Castro Valley School District Reviews 'Best' and 'Worst' Case Scenarios of Governor's Budget Proposal

Based on the passage or failure of the tax initiative during November's election, the school district is looking at $400,000 to $3.5 million in a total loss of funding.

With Gov. Jerry Brown's budget proposal under way and cuts looming for public schools statewide, the is "planning for the worst and hoping for the best" based on the tax initiative that will be placed on the ballot this November.

The school district is projecting $2 million in cuts for education. However, school officials won't know for certain on how much the district will receive until after the outcome of November's election.

The tax initiative is expected to raise $6.9 billion. However, education funding is still at risk.

CVUSD is looking at a loss between $400,000 and $3.5 million, depending on the November vote.

Since school districts are required to submit their budgets by June 30, CVUSD is planning around the $3.5 million in case this is the scenario it may face.

"It's hard to get your head around that [$3.5 million] cut even after what we've been through," said Mike Bush, assistant superintendent of business services.

He presented a review of the governor's 2012-2013 budget and the two scenarios during last Thursday's school board meeting.

In both scenarios, transportation funding — which comes to about $285,000 — would be completely lost.

"This is awful. We need to find something else to call it," said CVUSD board member Jo Loss about the title of "best" case scenario. "That is worse and then it gets worser," she joked.

In reality, the impact of Gov. Brown's proposal on the school district is no joking matter.

Bush said that a Proposition 98 increase of $4.9 billion would defer cash instead of restoring it because it does not provide any new spendable funding.

The failure to pass the tax initiative would result in a trigger reduction of $4.8 billion. About $2.6 billion in cuts would go toward Prop. 98 and $2.2 billion would go toward additional deferrals.

A weighted student funding formula would be phased in over the next five years and would include anything from English learners to students on free and reduced-price lunches.

Bush said the legislature had tied up money and ordered that it be spent a certain way. However, it did not necessarily focus on what local, individual districts wanted.

"I think it's a bit unfair," Bush said.

The proposal will move toward eliminating mandated programs and create a $200 million block grant for the remaining programs, which will be allocated on a revenue limit of the per Average Daily Attendance (ADA) basis.

However, the number also varies depending on the tax initiative. The per ADA reduction can be anywhere from $13 to $370 per student.

Cuts in the revenue limit are expected to result in a loss of more than $5 million per year for the CVUSD.

Although one-time funding and district reserves cannot replace the ongoing revenue reductions, Bush said they have lessened the impact of potential cuts.

He concluded that all the numbers are driven by a failing economy.

Until November's election, Bush said the school district remains uncertain on where exactly it stands on the impact the budget proposal will have on it.

"I have no way in letting the board know if we're winners of losers under this," Bush said.

Steve Ontiveros February 01, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Mr. Clarke, The district, like every other district in CA. They are statutorily required to formulate a budget by June 30th of each year. The process begins in the winter time and is adjusted along the way. It's written right there in the article, and has been presented quite clearly in recent board meetings. School districts simply will not know what the cut is until the results of the November election. For that simple reason, our district - and every other district - does not know what their income for next year will be. Most districts are planning their June 30 budget based on the worse case scenario (Gov. Brown's tax proposals fail - leading to $3.5M cut.) The way you frame your comments makes me wonder if you read the article too fast and missed some important details. Who are these special interests you speak of? What you read in this article *is* the honest assessment. I'm not sure what else you expect to hear other than the reality of the budget shortfall in CA and its affect on the CVUSD budget. In any event, you should join me at some future board meetings in the audience. They are not "seat of your pants" exciting, but they certainly will open your mind to the challenges that CVUSD and other districts are facing.
Rob Phillips February 01, 2012 at 08:32 PM
When it comes to daily operations, I have my issues with the Board and its administrators. But when it comes to management of the CVUSD budget you won't find a more honest, dedicated and competent team. The jist of the article is that the best case scenario is the district will lose $400k in funding for the next fiscal year beginning July 1. If the voters reject Gov. Brown's tax initiative in Nov., it will trigger cuts that could lead to a loss of $3.5M, depending on what kind of programs are developed for mandated program and revenue limit funding, so as to mitigate the impact by deferring the loss over 5 years. Meanwhile, in this uncertainty, by law, the district must adopt a budget by June 30. In so many words: We know we are losing $400k and we are taking the bulk of that out of transportation. So get ready for the pick up line up at schools to be a lot longer because there will be no busses. We are creating our budget around the worst case scenario. This means that the budget will be based on more program cuts, larger class sizes and decreased services. This means that layoff notices will be issued in mid-May to meet the notification deadlines. We hope we don't have to actually implement this budget by the first day of school, but it will better to start school under this budget that to have to cut programs and services and distrupt classrooms 2 months into the school year, That's how it looks on Jan. 31, we'll keep you updated as this crazy process plays out.
Thomas Clarke February 02, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Mr Ontiveros, I appreciate your response. I believe I read the article fully. Like all school districts you are suggesting that you are starting off in January and will have to wait until June 30 to put together the budget. That is such a lousy way to budget, but I suspect that all school districts plan just as poorly. Your plans should be adjusted out to the full length of your financing and bonds, and that is considerably longer than six months. If you were a student in financial management you would be failed and dropped from the program, but so would all other school districts. That is one of the key failures of public education in California. Had the transportation been slashed years ago when it was completely unaffordable, think how much better off the district would be now. We must learn to make do with less and thrive. So far we are abject failures. As to the special interests, those are the organized labor unions that are engaged in producing less with more, the management of the district which is content to continue to produce less with more and the voters who vote to spend more when they have none to pay for it. It is time for Californians to say no to taxes, no to bonds, no to fees and no to incumbents. It is time for Californians to say yes to the existing and to demand more from those who provide the results.
Rob Phillips February 02, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Wow! Mr. Clark! I love your Tea Party philosophy. Its what made this country great. We don't need to pay for no stinkin' Erie Canal. If you can't haul the goods overland with mules than we don't need 'em.
Thomas Clarke February 03, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Mr Phillips, your syllogism of California eductation and New York capital construction is faulty at best. Had you chosen the syllogism of the the High Speed Train and the Erie Canal the syllogism would work. I am not a Tea Party adherent at all. I do believe that we as residents within the state, county and nation must insist on a full return on the existing investment we have made so far and it is imprudent and immoral to committ future generations to the obligation to pay for education today. This makes no sense what so ever. It is long past time for busing to have ended. Your support for the board's continued waste of public money on transportation, just to name one expense over the past years is exactly what is wrong. No more new taxes. No new bonds. No new fee increases. No incumbents. Get the rascals out. We have been deluded too long by faulty thinking on the part of appointed leaders and elected officials who have been bought and paid for by special interests, including organized labor.


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