Friday, March 12, 2010

Budget Update March 12, 2010

The Board of Trustees will meet this Tuesday, March 16th, at Savage Middle School. The Board will receive an update on the District budget and receive input from staff and the community. You can view the agenda at:

The latest Reduction Option List (3-12-10) has been posted, along with this update, on our blog site:

Questions and Answers

What is fair share and why is the Board considering this concept?

Fair share is a proportional comparison of targeted reductions. It compares three groups: SEA, CSEA, and unrepresented employees (confidential and management). Its purpose is to assure each of these three groups that they are treated equitably when it comes of needed reductions in positions or compensation.

The fair share concept was developed last year in response to both SEA and CSEA concern that their groups directly save positions resulting from any salary concessions that might be made. Fair share is not law or contract driven. It is a planning process for equitably dealing with difficult reduction decisions during this budget crisis.

How does fair share work?

1. A reduction target is established based on a three year analysis of projected income and expenditures.

This is currently $5,000,000 for the 2010-11 school year.

2. All non-salary or personnel reduction options are identified.

This is currently $1,798,463.

3. The remaining reduction target for salary, benefits, or positions is determined by subtract #2 from #1-

Remaining target is currently 3,201,536.

4. A percent of total salaries and payroll benefits is determined for each of the three groups.

Currently the percentages are: 67.91% for SEA, 22.55% for CSEA, and 9.53% all other unrepresented groups.

5. These percentages are applied to the remaining reduction needed (#3 above) and a reduction target for each group is established. Current targets are as follows:

SEA= $ 2,174,289

CSEA= $ 722,009

Unrepresented= $ 305,239

6. Negotiated agreements for salary reduction and furlough days are calculated and reduced from the reduction target for each group. The remaining target is achieved by identifying positions for layoff or elimination by attrition.

The District is currently negotiating with CSEA and will begin soon with SEA. The unrepresented group has submitted a proposal.

Will the Board consider creating combination classes in the future? The quick answer is yes. In recent years SUSD has avoided creating combination classes. This has been mostly in response to the difficulty of addressing the magnitude of our standards-based and comprehensive curriculum if there was more than one grade level in a class. This has been avoided in the past by busing students between schools to balance out classes. Now that we are attempting to reduce transportation and forced to consider larger classes, the issue of combination classes is up for consideration. I will share this as an option with the Board on Tuesday and you will find it on our list of reduction options on our blog site.

Can we move to a 4 day per week calendar and lengthen each day? This can only happen by special waiver from the State Board of Education. The only waivers granted so far are in extremely rural areas where transportation is difficult. We are required to have, at least, 175 days of instruction.

Can we consider not replacing principals and having one principal cover two schools? Our Board of Trustees and I have been very consistent with the position that each school should have an instructional leader with a commitment to that school. All research on effective schools identifies the importance of a committed instructional leader, fully engaged in student learning at each school. This is true in large and small schools alike. It will be my recommendation to continue this practice.

I do expect that some District level administrators will find themselves working at smaller school sites or in site support assignments next year. Unfortunately their current jobs will not go away. So, they will need to do their current job and take on site level responsibilities.

What percent reduction from CSEA, SEA and Administration would it take to save teacher jobs?

Each 1% of SEA salary reduction equals about 4.5 teachers ($63,000 average per teacher with all benefits). Under fair share, teacher reductions save teachers and CSEA reductions save classified positions.

As always, I look forward to hearing your comments and further questions.


John A. Halverson

Superintendent / CBO

Sylvan Union School District

(209) 574-5000 Ext 201

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