Oakland school officials say they will likely have to cut $12.5 million this school year – and another $29.6 million for 2009-10 – under the governor’s January budget proposal.
The school district’s grim summary last night included the following “suggested actions,” among others: to reduce energy costs, impose a central office hiring freeze, freeze out-of-state travel, cut back on employee overtime, scrutinize contracts paid from the general purpose fund, and reduce the amount of money given to schools.
Interim superintendent Roberta Mayor said that in the past, principals had a `use it or lose it’ spending mentality, and for good reason. Whatever money their schools didn’t spend by the end of the year went straight back to the central office, to be redistributed across the district.
That’s changed. Now, schools will get back 80 percent of what they don’t spend, which is supposed to encourage principals to save money. They’ll need it; each school might take a cut of up to 5 percent next year, said OUSD’s new CFO, Vernon Hal.
If you look at the financial update presentation I mentioned earlier, you’ll notice quite a few question marks and TBDs. The board is holding a public retreat on Saturday, Jan. 24 — location also TBD — to discuss more concrete proposals. I’ll post more details when I get them.
What are the least painful cuts OUSD can make?