The music program may be crippled, and 346 teachers, nurses, psychologists sand counselors are poised to lose their jobs, as the braces to endure another round of multimillion-dollar budget cuts.
The board of trustees will meet Tuesday to authorize the district to issue at least 346 pink slips. Among those on the chopping block are 103 kindergarten through sixth-grade teachers, 178 secondary teachers, 53 special education teachers, 10 counselors and two nurses. All of the teachers to be laid off were hired on temporary contracts.
"Their contract is such that they can be released under these conditions," Superintedent Joseph Farley told Patch. "Our hope is that we can reinstate them as the financial situation is more clear."
Among teachers at the middle-school and high-school level are 47 English teachers, 39 math, 27 music instructors, 24 social science teachers and seven world-language teachers.
By law, each year, teachers must receive their layoff notices by March 15. In the past, the district has reinstated many of the teachers who received pink slips. The uncertainty about how many teachers will actually be let go stems from the fact that school districts won’t know how much money they will receive until the state budget is passed.
While California law requires state legislators to pass a state budget by July 1, that deadline is often not met. This year’s budget wasn’t passed until Oct. 8, 2010—100 days late.
This leaves school districts in a very precarious position, compounded by a state government that is facing at least a $20-billion shortfall this year, according to a school district staff report. To plug the hole, Gov. Jerry Brown has requested that a be put before the voters in a June special election that would extend temporary sales, motor vehicle and income taxes.
But there’s no guarantee such a measure would win voter approval or even make it to the ballot, so at this point, the Orange County Department of Education has instructed school districts across the county to assume the worst. In dollar terms, that would mean for the district than it received this year.
On top of that, district enrollment is declining, some families may soon be choosing to go to and the state is passing along a bill it once paid for . All told, the district may be facing as much as $24.8 million in budget cuts.
“To afford maximum flexibility during the budget development process for 2011-2012, the district has no other option but to prepare for the worst-case scenario,” Farley wrote in a report to the board.
Personnel salaries eat up 85 percent of the district’s total budget, Farley wrote. “It is anticipated that the district would not be able to achieve cost savings equaling $17.5 million without reductions in staff, including certificated employees.”
Capo teachers went on strike last year when the board reduced their pay by 10.1 percent. The only concession gained after the three-day strike was a deal to restore teacher salaries should extra money become available.
The district did just that earlier this month, by a third, to 6.49 percent. October’s state budget included $13.5 million more than the district had budgeted.
On the closed session agenda for Tuesday, board members are slated for negotiations with each of the four barganing associations.
In another item scheduled for Tuesday, the school board will discuss the costs to repair recent rain damage. The district’s insurance will not cover the $400,000 it cost to repair San Juan Elementary and the Capistrano-Laguna Beach ROP Program. So the district will apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for . President Obama declared Orange County a disaster area after December rains deluged the area.
“The exact financial implications due to the flooding and water damage have not been fully determined at this point,” wrote Ron Lebs, deputy superintendent of business and support services, in a staff report.
Until the district is reimbursed, school officials have tapped into the general fund to pay for repairs, Lebs wrote.