Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Jonathan P. Raymond, SCUSD Superintendent Budget Update

July 6, 2011
Dear Colleagues:
As SCUSD’s year began on July 1, I would like to wish you all a belated happy new year! Let’s hope the positive momentum from the past 12 months keeps growing as we work to improve our schools for the children we serve.
Of course, that work cannot be accomplished without our many great employees. From bus drivers to principals, office managers to teachers, each of you play a itally important role in preparing students for college and careers – our mission as we move forward.
Last month, we rescinded 191 certificated and classified lay-off notices. This week, we will begin the process of rescinding more certificated lay-off notices to bring as many of our teachers and counselors back to their campuses in the fall as we can, given our fiscal constraints.
You may have heard in the news that the recently signed state budget provides “flat funding” for schools. But “flat funding” doesn’t mean we are without challenges. Our costs – health benefits, chief among them – continue to rise. And our state funding is actually less than what we received last year due to fluctuations in our ADA (Average Daily Attendance) and reductions in categorical dollars. Confounding these challenges, the state budget partly relies on an anticipated future climb in tax revenues. Therefore, we believe it is prudent to move ahead with rescissions but to proceed cautiously.
As teacher positions are tied to class sizes, we are planning at this time to:
·         Retain the 25-to-1 ratio in kindergarten and first grade as per our agreement with  CTA
·         Return to 2010-11’s 33-to-1 ratio in fourth through sixth grades
·         Return to 2010-11’s 31-to-1 ratio for seventh and eighth grades
·         Return to 2010-11’s 35-to-1 ratio for ninth through 12th grades

Given that we are still delving into the details of the state budget and many uncertainties remain, we will continue to monitor and review staffing levels and layoff rescissions throughout this month. We should have a clearer picture by early August.
For now, and as a precautionary measure, we are continuing with plans to increase second- and third-grade classroom size to 29-to-1. With the specter of mid-year cuts looming, and projections that 2012-2013 will be another tough year for schools, we need to retain flexibility should state revenues fail to materialize as projected.

With these formulas in place, we will be bringing back 142 full-time equivalent (FTE) teachers beginning this week. In addition, we will be bringing back all 14.6 FTE counseling positions and three of the four pink-slipped high school assistant principals.
This is the plan for now. I know this is hard. I understand the stress that comes with the noticing process – and with all budget matters in this frustrating time of state underfunding. Our intention is to alleviate that stress for as many of our employees as possible as quickly as possible while keeping our financial responsibilities as stewards of taxpayer dollars in mind.
I will continue to update you as more information becomes available.
Jonathan P. Raymond