Gov. Jerry Brown has given up on getting a tax extension on the June ballot. Now what?
No official budget projections had been released as of this afternoon, but two Oakland school board members said today that they have been told California school districts might face cuts of $800 to $850 per student — when most schools in Alameda County have budgeted for a per-student loss of $349. The California School Boards Association posted this budget alert, explaining what an all-cuts budget would mean, given the remaining deficit of $15.4 billion.
At 5 p.m. Wednesday, the Oakland school board holds a special meeting to plan for the 2011-12 budget and to give Superintendent Tony Smith direction on how to close a budget gap that could be $18 million larger than expected, said school board member David Kakishiba, who is drafting an agenda for the meeting.
His question: “With these additional cutbacks from the state, do we move that cut to the school sites or do it a different way?”
I asked Kakishiba about the proposal, floated by several people I’ve interviewed, to freeze professional development funding next year. He said that will be up for discussion on Wednesday, along with what to do with an extra $10 million the district has in its reserves (an accounting issue related to a sum of money the state said it was giving schools in 2010-11, but hasn’t yet) and the $8 million it has set aside for audit findings. There is also $3 million left in the state loan, which the district could use to help make its $6 million annual debt payment to the state (yes, on the same loan).
Kakishiba said the board is seeking clarity on the number of K-12 layoffs that will be necessary based on four factors: early retirements, the number of teaching positions cut at schools in the Results-Based Budgeting process, the dismissal — or “non re-election” — of untenured teachers, and the number of temporary teachers.
(Note: The 657 potential layoff notices issued in Oakland Unified don’t correspond with the cuts made in budgeting process at individual schools. District officials said they issued that many notices to prepare for the loss of $900 per student; Spokesman Troy Flint said a reduction of that magnitude would bring all class sizes to contract maximums.)
The meeting is expected to run for at least three hours, with public comment to follow staff presentations, he said.
What do you think the board should do?