The Board of Education finalized New Haven Unified School District's budget plan for the 2011-12 school year Tuesday night.
The , which was unveiled earlier this month, is based on the state's latest budget figures and is subject to change pending final adoption of a state budget by California legislators.
Gov. Jerry Brown's spending plan from last month allocates more money for schools, including about $4 million for New Haven. The additional funds will put the district at an operating budget of approximately $98 million for the 2011-2012 school year. Yet the figure still represents $6 million less in state funding than the 2010-2011 school year and $15 million less than just three years ago, according to district officials.
Though Brown’s plan has yet to be approved by state legislators, state law requires the school board to pass a preliminary budget by July 1 of each year.
“We’re obligated to go on what the governor says, but those numbers, especially in the future, always change,” said Superintendent Kari McVeigh. “These numbers are predicated on a state budget we still don’t have.”
If the state budget is passed, the funds would reduce the district's shortfall from $10.4 million to $6.1 million.
To close the gap, next year's budget will reduce the school year from 180 to 175. The shortened year, combined with an additional furlough day for all employees, will save the district approximately $2.13 million.
The budget also calls for class size increases from 20 to 25 for kindergartners and from 25 to 30 for third graders; first and second grades will remain at the current 25-student class size.
In addition, four counseling positions, a psychologist, a classified management position, high school print shop and transportation for middle school students will be eliminated. Bus service at the elementary level was cut this year and at the high school level two years ago.
In the final budget, each of the district’s seven elementary schools will only have a part-time assistant principal two days a week. Alvarado and Cesar Chavez middle schools will have 1.5 assistant principal positions each instead of two, while James Logan and Conley Caraballo high schools lose one administrator each.
Cuts will also be made to technology and maintenance staff.
The district estimates it will have to make cuts every year until at least the 2015-16 school year in order to cover salary increases, health and welfare benefits, and other growing costs.
The reductions approved Tuesday night for the 2011-12 year will roll over into the next two school years, although Varadarajan expects enrollment to increase slightly by 50 students each year.
“It’s a very conservative number,” Varadarajan said. “We believe that as new developments are built near the BART station, we will get new students.”
The district made projections for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school year based on the current state budget plan. In it, the district calls for K-3 class sizes to increase to 30 to 1 and assumes federal programs will receive the same amount of funding as in previous years. However, furlough days would decrease from six in 2011-12 to five furlough days in 2012-13 and four furlough days the following year.
“It will take a long time to get back to full funding,” Varadarajan said.
Better Than Before
But the expected money from the state has reduced the number of cuts district officials expected to make in the 2011-12 school year, and some of the have been restored.
The district says some funding for adult education will be brought back; employees will have six nonpaid furlough days instead of nine; four—instead of eight—assistant principal positions have been eliminated; and first and second grades will remain at 25 students per classroom instead of the 30 proposed for K-3.
earlier this year could also be rehired; the number rehired may increase due to retirements and other attrition.
According to Charmaine Kawaguchi, president of the New Haven Teachers Association, 61 teachers received layoff notices. Of those, six have already been rehired.
The New Haven Teachers Association worked with the district to keep the libraries open at James Logan High School, Alvarado Middle School and Cesar Chavez Middle School by and to reinstate $200,000 of the approximately $360,000 that the district pays coaches and advisers for co-curricular activities such as athletics, band, forensics, choir and drama.
“As soon as the state budget moves forward, we can do more,” Kawaguchi said. “Right now, we just have to wait and see.”
The district will update the 2011-12 budget in August or September.