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.
All I want to say at this point is “Thank You”. I’m so glad we have somebody like you following and helping to solve this problem. My son goes to Lafayette Elementary and it has been a great experience. We are very concerned about this budget shortfall, and intend to stay informed and let our representatives know that this needs to be a top priority. Thank you for the chance to comment.