Tuesday, February 28, 2012

2012 Budget Crises

Financially this has been a tough year for education in California. New Haven Unified School district is no exception. The district weathered the storm of financial problems for the 2011-12 year by laying off teachers, furloughs, employees sacrificing a sixth day without pay on a non-student day, and increasing class size. With the year 2012-13 looming more cuts will be necessary. Teachers will be getting layoff notices as required by law on March 15th. The district already has notified teachers of the following cuts for the rest of the 2012 year. There will be no overtime for classified staff and any new positions will be frozen. There will be no new hires, no hires for vacancies, no Office Depot online print orders, nine furlough days in 2012-13, no more funds for travel and conference expenses unless they have already been approved, and no more funds for consultants. As of now, all non-salary accounts are frozen which means there will be no buying paper and cartridges for printers. These are just some of the cuts now put in place.

With 2012-13 upcoming, the New Haven Board of Education voted to place a parcel tax measure on the June primary ballot. The parcel tax will be $180 per parcel and if it passes, will generate $3 million for 4 years. This measure requires a two-thirds majority vote and includes exemptions for disable residents and senior citizens.

The passing of the tax measure will not alleviate all of the district's budget problems. The district is also hoping voters will also approve Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative in November. If the tax measures do not pass, New Haven could lose up to $10.7 million in the 2012-13 school year.

The possible impact of non passage of these measures could be: nine budget reduction days for 2012-13, increasing K-2 class size to 30, eliminating the Community Day School, eliminating media specialists and library technicians, eliminating stipends for co-curricular and athletics programs, reducing elementary specialist, and reducing middle school elective positions.

If you know a teacher, give them a hug and vote yes on the parcel tax. It's hard on morale to work in such an environment. In the last few years teachers have had to deal with layoff notices or being bumped to a new position. This is particularly hard on teachers with less than nine years experience as they are the most vulnerable to layoffs. Teachers buy supplies, spend time getting grants for supplies and equipment, and sacrificed a day of pay. Teachers have gone the extra mile to provide the best education possible for their students even as they watch their class size rise. Beside losing their job, the rise in class size probably hurts the most as every teacher knows how small class size provides the best school experience while increasing student learning and ultimately test scores.