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.