Pleasanton School Supt. John Casey warned yesterday that the state's growing deficit problems could force the district to cut as much as $8.7 million from this year's and the 2009-2010 budgets, which could mean reductions in faculty, programs and an end to class size reductions for kindergarten to third grade classes.
In a letter sent by email Thursday to all district employees, including teachers and administrators, Casey attached a list of possible reductions that would be required to balance both fiscal year budgets if the proposed state education funds are reduced as currently proposed in Sacramento.
The list of cuts was prepared by Casey and his key management team, called "The Cabinet," and will be reviewed over the next month by the school board, starting with its meeting at 7 p.m. next Tuesday.
"The attached list of "Possible Reductions," represents the first step in our effort to prepare for this dismal financial situation," Casey said. "While I know that all of our programs and staff contribute to the success of our students, the positions and programs on the list are ones to at least consider reducing in these extreme financial times."
In his email, sent at 5 p.m. Thursday after schools had closed for the day, Casey stated that the list "is not prioritized in any way."
"The final reductions may include a subset of this list or items not on the list at this time," he explained. "It is the board who will make the final decision during the budget development process."
The board will determine which certificated employees (teachers) will receive notices of "possible layoff" by March 15. For classified employees, there is a "45 day notice" requirement, but Casey said the district intends to let people who might be affected know as soon as possible.
"Over the next few months, we will monitor what happens at the state level regarding modifications to the governor's proposal," he said. "The board welcomes suggestions or ideas from you and the community. By May 15, a final notice of layoff will be provided to affected certificated employees, and a list of affected classified employees will be finalized as well. Over the summer, we will make adjustments as possible to bring people back or make additional reductions if necessary.
Among the major cuts under consideration are class-size reductions in the elementary school grades of kindergarten through third grade, where classes are now limited to 20 students, and similar reductions more recently established for high school freshmen classes in English and mathematics. By eliminating both programs, the district would save $2 million. In Casey's list, the two class-size reductions could affect 88 teaching positions.
Reductions would cut deeply into administrative staffs at the 13 schools the district operates as well as at district headquarters, cutting some vice principal, counselor and district professionals.
The proposed list of possible reductions comes after the district earlier made reductions of $2 million for the 2007-08 school year, with further reductions of $800,000 made since then.