California school districts will take a $79 million midyear hit — plus a $248 million cut in home-to-school transportation — as a result of automatic “trigger cuts” set to take effect early next year, according to early news reports, including this story from our Sacramento reporter, Steve Harmon.
That’s far below the $1.5 billion many had feared, based on an earlier fiscal analysis by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office that projected an even greater budget shortfall.
The Sacramento Bee has reported that the $79 million works out to a cut of $11 per student. For Oakland Unified, I believe that would amount to roughly $400,000. As we’ve reported, the district administration says it anticipated a larger cut and kept enough funding in its reserves to absorb it without cutting expenses, mid year.
Subsidized child care, university and community college systems would be more deeply affected, however.
California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott said he expects the $102 million cut will result in a $10 per unit hike to $46, beginning with the summer 2012 terms. That’s on top of a $10 fee increase this fall.
The California Child Care Resource and Referral Network estimates that a $23 million trigger cut to child care programs will leave some 2,500 children without subsidized care in 2012. Many of their parents will be forced to quit their jobs as a result, said Mary Ignatius, a statewide organizer for Parent Voices, a child care advocacy group.
For parents trying to become economically self-sufficient, Ignatius said, “It’s just a constant struggle.”
I also talked to Rick La Plante, a spokesman for the New Haven school district in Union City that’s already cut its school year by a week (the 2011-12 calendar is 175 days long). Even with the smaller cuts, he said, the district might have to shorten it even further.
La Plante said the “knee-jerk reaction” may be to feel relief that the cuts to schools aren’t worse. But, he said, he wouldn’t consider today’s news a pleasant surprise, given the funding levels and continual uncertainty facing California’s public schools.
What was your reaction to the news? How will the trigger cuts affect you or people you know?