Saturday, January 30, 2010

Budget Questions and Answers 1-29-10

I have been collecting questions from some of you and will attempt responses on a weekly basis in an update to all and a post on this blog. Please continue to send your questions.

Question and Responses

How many of last year’s 64 teachers were returned? Final # laid off? Of the 64 teachers who received notices, all but 16 were returned to full time certificated positions. Of those 16:

- 1 was offered a return (PE) but his emergency waiver had expired and couldn’t be renewed

- 1 went on a leave of absence

- 3 accepted full time jobs in other places and declined our offer of return to full time

- 5 are in supplemental positions with us

- 3 declined our offer of a supplemental position

- That leaves three people who are on our sub list only.

How many expected retirees are there for 2010? Nine people have indicated on their intent form an intention to retire this year. We are expecting 2-3 more, for a total of 12. Are they included in the list? No

Will there also be administrative layoffs? There will undoubtedly be a reduction of administration on the list of reductions. Like last year, administration will be reduced proportional to the size of the group.

Why do we need Assistant Superintendents? To do the work of assisting the Superintendent. Couldn’t they be moved to a director level? Yes, but they would still need to do the same work. What would the savings be? See the following link to the certificated management salary schedule:

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Do we get dinged for the large classes under CSR? Yes, there is a penalty for exceeding 20.5 in each classroom. The CSR analysis chart is posted on our blog site. My very general calculation is, for every dollar reduced in layoff of a K-3 teacher, a savings of only .50 is realized due to penalties. The CSR chart will show a savings of $1,100,000 and is the result of over $2,000,000 in reduction of teachers. This is not a good way to save a million dollars. However, we do not have alternative strategies to do so.

Can we eliminate BTSA? Almost all BTSA has been eliminated this year. If we do not have any BTSA participates next year, it will be eliminated.

Will increase in class size be a problem for fire code? No. However, we will try to keep K-3 under 33 and the rest under 35.

Since only traditional sites approved the traditional calendar, would this new calendar schedule have to be re-negotiated with all schools participating? No. However, if SEA wanted to discuss alternatives after is ratified, as usual, we would be willing to discuss it.

Where is STOPS for CHANGE and what is now the grand total? The Foundation is discussing their options. The total received was $30,727.33 as of 11/1/09. This isn’t a lot of money. However, the Foundation is looking for ways to see their money grow to make a bigger impact in the future. Suggestions are encouraged.

Why won’t schools be considered for closure in 2010? School closure will be included on the possible reduction list for 2011-12. Closing a school is a VERY sensitive issue in each community. We will need to begin that discussion very early in the year. However, nothing prevents the Board from deciding to close one or more schools on very short notice.

Our minutes are well over what is required. Could we do like Salida and only work 4 days for the same pay? Maybe need to increase minutes a little. I am not familiar with any local district that has school only 4 days per week. We are all required to have at least 175 days of instruction unless you are on a multiple track.

What plans does the District have to cut the millions of dollars that the governor says must be made at the District level? It will all depend on what the term “District Level” refers. Some say this means everything but teachers and site administrators. The SUSD reduction should be about 1.5 million. Our target is $5 million. I don’t think it will be hard to show a reduction of $1.5 of that 5 million for non-teacher and site principal expenditure. I will share this information beginning at this Tuesday’s meeting.

Will there be multiple sites sharing one administrator? No, but there will likely be fewer administrators sharing multiple responsibilities.

Can additional pink slips be administered after March 15? Yes. As in this year, it all depends on how and when the State budget is approved. There is an August window that opens under specific conditions. Since we cannot be assured this window will open in August, we must plan for the worst case scenario in March.

What plans does the District have to minimize cuts that will directly affect the classroom? We are currently exploring ALL our options. No plans have been made at this point for anything. The litmus test of the impact on student learning is, and always has been, a major factor in the SUSD decision making process.

Why aren’t the ELD teachers at the middle schools supplemental? Why are their positions ‘safe’ in these layoff procedures or held as more important than our ELD teachers at the elementary level? The ELD teachers at the middle school are funded 80% from general funds because they were created to teach 4 periods of core classes to EL students. Because that served as the core class for that EL child, the child did not need to enroll in another core class (they wouldn’t need two “English” classes, only one) and, thus, the ELD teacher was part of the staffing for the master schedule. The 20% of their day was used for 6th grade, which was not part of the master schedule. So, essentially the ELD teachers at 7-8 are not supplemental since they are built into the staffing allocation.

If all schools go to a traditional calendar could some district-wide employees then be placed on an 11 month contract versus 12 month? Yes, some employees would have reduced calendars. That is why we have a potential $100K savings. It would result in a layoff - the effects of which would need to be bargained with CSEA. Would benefits be cut? Only if the person had their FTE reduced. That
is not the same as having their calendar reduced.

Do we still have to meet the annual minute requirement if we reduce days? No. Assembly Bill 2 of the Fourth Extraordinary Session (ABX4 2 [Chapter 2/2009]) provides for a reduction of the annual minutes commensurate with the reduction in the number of annual school days. There is a formula in the bill describing how minutes are calculated. The minutes will change proportionate with the number of days reduced divided by the 180 days.

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