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Projected State Budget Shortfall May Impact Local Schools

Analysts are expecting state revenues to fall $3.7 billion short, which would result in up to $2.5 million less for the New Haven Unified School District

A state budget analysis released this week paints an even bleaker outlook for the New Haven Unified School District.

On Wednesday, the Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report predicting that state revenues would fall $3.7 billion short of the $88.5 billion initially projected in . Under budget provisions, the shortfall would result in $2 billion of “trigger cuts” to K-14 education and social services, the report said.

How much will be cut, if any cuts will be made at all, will be determined by another analysis of the state budget to be conducted by the California Department of Finance next month, according to the report.

If state revenues do fall short as the LAO projects, it may result in anywhere between $1.5 to $2.5 million less funding from the state for the New Haven Unified School District, said district spokesman Rick La Plante.

“Everyone involved in public education in the state is very concerned about the announcement,” La Plante said. “Most of us have very few options left.”

One of those options may be additional furlough days for staff, which would further shorten the school year, La Plante said.

“The school year’s short enough already. We don’t need to make it shorter; that just detracts from the purpose and hurts our kids,” La Plante said.

The school district made during the 2011-2012 school year, which came on top of about $10 million in cuts made over the past three years. Those cuts resulted in larger class sizes in k-3 classrooms, a number of layoffs to teaching staff, reduced hours for school libraries and six furlough days, which shortened the school year from 180 to 175 days.

Though the state will allow the school year to be shortened to as many as 168 days, La Plante said that if it came to it the district would only issue as few furlough days as possible.

Wednesday’s news may add to the need for a parcel tax, . How much the district will ask for and for which purposes have yet to be defined.

A previous attempt at a parcel tax was . The measure would have taxed property owners $180 a year for four years and raised approximately $3 million a year to pay for afterschool programs, preserve instructional time and minimize class size increases.

But it’s still too early to determine what impact the projected state budget shortfall would have on the upcoming tax proposal, La Plante said.

“We’re really in a similar position as we were last year where we have no idea how much the state’s going to take away and how we should spend every dollar,” he said.

“It’s pretty ugly.”

Tim November 18, 2011 at 05:47 PM
Is anyone really surprised by this? I said back when NHUSD rehired previously laid off staff that it was a mistake because the state budget projections were based on "phantom money" that was never going to come through, but this idiotic district bought into it anyway. Now they think were just going to vote for a parcel tax, a regressive tax on lower income home owners, to bail them out. I don't think so. I'm tired of being told, oh, it's "for the kids". No, it's for the district administrators and local teachers union that have been so greedy and give nothing back. The union would rather see fellow teachers laid off than give anything back. I bet if all staff making over 100k a year gave back 5% of their generous salary and benefits package that they could solve their problems without increasing taxes. The other problem I have is that the district does nothing to engage the community expect come to us with their hands out. Enough already!

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