Does the District have the funds for AEA Proposals?
Before I start I will issue a disclaimer. The following statements are my own personal views. As a Board Member, I can be perceived as being as representative of the Administration. Therefore, review the following statements accordingly.
There are two main points that the Alameda Education Association (AEA) contend in their documentation and their website: 1:)the District just needs to reprioritize the existing monies within the current budget and 2:) new State monies will provide the District with sufficient funds to meet AEA's proposals. First, every school district in the State is experiencing budget reductions. One just has to browse the newspaper headlines. Why would District personnel and the Board go through the agonizing process of budget reductions if it had sufficient monies to meet its obligations? Second, the passage of Propositions 55, 57 & 58 and Measure C will not improve the District's operating budget. As for potential new monies in the 2004/05 budget read exhibit two. Besides the monies proposed in the 2004/05 Governor's budget would equal $800 per employee while AEA is requesting $3,500+ per teacher.
Exhibit One: Prior Year Reductions in District Budgets
If you review a 10 year history of Alameda Unified expenditures, I believe you will see a trend of more money spent in classrooms. In April, 2001 the Board of Education made $1,600,000 in reductions. Further reductions in 2002 were avoided when Alameda approved Measure A adding $1,800,000 in new revenues. In April 2003 the Board of Education approved $1,700,000 reductions to the 2003/04 District budget. Prior to approving those reductions, a Superintendent's Educational Advisory Committee (SEAC) was formed. The SEAC was compromised of community representatives appointed by each Board member and a representative from each of the employees group: AEA representing teachers, California School Employees Association (CSEA) representing classified employees, Public Employees Local One, representing maintenance workers and Assocation of California School Administrators representing administrators and PTA Council President. The SEAC attempted to locate reductions that would be in the best interests of public education in Alameda. SEAC's recommendations reflect how difficult that task was. Based on SEAC's work I find it incomprehensible that AEA is contending the District has $2,200,000 to fund their proposals. If it was as easy as "reprioritizing" our budget then why was the process so agonizing last few years?
Exhibit Two: 2004/05 State Budget
The are a number of factors that could reduce the Governor's current budget proposal 1.84% Cost of Living Adjustment(COLA) increase for education. First, the Legislature may reduce the amount. Second, the Legislative Analyst indicates the budget is still creating a $7,000,000,000 deficit. Third, Alameda County of Education is not permitting local school districts to use the 1.84% COLA in their 2004/05 budgets assumptions as of March 2004. As a result, until the Legislature passes a budget that is signed by the Governor with new monies for the District, the District will not be able to commit any monies to negoitations with any bargaining unit.
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