However, the really bad news was delivered by the district’s CBO, Associate Superintendent Bruce Colby toward the end of his presentation. The budget’s ink is barely dry and it is already likely out of date.
However right now, based on the $8 billion estimate from the LAO, Bruce Colby projects that this means an additional $3 million in cuts to DJUSD from the state. That is the size of the entire budget deficit for next year. That is three-quarters of the size of the entire budget that we faced last year when we had to pink slip 114 teachers. If that number holds, we are facing alarming prospects of additional cutbacks to educational programs in Davis.
Mr. Colby was less than optimistic that Federal Stimulus money will get to this district and help this district. The money that gets out to the state according to Mr. Colby is either Title 1 or Special Education Federal Categorical money. It is restricted money that can only go to Title 1 and Special Education programs.
So while it is possible that the district may get $1.4 million in the form of stimulus money it is not going to mitigate cuts programs. He said it may help with some of the layoff notices but not the program cuts.
There is also going to be extreme pressure from the LAO that any federal stimulus money stay at the state level to offset borrowing from the previous budget.
Thus, we should not expect any stimulus money and we certainly should not expect any of that money to prevent layoffs and program cuts.
The state of California and education in the state of California is facing a crisis of such immense proportions, we are not going to be able to fathom the impact. We are talking about nearly $4 billion additional in cuts just due to the $8 billion. And frankly that $8 billion at this point is probably best case scenario.
A few weeks ago the board as they were approving the drastic measure of PKS’s whereby they noticed 55 employees about the possibility of being laid off (they have since pulled 8 back), at that time, board members like Richard Harris stressed that this might be the best case scenario and that things could get much worse. They just did.
There was little discussion last night about the prospects for a second wave of cuts, but understand, the district has pretty much cut everything they can cut except for staff–and specifically classroom staff. This $3 million, if it occurs, will likely come directly out of the classroom.
The public has already passed two parcels taxes. That option is not on the table.
Given the current economy, it seems very unlikely that a private fundraising drive could raise $3 million. In a far better economy, they raised about half that last year.
I do not want to panic people, but based on the numbers in the past, I think we are looking at probably 100 prospective layoffs to cover the $3 million or a ten percent paycut if teachers are willing to go that route.
There is little doubt that even under those dire conditions that this district will provide the students with a strong and quality education, but I really wonder if we can say the same for the rest of the state. Californians are going to have to decide what they want to prioritize.
We have already cut $7 billion from K-12 and another $3 or $4 billion to higher education. We have barely cut a dime to prisons and correctional system. Maybe, just maybe, we need to think about what our priorities are in this state.
—David M. Greenwald reporting