June 10, 2009

From the WC schools superintendent:What budget cuts mean to the district and to students

Note to readers: Here's an e-mail from Walnut Creek School District Superintendent Patricial Wool, sent to district parents, about how the state budget fiasco is affecting public elementary and middle schools that provide education to K-8 students in and around downtown Walnut Creek.

Dear Walnut Creek School District Community,

As the state budget has plummeted, so have WCSD financial resources. Last year in 2008-09, the district cut $1.6 million from its $26 million dollar budget. In January 2009, the district gave back $600,000 to the state, and we cut an additional $750,000 for 2009-10. These monies came from our layoff of 22 teachers, 9 paraprofessionals, and a cut in hours for our instructional specialists in art, music, and PE at the elementary schools. Our budget has decreased from $26 million to $23 million in just two years.

Overview of the State Budget:

--State revenues have fallen dramatically.
--Expenditures continue to rise.
--Borrowing has been more difficult and more expensive than ever before.
--California continues to lose jobs.
--More people demand social services, that won't be available, during a downturn.
--Proposition 98, a guarantee minimum for schools, has been on a downslide. There have been cuts to the revenue limit, cuts to categoricals; however, we have gained flexibility within remaining categoricals. What this means overall is less of everything for California's children.

With the loss of the State ballot measures and the declining state revenues, where does WCSD stand?

Schools receive a revenue limit per pupil. Our revenue limit was to be deficited 13 percent, but we will be deficited 17.967 percent for 2009-10. In other words, we will receive 82 cents to the dollar. For Walnut Creek School District, we will end up with $5000 per student instead of $6000.

But, you ask, isn't Walnut Creek receiving federal stimulus dollars?

We will be receiving approximately $1.5 million dollars in federal stimulus dollars. However, the state will be taking back $1.65 million. That sentence shows you the district's predicament.

In general, this means that we will only be able to bring back a limited number of the 22 teachers who were laid off. So this means higher class size. K-3 is being staffed at 25:1 for 2009-10; five students more than the 20:1 this year.

Grades 4-5 will be staffed at 27/28:1, and middle school classes will remain similar to this year.

The news is certainly gloomy for children.

We are still working on particulars concerning staffing for next year. Rest assured, that the all teams: administrative, certificated, and classified employees, will continue to serve all students to our highest abilities even in such dire times. We stand committed to ensure a strong education for all students in Walnut Creek School District.


Patricia Wool,
Walnut Creek School District


Masterlock said...

Just curious, but does the school district actively seek private donations? I'd rather see them in front of Safeway or going door to door than another crackhead magazine salesperson or Neiman Marcus paid petition solicitor.

Anonymous said...

Yes, they do through the Walnut Creek Educational Foundation. They also have multiple school fundraisers throughout the year. Our school auction raised over 50,000 this year. If they are so concerend about keeping the class sizes low (for the children) they should get rid of the "extra" Art, Music and P.E. and Science teachers and keep one of each subject. Out teachers taught those subjects with a class of 35, I might add. We did have a computer specialist however.

Anonymous said...

The parents(PTA) fund the art, music & science classes at our school.

Anonymous said...

"Rest assured, that the all teams: administrative, certificated, and classified employees, will continue to serve all students to our highest abilities even in such dire times."

I don't want to be insensitive to the plight of the district but are we a little heavy on the administrative side? Maybe a teacher could weight in here.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1:56 is not totally correct. The PTA/PTOs at the elementary sites DO NOT fund art and music, WCEF does. At some sites, the PTA/PTO does fund the science programs though.

Anon 2:00, WCSD has already pared down it's administrative staff quite a bit... there's really not much left to cut as far as that goes.