Schools warned about more cuts
If Gov. Jerry Brown’s newly-revised tax initiative doesn’t get on the November ballot, or if it fails to pass, the Sonoma Valley Unified School District would have to make an additional $2.9 million in cuts for the 2013-14 fiscal year.
Deputy Superintendent Justin Frese told the school board last Tuesday night, during a second interim financial report, that it’s a big deal if the measure fails.
Wednesday, the Governor and the Restoring California Coalition, a group that was going to run a counter-initiative to the governor’s, made up and will now team up on one initiative. The joint initiative would raise the proposed sales tax a quarter-cent instead of a half-cent, but would boost income tax rates for those earning more than $500,000. The income tax rates would be in effect through 2018 while the sales tax would sunset after 2016.
“If it doesn’t pass, we’ll have to make $2.9 million in cuts for the 2013-14 school year,” Freese said.
The district made almost $2.6 million in cuts just last month, effective with the new fiscal year on July 1.
Frese said the district will make it through the coming fiscal year, but that the multi-year projections for the next three years estimate a deficit of a little more than $3 million for this fiscal year, a $2.6 million deficit in 2012-13 and no deficit for the 2013-14 fiscal year. Frese also said the district is looking at no growth in property taxes un 2011-12 and 2012-13, but is looking at a 2 percent hike in property taxes in the 2013-14 fiscal year.
Boardmember Cam Hawing said the district is in budget limbo until after the November election. “If we see severe cuts, we need to start talking with the community,” he said.
In other action, the board approved changes that could mean the layoff of 26.8 full-time equivalent certified personnel – teachers, because the layoff notices had to be done by March 15. But Frese told the board that the 26.8 positions would only be affected if the proposed eight furlough days aren’t approved in collective bargaining with the teachers union. And, he added, “We’ll have 1 FTE layoff at each of the elementary sites because of class-size reduction.”
The board also heard that the district won’t be moving to set up population-based districts rather than the current site elections, based on a demographer’s study.
In a letter to the board, Superintendent Louann Carlomagno said that the Hispanic Citizen Voting Age Population is less than 10 percent of the district population. “Due to the fact that the Hispanic CVAP in the district is so low, we are advised that it is not possible to create a legally appropriate majority-Hispanic voting area.”
The board also:
• Recognized School Bus Driver Day.
• Recognized Day of the Teacher.
• Recognized Classified School Employee Week.
• Recognized Week of School Administrator.
• Recognized Angela Farias and Matt Jones as Students of the Year from Creekside High School.
• Recognized Andrea Deeley, Richard Piskulic, Joyce Miller, JoAnn Merritt and Jennifer Maldonado as Classified Employees of the Year.