February 2, 2010

It sucks for local school districts: Walnut Creek, Acalanes, Mt. Diablo dealing with layoffs, rising class sizes and closure of well-regarded alternative high school

Sorry, if some people find it offensive of me to use the word "sucks," but right now, I can't think of another term that applies to the scary financial situation, in our tough economic times, facing local school districts. 

--Walnut Creek School District is looking at a $1.6 million shortfall in the 2010-11 and 2011-12 budgets. The district has already raised class sizes in K-3 from 20 students per class to 25, cut custodial and other staff and administrative positions. "Unfortunately, to stay afloat in our multi-year budget projections, we will need to cut the Walnut Creek School District budget by another $800,000 to $1 million for next year," says Superintendent Patty Wool. "We will again use our three-prong process of meeting with staff, parents, and management. Then the Budget Review Committee will decide on a final cut list."

--The Mt. Diablo Unified School District: The district has already approved $3 million in cuts, but put off a decision on whether to eliminate the jobs of 23 school secretaries. The district must look at cutting millions more at its February 9 board meeting. According to the Mount Diablo Education Association, the total is at least $30 million. The district already made the decision last year to raise K-3 class sizes this school year from 20 students per class to 30.

According to a post earlier this month on the MDEA Teachers Forum blog: "I couldn't believe what I was hearing at last night's School Board meeting. The $17 million in cuts was horrifying enough. We (teachers and parents) were up in arms about the proposed class size minimum of 28 students, believing that it would kill some AP and Honors classes at some sites. We (parents) were distressed that we would not be able to pay to have our child bused to school. Librarians, music, special education, textbook adoption, custodial services, and the list goes on and on. All of these proposed budget reductions were proposed to meet a $17 million deficit by the 2011-2012 school year. And then there was the news that $17 million was not enough. Actually, the number was more like $35.5 million."

--Acalanes Union High School District: "The Governor's current budget proposal creates a $4.8 million revenue shortfall for the district in 2010-2011," says the staff report for the district's Wednesday night meeting. That means the district is looking at laying of 58 teachers, counselors, librarians, as well as the principal for the alternative high school, Del Oro. That's because the district is also looking at closing Del Oro at the end of this school year.

"Unfortunately due to its small enrollment and standard maintenance requirements, Del Oro High School is costly to operate. Staff conservatively views this site as requiring a minimum of $650,000 to operate annually. Six full-time equivalent positions would be eliminated from service with this proposed action. Del Oro High School has provided a valuable educational option to AUHSD students. Its recognition as a Model Continuation High School exemplifies the successes of students and staff. Due to a drastic need to reduce district expenses, unpleasant alternatives must be considered and acted upon."

Back to what the writer posted on the Mt. Diablo Education Association blog: "Bottom line is that people are scared. People are overwhelmed. ... Given all the added stress resulting from last year's cuts and the uncertainty of the future, we need to be one another's strongest support."


Anonymous said...

What are the politicians doing about it TODAY! Contact them, ask them what they are doing to correct the situation. This must be their top priority.

Beau Hunk said...

Darn! Where did all the money go? Why those tax-and-spend liberals in the legislature must have spent it all.

Masterlock said...

Why are there three school districts in such a small area is another question that should be asked? Each one with layers of non-teaching administrators sucking up money meant for education.

DumbAsBricks said...

I agree with Masterlock,

What is it that the school district administration does that the principals can't do for themselves? The district administrators could probably virtual office it and save us millions on building costs alone.

Anonymous said...

There are over 900 K-12 school districts and only 89 9-12 school districts in Calif. With K-8 and 9-12 districts in Lamorinda, you get to pay twice for high priced administration. Most of the top performing high schools are in K-12districts.

Anonymous said...

There are 19 school districts in the city of San Jose. That is a lot of administrators to pay.

Anonymous said...

"There are over 900 K-12 school districts and only 89 9-12 school districts in Calif...Most of the top performing high schools are in K-12districts."

Um, well yeah. If I have 900 blue marbles and you have 89 red marbles and we divided our marbles into shiny and not-shiny. Even if all of the red marbles are while only some of the blue ones are shiny, it's still likely that most of the shiny marbles will be blue.

Anonymous said...

So let's pay double for red marbles??