Some adjustments made, others await outcome of compensation negotiations.
The Newhall School District, like every other district in the Santa Clarita Valley, is preparing to make some tough decisions in order to trim its 2010-2011 budget by $1.5 million.
After cutting $500,000 at this week’s board meeting, the District has released a list of other possible cuts that they may need to impose, depending on the outcome of employee compensation negotiations.
There are many complications in how school budgets must be crafted; here’s how Newhall School District’s situation breaks down.
Tuesday the District board made $500,000 worth of cuts to the budget. This was accomplished by:
- Increasing first and second grade classes from 22 to 24 students – this will reduce roughly eight teaching positions, yet the District would likely avoid layoffs through attrition;
- Several funding shifts now allowed in California make it possible to move money from special programs into the general fund. Those shifts represent the addition of $180,000 to the General Fund from the programs;
- Implementing the Southern California Edison Summer Savings Program.
With $1 million still left as the District’s deficit, Board members are faced with a series of possible budget maneuvers that represent the last places left to save money. It is not clear at this time how many of these actions the District will need to take. One reason for that is the fact that employee compensation negotiations are taking place currently. The outcome of that agreement could lessen the financial burden on the District, therefore reducing the deficit.
Here’s what the District will consider:
- Increasing class sizes for first, second and third grades up to 30 students. The 30-student estimation would translate into the removal some teaching positions. It is unknown how much of that would be attainable through attrition alone.
- Reduction in facilities hours equivalent to two full time employees;
- Reduction in business services hours equivalent to one full time employee;
- The reduction of hours for the music program, equivalent to five full time employees;
- Reduction of a portion of costs for school assistant principals. Newhall District Superintendent Dr. Marc Winger says this could be done by sharing assistant principals across schools;
- Reducing custodial services across the district with the exception of preschool classes, kindergarten classes, and bathrooms. This is the equivalent of four less full time positions; however there is currently one vacancy, so only three existing employees could be impacted.
- State flexibility options allow money to be diverted from special programs to the District’s General Fund. These programs assist Arts and Music, PE Teachers, Intervention, School Improvement, Gifted and Talented education, and Peer Assistance Review. By shifting these monies to the General Fund, the District could free up $945,283.
The total savings for all of the potential cuts is $3,165,616. How many of these potential cuts are needed will be determined after the aforementioned employee compensation negotiations.
The District must submit a balanced budget to the state by the end of June. To do this, the District will usually adopt a final budget with all cuts by the beginning of June.
The District must also notify all teachers who could potentially be laid off by March 15. All final layoffs must be issued by May 15.
“We’re in the same place we were last year. Complete uncertainty about how the State is going to formulate the budget for next year,” said Dr. Winger. “Because of that uncertainly, we’re fairly certain that we’re going to have to give layoff notices again by the March 15 deadline. We just don’t know how many yet or what it will mean.”