The hardy souls who stayed until the end of tonight’s four-hour-plus Budget committee meeting got a special treat: a budget update from Deputy Superintendent Myong Leigh and Budget Director Reeta Madhaven. The punch line? The district’s two-year projected budget shortfall for 2010-11 and 2011-12 now stands at $113 million.
That’s just an unimaginable number, representing a cut of over $1,000 per student for each of the next two years. Deputy Supt. Leigh offered some “possible responses” to this crisis, including:
- Cutting back summer school programs to save $4.6 million;
- Reducing general education transportation to save $1.5 million;
- Increasing class size (increasing by one student per grade saves $500,000 a year);
- Suspending teacher sabbaticals (currently costing $2 million a year);
- Freezing “step & column” increases (bargained wage increases that kick in at various levels of service) – these increases currently cost about $4.9 million a year;
- Furloughs (another way of saying shortening the school year) – each day per employee saves about $2.25 million;
- Repurposing FY 2008-09 Prop A funds set aside for additional instructional/staff development days for use in the General Fund (approximately $15 million);
- Suspend or reduce Advanced Placement prep period allocations (schools get a certain amount of “prep” periods for teachers who take on AP courses) – probably saves $1 – $2 million;
- Cutting Tier III categorical programs (programs that are targeted for specific students but newly allowed by the state to be “flexible” revenues), PEEF “third-third” and overall central office budgets by up to $40 million.
A back of the envelope calculation shows that even if we swallowed hard and did ALL of the above (assuming a class size increase of one student in grades K-3 and a one day staff furlough), we still don’t get anywhere near $113 million. Fasten your seat belts, folks — things are going to get very bumpy.