document that claim?

I don't see anything to that effect on the department's website... and it seems like it would have been front page news.

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Larry
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 1, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Carol Bingham, Fiscal Policy Director at the California Department of Ed, Stated this morning that they expect State Fiscal Stabilization Funds will cover 100% of the dollars that had been cut by the state in general purpose (ADA) and categorical money.

California received $3.1 billion from the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund while the cuts were about $2.5 billion.

Bummer NO need for the parcel tax!!!

Lots of money wasted on measure Greed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 1, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Sandy, Is it 2,220 endorsements or 2,200 people who can vote? It's an important distinction.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 1, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Kathleen, I'm not sure. I was not asked to state my voter registration status when I completed the form to endorse the measure, so I doubt that the committee would have gathered that information.

Larry, it would be good news for our schools. I wish I could find it in a news article, though... I've done searches on Google news for "Bingham California education", "California fiscal stabilization", and a few other combinations of keywords, and I can't find it anywhere.

I'd really appreciate it if you could post a link or a suggestion about how I could confirm what you mentioned. I'd like to forward it to the PUSD trustees.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Larry
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 1, 2009 at 11:04 pm

No article, I spoke to her myself. Call her yourself, the news will be released next week.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Kevin
a resident of California Reflections
on May 1, 2009 at 11:17 pm

"PUSD already cut $2 million from the budget earlier this school year. In addition, many managers have voluntarily given up pay this year, and the pay cuts will be mandatory for next year. Mileage stipends have been cut by 72%, cell phone usage reevaluated and curtailed, and our teachers voted to contribute to the budget solution by taking 2 furlough days if measure G passes." (quote from the Committee to Save Pleasanton Schools, Letter to the Community, 5/1/09)."

Show me proof that these are committed to. Where are written agreements not just hearsay?

If these concessions happen it is no thanks to you, Pollyanna, give them anything, no questions asked, pro-tax people!
This beginning of reigning in spending is the result of intelligent critical thinking citizens, like Mr. Brozosky, that have been asking questions and demanding accountability.


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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 1, 2009 at 11:17 pm

Larry, thanks for the clarification. I'll put her phone number in my cellphone so that I can call her on Monday after I finish teaching my morning class at the Naval Postgraduate School.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Larry
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on May 1, 2009 at 11:20 pm

You are only now disclosing that you are a teacher? So much for your pretense of being impartial. Go sit in the corner with Jeb.


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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 1, 2009 at 11:24 pm

Kevin,

the school board voted to issue layoff notices at the board meeting on March 10 or 11, I think. I can't pull up the district website tonight for some reason, but the agendas for the meetings are online, as are the meeting minutes.

The website is at this Web Link . You could also call or email a board member to confirm the decisions they have already made.

It is possible, once the amount of fiscal stabilization funds coming to the district is clarified, that some of the budget cuts could be modified.


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Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 1, 2009 at 11:27 pm

Larry, I'm a Pleasanton resident and taxpayer. I'm also a college professor, but not around here -- I commute to Monterey two days a week. I don't work for the school district.

Is there some reason why you think teachers shouldn't have the same rights to express their opinions about ballot issues that you have?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 1, 2009 at 11:33 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Hrm, let's see... Amount California received from the Feds for State Fiscal Stabilization Fund devoted to education: $3.1B. Amount California cut from education in Feb. budget: $2.4B. If California isn't able to fund every district 100% of the cuts from the Feb. budget, heads will roll! See Web Link

Now, how much do YOU think the district will receive from the federal stimulus dollars?

Sandy wrote: "PUSD already cut $2 million from the budget earlier this school year."

You know what those cuts were done to accommodate, right? That's it, step and column raises plus the other $500,000 in rising costs to other things because the District didn't receive any COLA from the State.


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Posted by Kevin
a resident of California Reflections
on May 1, 2009 at 11:35 pm

I am asking for written agreements of the administrative concessions. They are being used as if they are a fact but until there is a written agreement they are an illusion. Casey was recently quoted as saying that if Measure G does not pass they may give less. They mean nothing until they are on a written contract but there would not even be talk about concessions if it was left up to the "everyday is Christmas" pro-tax committee.


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Posted by Kevin
a resident of California Reflections
on May 1, 2009 at 11:43 pm


Is it possible that PUSD may not receive enough from the Stabilization Funds to cover the 9.7 million shortfall that they have claimed, because most of that amount is not really money that was cut by the state, but it is instead an inflated amount that was created to pay new salary raises?


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Posted by NoG
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2009 at 11:52 pm

Larry just because Sandy has pretended to be an unbiased parent concerned about our kids, she is at least a Pleasanton resident and Pleasanton taxpayer which is more than you can say for Trustee Pat Kernan.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sandy
a resident of Mohr Park
on May 2, 2009 at 12:31 am

Stacey, you wrote that "Amount California cut from education in Feb. budget: $2.4B".

My impression was that education cuts on the state level totalled about $10 billion. That number includes both K-12 and colleges and universities. Is it really possible that only $2.4 billion in cuts affected K-12 programs?

It's past my bedtime, which may explain why I can't track down the news stories containing the amounts of budget cuts from the end of February, when the state budget was approved.

Do you have a source for that $2.4 billion?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 2, 2009 at 9:41 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Sandy, I think you're adding up the cuts in the Feb 24 budget plus the so-called "take backs".

"The budget signed last month reduces state support for public schools by $2.4 billion" Web Link

"Only $2.4B in progammatic reductions" Web Link (page 15)

"California schools are taking a $5.2 billion hit ($2.4 billion in program cuts this academic year, and $2.8 billion in 2009-10)." Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Office Worker
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 2, 2009 at 10:12 am

The cuts PUSD made in car allowances and cell phones? Weren't those not made UNTIL community members started asking questions about these expenses?
I agree with something someone said on another post - these expenses add up.
Taxpayers money supporting education is one thing. Taxpayers money supporting perks is another.
Is there anything in writing that states that if the parcel tax passes, the perks won't be reinstated?


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