A $1 billion midyear budget cut ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday is less than what New Haven Unified School District officials predicted.
The midyear cut, which takes effect on Jan. 1, means approximately $500,000 less for New Haven, according to district spokesman Rick La Plante. The reduction includes $150,000 in general funding cuts, which translates to roughly $11 less per student, and the loss of a $350,000 residual payment for school-to-home transportation.
Tuesday’s cuts reflect a state revenue shortfall of about $2.2 billion, according to the Associated Press.
The hardest hits will be in higher education, services for the disabled and childcare, according to several published reports. Brown plans to cut $102 million from community colleges and $100 million each from the California State University and University of California systems. K-12 schools will see a small hit – about $248 million – a far cry from $1.5 billion cut schools could have faced.
In mid-November, the Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report predicting that under the $88.5 billion initially projected in . That shortfall could have triggered up to $2.5 million in cuts to the local school district, La Plante said.
While some districts are relieved that the cuts aren’t as severe as projected, La Plante isn’t happy about Tuesday’s news.
“What people are forgetting is it’s still a cut, and it’s a cut that’s coming on top of cut after cut after cut,” he said. “There’s no joy over here.”
New Haven has already 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.
The district may be forced to add two more furlough days to the calendar this spring due to the mid-year cuts, La Plante said. Officials have started preliminary discussions and will continue when school resumes after the winter break.
“All these numbers came down yesterday,” La Plante said. “Nothing’s final.”
On Tuesday night, the New Haven Board of Education also approved its first interim report on the 2011-12 budget and projections for the next two school years. The district plans to cut three days from the student calendar and increase K-3 class sizes to 30-to-1 in the 2012-13 school year. One of the furlough days will be recovered in 2013-14.
While the 2011-12 mid-year reduction will not cripple New Haven, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said the cuts are not what children deserve in California.
“It’s a sad day for California. Taking hundreds of millions of dollars from our schools—on top of the $18 billion in cuts they have already suffered—will only make life harder for students in California’s chronically underfunded schools,” Torlakson said in a statement.
He added, “Mothballing school bus fleets across the state will mean many rural, disabled, and low-income students literally will have no safe way to get to school. Children will lose child care, students will lose the opportunity for a college education, and our overcrowded classrooms will continue to be jammed with 35 to 40 students.”