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CUSD to Consider a Shrinking Budget

The Board of Trustees will discuss Wednesday its 2012-13 budget, which would slash three weeks off of next year's school calendar in a worst-case scenario.

EDITOR’S NOTE: See related stories, and .

The Board of Trustees will consider a budget for 2012-13 which is dramatically smaller than the one for the school year that just ended.

This coming school year, the school district is expecting $323 million in revenues and $331 million in expenses. Compared to last year, total revenues are down 11.4 percent, while total expenses are down 13.4 percent.

The budget assumes voters reject the to help the state fill a budget gap of its own.

In January, Gov. Brown said if his temporary sales tax and income tax on those making more than $250,000 don’t pass, school districts would have to cut the academic year short by three weeks.

That is just what CUSD is proposing in its agreements with its various unions.

In addition, the budget proposes to reduce non-teachers’ salaries, freeze automatic salary increases for teachers and Teamster members and increase class size across all grade levels by 1.5 students per class.

Despite these cuts, the district will face a negative cash flow.

In a certification notice it must send to the Orange County Department of Education, the district answers the question, “Do cash flow projections show that the district will end the budget year with a negative cash balance in the general fund?” with a yes.

Last year, that question was answered with a no, but still the district did not make it through to the end of the school year without having to take  and asking for the state .

Other features of the budget

It redirects – or in district parlance “sweeps” – $11 million targeted for specific programs into the general fund.  , some of these moves may include the defunding of:

  • Advanced Placement fee reimbursement
  • PE teacher incentive grants
  • Community-based English tutors
  • Intensive instruction for students studying to take the California High School Exit Exam
  • School counselor grants (for grades 7-12)
  • Administrative training program
  • Pupil retention block grants

In addition, many programs will be drastically reduced and offered on a “minimal basis,” including:

  • Almost all of the summer school budget
  • $1.2 of the $1.6 million for deferred maintenance
  • $226,441 of the $333,730 for GATE students
  • Most—$2 million of the $2.8 million—for textbook repair, replacement

The budget also redirects $1.2 million in deferred maintenance to the general fund. 

Expenditures in a super category called “books and supplies” will increase slightly, but actual purchases of new books will be down, 25 percent for textbooks and core curricula material and 98.5 percent in books and other reference materials.

The additional spending comes from a 24.6-percent increase in “materials and supplies.” There's no notation explaining what these might be and why their price is going up.

While the required-by-law threshold of keeping 2 percent of the district’s cash in reserves is maintained in the proposed budget, the actual number has decreased by 13.1 percent to reflect the overall smaller budget. Last year, the district had $7.6 million in reserves. This year, it will have $1 million less.

The trustees meet 7 p.m. Wednesday at the district headquarters, 33122 Valle Road in San Juan Capistrano.

fact checker June 28, 2012 at 04:23 AM
The best way to deal with the problems facing public schools is respectfully and openly. If the solution was simple it would have been put in place a long time ago. Public education is a dynamic system. It changes with the times and it should. But it should never be politicized. The attack on unions is a political movement. Local control is a great concept. While working for local control of funding it is also possible for teachers, parents, staff and trustees to work TOGETHER to make decisions about what they CAN control.
Denise Krane June 28, 2012 at 05:19 AM
I take no offense at mathteacher's response. In fact I find it demonstrative. His assumptions about human nature are naive in the extreme and contradicts his earlier statements. It is simply wrong to think that if one is honest and works hard, everyone does as well. Examine this idea in reverse. Do lazy people assume everyone else is lazy? No, they count on they fact there are others to take up their slack. There are some great teachers in CUSD-but they are the exception, not the rule. The majority are pulled down to a lower level of practice by the fact that all they have to do is get by. Their lesson plans are in place, their class sizes are increasing. There is simply no incentive to do more. Some teachers will spend the summer trying to figure out how to fit their whole curriculum into 3 weeks less, but most will not. mathteacher asks how I'd react in a tenured position. The answer is; I wouldn't. I'd never embrace a career where my efforts and achievements wouldn't be recognized, where I wouldn't be accountable for my mistakes. I'd never choose to balance my livelihood on the backs on children.
cusd mom June 28, 2012 at 06:51 AM
I guess Alpay and Pritchard didn't read your post, fact checker. Especially your first sentence.
fact checker June 28, 2012 at 06:57 AM
Were you at the meeting?
bbq June 28, 2012 at 09:05 AM
fact checker, What do you mean by "work TOGETHER" exactly? What is your suggestion?

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