Schools' reprieve from further cuts may only be temporary


Photo by Seth Sawyers

Photo by Seth Sawyers

It is a sign of just how thoroughly the budget crisis has shaken the education landscape that good news can sometimes seem like bad news for California schools.

Last week’s revelation that the state’s projected budget deficit had soared from $9.2 billion to $15.7 billion had left many school officials anxiously waiting for details of Governor Jerry Brown’s May revision of his budget yesterday. They braced for having to make even more extensive cuts than the painful ones they had already made.

Yet Gov. Brown somehow was able to come up with cuts that did not touch schools directly. Brown’s budget message argues that under his plan school funding would actually increase by 16 percent, subject to voters approving his tax initiative in November. State funding for K-12 schools, it argues, would increase from $29.3 billion in last year’s budget to $34.0 billion by the end of 2013.

But that did not change the calculus that is already in place. The governor’s revised budget, which should have brought relief to school officials, was accompanied by his familiar warning that if his tax initiative fails to pass in November, public education would lose another $5 billion.

As the Legislative Analyst’s Office survey released week showed, 89 percent of school districts had already planned their budgets without assuming that Brown’s initiative would get a majority vote come November.

As if to underscore that point, Brown’s announcement of his revised budget came one day before school districts are required to finalize teacher layoffs, after issuing preliminary layoff notices two months ago. Not far from where Brown spoke in the State Capitol, Sacramento City Unified will lay off nearly 400 teachers and 300 support staff.  Not much further away, nearly 300 teachers and 100 support staff in San Juan Unified will lose their jobs when school closes next month. In Los Angeles, the state’s largest district—serving 1 in 10 of California’s public school students—has had to cope with an accumulated deficit of $2.6 billion over the past five years, as detailed in this chronology.

Now that federal stimulus funds have effectively run out, school districts are being forced to make even more extensive cuts as they reach the edge of the “the funding cliff,” as Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy described it at a hearing in Sacramento earlier this year.

Over the next few weeks, school districts will be preparing their final budgets for the 2012-13 school year, based on the new budget figures from the state, but they are unlikely to be much different from the budgets they had already prepared.

As an EdSource report described last week, school districts across the state are coping with multiple “stress factors” that are touching at the core of the education enterprise and having a cumulative impact on schools’ ability to provide a quality education to all their students. That will certainly be the case if districts cut back their instructional year by two weeks, which is what Gov. Brown warned will be one of the consequences of his initiative not passing

The layoff process itself costs school districts some $14 million in administrative costs — or about $700 per teacher, according to a Legislative Analyst’s Office report in March. That covers notifying teachers by certified mail, defending appeals against the layoff notices at administrative court hearings, and related costs.

“The dance of death,” was how Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez described it, “the soul-sapping, time-wasting annual ritual of figuring out how many of society’s most important public servants to push off a cliff.”

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One Response to “Schools' reprieve from further cuts may only be temporary”

  1. Dave Francis said

    on May 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    IS YOUR STATE NEXT?

    California has been hit a hard financial blow, because of its Liberal state capitol is genuflecting to the illegal alien invasion, carrying a cost of $16 billion dollars with no end in sight. California insists more money from taxes, as they are in serious trouble with their welfare issues, with Billions of dollars going towards illegal alien schooling, health care and the population of prison inmates. Immigration is the primary reason California has become the least-educated state considered in terms of the share of workers with less than a high school education. The state ranked 35th in terms of the share of its 19-year-olds who have graduated high school. The large share of California adults who have very little education are likely to necessitate welfare services and making it challenging for the state to create sufficient tax revenue, to encompass the demands for services made by its large unskilled population.

    If no other law is passed by the Government, mandatory (E-verify H.R. 2885) needs to be the policy of this country? If E-Verify is enacted the mass exodus of millions of foreign nationals will begin, as they will be unable to find a job and it will discourage the annual influx of more foreigners into the country. Both political parties have done nothing about this unlawful epidemic, as the Democrats expect blocs of minority voters-Whether a citizen or not makes no difference to them. Republicans just want to exploit the cheap labor for their big corporate campaign contributors. POLITICS IS ABOUT MONEY, INFLUENCE AND POWER—NOTHING MORE? ITS JUST PLAIN UNADULTERATED GREED? Our country is so divided; brain washed by the left and illegal immigration has caused this massive spreading abyss. The agendas are so irreparable that the government has turned on its own people, as we have seen with Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Utah, South Carolina and others waiting for court outcomes. Our nation has turned into a welfare state for foreign countries own populace.

    Each year, according to the Edwin Rubenstein report, illegal aliens cost American taxpayers $346 billion across 15 federal agencies. (Source: http://www.TheSocialContract.com) That includes breakfasts and lunches for their children; it includes English as a Second Language. It includes free education from K-12. It means free and unconstrained medical care paid for by your billfold or purse. It means you pay for the insurance rates by unlicensed drivers. Illegal migrants and immigrants are worked at a third the wages and frequently, under the table. Not only do our kids not have jobs; you’re paying taxes for illegal aliens who are not paying taxes.

    Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich With the $550 million for public safety and nearly $500 million for healthcare, the total cost for illegal immigrants to County taxpayers exceeds $1.6 billion dollars a year, this doesn’t cover the billions in education costs; and doesn’t include the billions more in education. California, the epitome of a Sanctuary state will be the leader as millions of illegal aliens fleeing aliens arrive there, from less benevolent states? Unfortunately left wing Governor Jerry (moonbeam) Brown is now preaching more taxes, cuts in benefits—when removing the millions of foreign national could save the state. Not state, not county but a federal law that will stop this theft of American jobs. Unscrupulous employers need to be held accountable and harshly find and sentenced to prison. Rather than go into the details about the taxpayers ripped off, judge for yourself by going to NumbersUSA and American Patrol websites.

    Also the most costly payout from taxpayers is the children that are slipped in by visitors from other countries or across our poorly enforced fence at the border that are eligible to become citizens, which promotes massive chain migration and enables parents to settle here. Over 400 thousand are estimated to take advantage of this misinterpreted law, again costing genuine Americans welfare programs. The birthright citizenship law must be amended, so only children with one citizen parent allows this right. Don’t remain blind to the profiteers in Washington and demand they enforce immigration laws. Because of this fiasco of our Immigration laws business owners are directly responsible for the growing amount of $113 Billion dollars in public welfare programs.

    Another piece of mind boggling information is Americans pay $27 billion to provide forms, ballots, interpreters and brochures for languages annually.

    According to the Heritage Foundation if Democrats get their way, we would be adding a further 2.6 Trillion dollars to the already accelerating 15.6 Trillion dollars if an amnesty is imposed. Both political parties are responsible for this parasitic invasion, which is catering to any of the 20 million plus illegal aliens already here. Even while they are stealing us blind of our own impoverished, our own sick and homeless, they are stealing another $4.2 billion dollars from taxpayers through the incompetence of the IRS, who would audit American for exaggerating on the business car mileage. Even illogical to this is that illegal aliens are allowed to wire out of America annually over $40 billion dollars to foreign banks not being absorbed back into the economy. Our country has been neglected for years, occupied by illegal immigrants and hordes of criminals. Mitt Romney better not turn on the massive TEA PARTY on this issue, or they will realize he cannot be trusted. Americans haven’t learned that you cannot get something for nothing. Half of this country’s population, live off the other half’s income and that is why our social safety nets are failing. The last realistic chance we have of getting out of our financial mess is to remove the old members of Congress and state capitals, with Tea Party leaders. It happened in Indiana when Senator Richard Lugar was retired, replaced by a Tea Party lawmaker.

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