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Class-Size Increases on Board Agenda

CUSD will also consider laying off non-teaching employees, a short-term loan and a letter from the teachers' union detailing what it would like to negotiate this year.

The will take more steps toward trimming its budget Wednesday when the Board of Trustees hear several items that may change class size in September and reduce the number of nonteaching employees as well.

Class sizes are already at the maximum level the state allows. So the district, upon board approval, will ask for a waiver that would increase class sizes in kindergarten-third grades. Some classes could have as many as 35 students.

Under the waiver, CUSD proposes to increase kindergarten classes on average from the current 31 students to 33, according to the application the district will send included in the board agenda packet.

Class sizes in grades 1-3 would increase on average from 30 to 33.

Last year, the to an average of 33 students per class. Flat funding from Sacramento .

The waiver, however, is good for two years, so it can still apply to the 2012-13 year.

Without a waiver, which must be approved by the state Board of Education, the district would face financial penalties for increasing class sizes above state maximums. The fine could be as much as $1.53 million, the district’s waiver application says.

“The district is expecting a budget shortfall of 30-50 million dollars due to the elimination of federal stimulus funding and declining enrollment,” states the district’s waiver application.

“To address the shortfall, the district has responded with certificated and classified reductions, and in negotiations for potential increased class sizes, additional furlough days and possible salary rollbacks,” it reads

Teacher negotiations

In addition, the board will receive from the teachers’ union, the Capistrano Unified Education Association, the items it wants to discuss in negotiations that will take place between now and when the budget is adopted in late June.

  • Furlough days
  • Shorter work days
  • Larger classroom sizes in all grades
  • Adjustments in release time (because of larger-size classes, teachers are able to take time away from the classroom a month, which vary by grade;  see the contract, Page 19)
  • Benefits

The teachers, in a letter sent to the district March 30, said they want to discuss putting limits on meeting hours, the school calendar, decreasing the number of duties elementary teachers perform and changing spring parent conferences.

In addition, they want a committee to create guidelines for creating grade-level combination classes, more personal days off and more days of release time. 

Classified layoffs

The board will also consider sending layoff notices to 123 nonteaching employees who altogether fill 91.5 full-time positions (). The jobs affected include high school and middle school campus supervisors, bilingual instructional aides, bus drivers and preschool teachers.

The layoffs are “due to a bona fide reduction, elimination of a service being performed, or lack of funds,” states the resolution that will authorize the downsizing.

The board will also consider laying off seven non-teaching managers, including some in transportation, facilities planning and information systems ().

Short-term borrowing

Finally, because the district often faces cash-flow problems with the influx of property tax proceeds coming in spurts, the district wants to take out a short-term loan, called a Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes (or TRANs), in the amount of $75 million next year.

In the current year, the district has taken out several loans, including a $75 million loan approved in July, a  and a . The latter two loans cross two fiscal years, the first time the district has ever needed borrowed money to close out a year.

The $75 million loan on Wednesday’s budget would be repaid during the same fiscal year.

“Without this short-term borrowing, the district will be unable to meet its financial obligations for 2012-13,” a staff report for Wednesday’s meeting states.

It is expected to cost the district $115,000 to borrow the money, according to the report.

The board meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the district's headquarters, 33122 Valle Road in San Juan Capistrano.

shelly April 28, 2012 at 07:17 AM
southcountynative, Whether you have children or not and whether you children go to private school or public you pay taxes and part of those taxes go to public education. Part of your money goes to pay for public roads but if you choose to go an alternative way and drive on a toll road you do not get a refund for your toll. When you pay taxes you are not paying to educate just your child. You are paying to educate all children.
shelly April 28, 2012 at 07:23 AM
Southcountynative, I think you should recount.
shelly April 28, 2012 at 08:09 AM
And how much has gas increased in those 13 years?
shelly April 28, 2012 at 08:17 AM
"Salary • The average salary for public school teachers in 2009–10 was $55,350, about 3 percent higher than in 1990–91, after adjustment for inflation. The salaries of public school teachers have generally maintained pace with inflation since 1990–91." SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2011). Digest of Education Statistics, 2010 (NCES 2011-015), Introduction and Chapter 2 .
shelly April 28, 2012 at 08:34 AM
southcountynative, I am pretty comfortable with my choices also. My 4 children are receiving a great education. I have presented my ideas also. I never said fundraising and taxes are the only solution in this budget crisis. I said all parties must work together but people only key in on what affects them. The only one who offered some new ideas that I agree with are mathteacher on another comment board and OC Mom (as long as the schools and hours are offered as alternatives and not mandatory). I am very open to solutions that call on all of us to help. CUSD schools, teachers and programs are good, not perfect but good. My oldest has gone all the way through so I have a different perspective then you. Not better or worse or right or wrong. But my perspective. I am happy with the choices that were provided to me in this district. I get it that you are not happy with your school so you have a different view. CUSD is hiring a new analyst because their analyst took a job somewhere else.

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