Thursday, January 17, 2008

OUSD Expects $2.5M In Budget Cuts

If Gov. Schwarzenegger’s plans holds, local schools would lose 33 teachers

By Sondra Murphy
The state’s budget problems are spilling over into public schools again. Last week’s proposed 2008-2009 budget by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger includes a 10 percent across-the-board reduction, which would impact nearly every general fund program of every department within each branch of the state government.
“It is not a good budget for education,” said Ojai Unified School District superintendent Tim Baird at Tuesday’s school board meeting. “At this point the governor is looking at a $4.5 billion reduction in education. That translates anywhere from a seven to 10 percent cut.”
If Schwarzenegger’s budget is not modified, Baird and assistant superintendent of business and administrative services Danielle Pusatere are estimating approximately $2 million in cuts will be necessary for OUSD to remain financially solvent. “A lot of the projections are talking about a $300 dollar decline per student and no cost of living increase of any kind,” said Baird. “We’ve been here before, but it was a whole lot easier because we were at the beginning of the enrollment decline.”
Baird said the cuts have a powerful negative impact on the district. “If this budget were to come to fruition, that would be about 33 teachers. That’s all of the teachers at Nordhoff. You could close all the elementary schools and not make a dent in this. We could eliminate all of nutrition services, grounds, transportation and maintenance and not make a dent. We could get rid of all district administrators and not make a dent. If this budget happens, we are in a bad spot.”
Baird referenced the fact that California has again fallen in money spent on public school students. “This falls on the heels of Quality Counts data,” he said, referring to the annual report card given to states based on student investment. “California fell back to 43rd in the nation. We are approximately $2,000 behind the national average. Talk about going backwards. This is a huge hit on the education community.”
Even if Sacramento alters the budget later, “This is the budget we will have to work from,” said Pusatere. “Our reserves won’t cover it either.”
“We have been very creative in the past on dodging these budget cuts,” said Baird. “This budget can’t happen. There’s no way we can pull a rabbit out of this hat.”
District administrators will be working on creating next year’s budget and to bring a plan to the board next month to address the predicament. Meanwhile, they will be meeting with various county and state school officials to get direction on how to counter the shortfall.
“Maybe there are some budget ideas we could organize,” suggested board President Steve Fields.
The board agreed that it will most likely take a collective approach to solve the financial challenges the state budget crisis has created. “I think it’s a great idea that we start talking a letter-writing campaign,” said Baird. Other ideas will be presented for discussion at the March 4 OUSD board meeting.


Anonymous said...

Oh great, lets just make the kids bring their own toilet paper to school with them, now that the district won't be able to afford even that. Way to go, take the "chances" away from our "future." Beautiful, just beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the Governator's terminating our schools. I hope no one with children in the schools voted for that steroid addled fascist.

Anonymous said...

What ever happened to the California lotto??????
I remember when they said that money would improve the school's in a big time way- don't you??
How much do they rake in any way and where does that money go???????????????????????????????????hmmmm