Despite pleas to save positions and programs, the school board officially identified millions of dollars in cuts to balance their budget Tuesday night.
Notices of potential layoffs can now be sent out as the board identified just over $9.9 million to be cut from the 2009-10 budget. It would mean the loss of over 100 jobs for the district. Final pink slips would be delivered to certified teachers by May 15.
Even though the state recently passed a budget, there are still several unknowns keeping the Pleasanton Unified School District from obtaining hard numbers. There will also be other variables from the state on the May 19 special election ballot that would impact education funding. Right now, there is an $8.7-million shortfall in state funding facing the district. It stems from the state deficit of $41.6 billion.
"It could get worse," Superintendent John Casey said. "Not knowing what the bottom is is troublesome."
School board member Jamie Yee Hintzke recently went to Sacramento for the annual PTA conference and was able to share her concerns with legislators. Knowing that the state could continue to cut school funding, she said everyone left feeling depressed about the situation.
School board members as well as educators are urging residents to contact legislators demanding better school funding, as well as education reform.
While no decisions were made regarding a parcel tax initiative, the district said they will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 5 to decide whether to go forward with a parcel tax initiative.
The ballot language draft was also revised: "To preserve educational quality and protect Pleasanton schools from state budget cuts, keep class sizes small, maintain essential reading and math support programs, libraries, counselors, classroom technology, and safe, clean schools with no proceeds used for administrators' salaries, shall the Pleasanton Unified School District be authorized to levy an annual [amount to be determined parcel tax for four years, with guaranteed audits, senior and disabled exemptions, an independent citizens' oversight committee and all funds benefiting our local Pleasanton students?"
Some board members have talked about a tax of about $200, but many speakers at Tuesday night's meeting said they would like for it to be higher. In a notice of public hearing for the March 4 meeting, however, the district said the board will consider the tax "in an amount not to exceed $300 per year." At the same meeting, they would also need to decide the time limit on the tax.
Some new reductions to the budget include Superintendent Casey taking five unpaid days off during the current school year as well as next year. Three employees in human resources voluntarily opted to reduce their salaries--two by 40 percent and one by 20 percent.
The March 5 meeting will be held again in Amador Valley High School's multipurpose room, which is closer to the Del Valle Parkway entrance. The broadcast would not be televised live. Instead, it would be webcast and recorded to be aired at a later time.