News Impacting CA Schools Through November 13
The American Association of School Administrators released a new survey on the impact of the recession on school districts. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) allowed states to maintain education spending at 2006 levels.
According to the rules, states will have to show that districts, through binding agreements, have committed to “implement all or significant portions of the work outlined in the State’s plan.” On those agreements, Race to the Top judges will be looking for signatures of superintendents, school board presidents, and local teachers’ union leaders, as well as “tables that summarize which portions of the State plans [local districts] are committing to implement and how extensive the [local district's] leadership support is.”
The State Controller issued their October report on tax receipts and indicated there is evidence that the State has begun the healing process, but the road to recovery likely will be rocky.
The state budget cuts are also impacting post secondary education. Cal State Chancellor Charles Reed said the 23-campus system will offer 40,000 fewer seats for the 2010-11 academic year, a 7 percent cut. A new Public Policy Institute of California survey shows Californians give high grades to their public higher education systems but are worried about increased student costs and state budget cuts.
Reforming State and Local Governance
A poll reveals reveals a deep dissatisfaction with the Governor and the Legislature but no willingness to change taxes or the governance structure.
Capitol Weekly asked all 120 legislators to evaluate state lobbyists. The results reflect a pretty good summary of some of the state’s most effective advocates.
School District Impacts
Pollsters’ advice to school trustees looking to pass a parcel tax to help survive the bleak next few years: Don’t whine and don’t scapegoat. It won’t cut it to blame the state for your district’s financial troubles. Instead, convince voters that you have a plan to improve core academic programs.
School districts continue to float new ideas to reduce their budgets. Folsom Cordova Unified School District is considering shaving a class period off the school day for high school juniors and seniors to help shore up a $10.6 million budget deficit projected for next year.
Teachers in the Chico Unified School District are being asked to accept salary cuts and defer raises to save the district $3.88 million over the next two fiscal years. District negotiators are asking the Chico Unified Teachers Association to cut their work schedule by three days a year, eliminate scheduled step increment raises in the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 fiscal years, and take salary cuts of 3.77 percent.
In September, Anaheim City School district officials announced a proposed salary reduction for all employees of up to 11.75 percent. Having all employees take the 11.75 percent pay cut would erase the $15 million deficit, but it’s unlikely employees would be asked to take such a significant reduction, officials said. Their backup plan includes the proposed job cuts include 155 classified personnel, nine teachers, 11 vice principals and 11 psychologists. Other likely cuts include increasing kindergarten class sizes from 20 to 28 students, five furlough days for employees, and moving schools to a single calendar.
Since San Francisco is both a city with one unified school district and a county able to pass taxes to support schools there is good news and bad news. While in recent years San Francisco county has increased support for their schools, the pending reduction in 500 workers in the city’s largest union from layoffs, pay cuts or job reassignments will impact schools. Among those affected by the impending cuts are school secretaries, some of whom are bracing to be bumped out of their jobs by clerical workers from other city departments with more seniority.
Santa Ana Unified School District’s projected $31 million shortfall for the 2010-11 school year could balloon by $33 million if the state budget crisis continues to escalate.