Now is a Moment of Truth for the PUSD Board.
Will the Board fight for the children? Fight to maintain the current level of educational excellence? Fight to keep all kid facing programs? Fight to make essential permanent reductions in the unit cost of labor? Fight to restore funds to valuable programs and services?
Will it accept a token conditional union concession yet still need to layoff significant numbers of teachers and classified staff? Will it cause another Pink Drama Display this spring? Will it cut the Barton reading program completely? Will it cut counselors, specialists and librarian staff? And increasingly hurt our kids again for another year?
The Moment of Truth is now.
The PUSD Board can make the following reductions in expenses thereby preventing any further damage to the quality of education. And free up funds to restore previously cut programs:
- Suspension of Step and Column increases ($1.6M)
- Reduction of five instructional days @ $450K each ($2.25M)
- Modify service provider in warehouse/graphics ($250K)
- 5% across the board salary reduction for all employees ($4.5M)
- Summer school proposed changes ($200K)
- Eliminate District support for extra curricular activities ($70K)
- Reduce District Office professional services ($72K)
- Reduce Categorical Programs in Adult Education ($170K)
- Implement an annual review and termination of the bottom 2% performing teachers
Total expense reductions of $9.112 million.
With the $8M budget shortfall resolved, $1.112 million is available to:
- Restore Supplemental Remediation Hours for grades 1-8 to 2008 levels ($71K)
- Restore School Site Discretionary Funds to 2008 levels ($149K)
- Restore School and Library Improvement Plans to 2008 levels ($377)
- Use remaining funds ($515K) to restore custodians, library assistants, campus supervision and tech support.
This plan saves all teacher jobs, preserves all counselors, aides, specialists, librarians, administration, custodians, music teachers, current CSR levels and restores several key programs and local school funds to 2008 levels. OPEB will be paid increasing the district's credit worthiness.
A budget that Puts Kids First. A budget that keeps the high quality of PUSD education!
No pink-slip drama will be needed this year. No parcel tax is needed. This lays the groundwork for a substantial and broad community fundraising campaign. The PUSD Board will show that it will fight for the kids and educational excellence. The Board will have shown how to reduce and control the expense structure. The community will respond with greater respect for the school district. A respect that is essential for a future parcel tax if and when it is needed.
Anything less and community trust in the PUSD Board's capability to exert its fudiciary fiscal responsibility declines significantly. The choice is theirs. They have the power to do what is right for the kids and educational excellence. Their Moment of Truth is now.