Déjà Vu for Capo's Budget Next Year

With new union agreements good for only one year, Capistrano Unified may have to look for $52.5 million in cuts next year. Under current law, CUSD won't be able to cut the school year so short in 2013-14.

EDITOR'S NOTE: See related stories,  and .

Just as the closes a potential with comes news that officials may have to do it all over again next year.

Except next time, officials won't be able to shrink the school year like they're proposing this year.

The school district posted its proposed budget (see ) on its website Friday afternoon. It plans for as many as $51 million in cuts, depending on whether .

Included in the 2012-13 budget is a fiscal solvency statement that must be filed with the Orange County Department of Education. It says, in part:

Due to California’s sluggish economy recovery, the uncertain outcome of the governor’s November tax initiative, the potential implementation of the weighted student funding formula and proposed implementation of trigger reductions for 2012-13, it is recognized that, if necessary, the school district plans to implement between $31 million and $52.5 million in ongoing budget reductions in 2013-14.

The multiyear projections show another $51 million needed in 2014-15. However, these figures do not include what future negotiated contracts with the various employee unions may look like.

The cutbacks included in  are only good for a one-year term.

“Negotiated settlements were reached for 2012-13 to reduce salaries and increase class size. These settlements were for a period of one year. Adjustments reflect ending of the agreement pending new negotiations,” says a note in a report that accompanies the 2012-13 budget, scheduled for Wednesday’s Board of Trustees meeting.

However, the district will not be able to once again draw from the furlough-day well.

According to the Orange County Department of Education, in light of of the economic crisis in school funding and in the event the tax initiative doesn't pass, the state will allow school districts to shorten the school year for the next two school years, but they can only use 15 extra days in total.

"This means that any school district would be able to use any combination of days in 2012-13 and 2013-14, but the total of the days in those two years cannot exceed 15 days (i.e.: eight days in 2012-2013 and seven days in 2013-2014 for a total of 15 days over the two-year period), in addition to current law which already allows the school year to be reduced by up to five days each year," reads an advisory the county sent local school districts.

"Once the 15 days have been used for the two-year period of 2012-13 and 2013-14, this provision is eliminated and the statutes will revert back to current law of five days per year (175-day year)," it states.

CUSD is proposing to use all 15 unpaid furlough days in one year.

Because any new agreements for 2013-14 and 2014-15 are unknown, the district is currently showing salaries and benefits comprising more than the total expected revenues for 2013-14 (see accompanying graph).

The board meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the district headquarters, 33122 Valle Road in San Juan Capistrano. 

Yeparoo June 25, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Do Nothing. Interesting. I wonder what the significant big picture achievement(s) the TTs would claim credit for after 2 budgets. To be fair, can anyone post significant acheivments from the last 2 budget cycles? $100 million in lost revenue in 24 months, a 25% drop - Yikes. Because CUSD is saddled with a $120 million loan they don't have a balance sheet that can accommodate that big of a drop in revenue for financing. The loan represents over spending at a rate of $2,400 per student, or $60,000 per teacher, against future revenues from the previous unbalanced budgets. I can't see bankers continuing to finance from future revenues and wonder exactly when they will pull the punch bowl away from CUSD. Just to add context to the CUSD budget issues and the CA budget issues, not withstanding the possibility of either tax initiative passing, are the rumblings that the US may be following other countries into recession. If this happens, all revenue projections will be shaky at best and may be revised down further. It doesn't look like CUSD is in a position to weather the storm. It would appear the TTs are using all 15 furlough days in 12-13 and will be back to 'hoping things will get better' in 13-14. My thought is that bankruptcy is a strong possibility in 13-14 without the ability to take further furlough days, unless things just get better or the union agrees to huge salary reductions.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) June 25, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Scores at many schools continue to climb (we'll get the more recent figures in August, but here's last year's story: http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/articles/more-capo-elementary-schools-enter-the-900-club) Chinese Two-Way Language Immersion program is first of kind for a public school in OC http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/articles/capo-to-offer-countys-first-chinese-language-program There are two.
Yeparoo June 25, 2012 at 07:48 PM
I like those stories. I look forward to more stories like those and would like to keep an open mind. The first one on API scores for the 2010-11 school year had little to do with the current board that came in late 2010. I'm really not sure even a one year change in API would mean much. The API trend is a shared achievement of many boards, administrations, teachers, students, parents, etc. The API improvement is welcome news, but that was from the previous board's budgeting year. Unless it is implied that restored teaching days have a direct positive impact on API scores. The Chinese Two-Way looks like a great initiative from the current board. I would give that program a five year window to develop and reassess it. That is not what I would consider a big picture item, but a great initiative. Any stories from that program after one year would be interesting. The question going forward is will CUSD continue to enjoy academic success and will programs like the Chinese Two-Way Immersion continue to be supported? Honestly, after looking at the tentative agreement, Mr Farley’s PP Slide #15 looks like the most reasonalble approach within the collective bargaining approach that should have been agreed to within the revenue constraints. Why did’t the ruling TTs push for it?
Jim Reardon June 25, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Penny, the test scores say as much about our community as the do about the school district. And the Chinese Two-Way Language immersion program is a wonderful opportunity for those who can participate. You may recall that the head of CUEA objected to these reforms: "Vicki Soderberg, president of the teachers union, the Capistrano Unified Education Association, was the lone speaker from the audience who said she had concerns about the proposal. She said that of the 248 temporary elementary teachers who lost their jobs last year, only 120 have been rehired. “We have loyal teachers who have taught five, six, seven years,” she said. "They shouldn’t be bypassed in favor of new teachers." Additionally, Soderberg said she worries that the school district already has its hands full with new programs for 2012-13, including a new online high school, a transitional kindergarten for students not 5 years old by Nov. 1, and a science, technology, engineering and mathematics curriculum approved at Monday’s meeting in partnership with the National Park Service. It hate to admit it, but she had a point. While these programs may be improvements, none address the decline in revenue. Only reforms that address the present structure of classrooms can resolve the budget gap without radically slashing teacher pay. Unfortunately, the Trustees have done nothing to advance this needed reform.
Capo Parent Too June 25, 2012 at 08:09 PM
You have no idea what you are talking about Mr. Reardon, since Dr. Farley has come aboard, instruction has been the most important issue he's focussed on. You are the one who has been focussing on budget issues here and the Patch. Just because it's not reported on in the Patch does't mean it's not happening. Do nothing? There is plenty being done to enhance education, from STEAM to dual immersion programs to online education. There has been great programs for interaction with all our Federal parks that brings nature to the classroom! They are offering plenty to these students beyond a budget and yet you do not take the time to learn what that is. That's not the District's problem, that is yours.
Capo Parent Too June 25, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Partnerships Expand Opportunities for Innovative Academic Program San Diego State University (SDSU) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will join the Capistrano Collaborative for Education Advancement (C2Sea) to provide students in the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) instruction through a pilot project that features virtual field trips to remote locations, thanks to an agreement approved by the Board of Trustees on Monday night. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and SDSU will join the District and the National Parks Service, who signed an agreement creating the collaborative in September. The project will engage students from elementary through high school with varying levels of substance and depth in the curriculum, culminating with high school students participating in multi-day topical research expeditions that will include virtual interaction with students at the middle and elementary levels. “Expanding this partnership will provide even more resources as we add additional opportunities in STEM education for our students,” Board of Trustees President Dr. Gary Pritchard said. “By creating partnerships with organizations that have real world expertise, we will provide our students with the curriculum and instruction necessary for them to succeed in their post-graduation pathways.” http://capousd.ca.schoolloop.com/news/view?id=1325748764502
Capo Parent Too June 25, 2012 at 08:21 PM
cusd mom June 25, 2012 at 08:24 PM
I totally agree with you Yeparoo regarding Mr. Farley's PP Slide 15 from the budget forum presention. It definitely seems more reasonable, but unfortunately, the unions would prefer that the kids and parents experience the most "pain" in this in hopes of a yes vote on the tax increases. I'm predicting a vote of 4-3 by the TTs. I am a total supporter of our public school system. We need good schools for our future. It makes me extremely sad that our district and state are in such a financial ruin.
Capo Parent Too June 25, 2012 at 08:27 PM
They also finally got the Pool built at San Juan Hills that had taken years. It is in use now. But of course that had nothing to do with this current board, only the bad things have something to do with them. It is exactly in these bad times that we need to work with teachers and have good will. If the fact is that we need to cut more then we need teachers to approve concessions and salaries will eventually have to take a hit, but it's easier to ask that then to impose such cuts and it's better to do so when the relationship with teachers is based on trust rather than adversarial to say the least. I sincerely believe this board is doing its best in this rough times and not only trying to get through budgetary issues but attempting to enhance instruction and curriculum for all students, which is not easy when you have less money to work with.
Capo mom June 25, 2012 at 08:48 PM
And what we get when we "ask" is this; The school year shortened by almost a month for students, Additional personal and release days (meaning more days with subs for students) and no end in sight. We will be facing the same issues again next year (and the year after?). If the interests of the students and community are to be represented the relationship between CUEA should be adversarial. Otherwise whatever agreement is struck will favor the union. oops that's exactly what we have.
bbq June 25, 2012 at 09:52 PM
Time to go bankrupt and start over!
Capo Parent Too June 25, 2012 at 10:45 PM
The governor last month proposed allowing districts to cut 15 days across the next two school years if the tax initiative fails. But the latest education budget bill says districts could actually go down to 160 days in both 2012-13 and 2013-14. That is 20 days below the once standard 180 days, which fell to 175 days in post-recession budget cuts. Read more here: http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/06/california-budget-includes-harsher-school-year-trigger-cut.html#storylink=cpy It's already changed CUSD Mom, it's 15 days each year. Sacramento sees the writing on the wall even if you and others refuse to.
Yeparoo June 25, 2012 at 11:56 PM
@ CP2 - "Sacramento sees the writing on the wall even if you and others refuse to." Please explain what you mean by this. I think we may be in agreement here, at lease the "sees the writing on the wall' part. I would not include a swimming pool as a TT signature structural education achievement. Not that pools aren't a good thing, but Capo isn't trailing the world terribly in the the butterfly stroke nor is HS swimming where swimmers become better swimmers (see CLUB programs). I continue to keep an open mind, any other significant education achievements of the current ruling TT's?
Capo Parent Too June 26, 2012 at 02:14 AM
I included that because the pool had been caught up in litigation for years and this board was able to get it built even though past boards were not. I mean, the State understands that more cuts are to come, furlough days and pay cuts are going to have to come in order to balance budgets. I am not sure what Mr. Reardon means when he talks about structural issues in the classroom, sounds like he wants to dismantle unions, which is what many on his side is really about and start the district over. He's really vague on what he wants done, just cut salaries and that's not much of a solution since the biggest resource we have in the classroom are teachers.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) June 26, 2012 at 02:29 AM
CP2, why don't YOU read Patch more carefully? There are TONS of stories at Patch. Just last week, we ran a four-part series on San Juan Hills High, as well as the high school graduation (full coverage, not the OC Reg's photos). I've done lots of stories on dual immersion (both Spanish and Chinese) and the online offerings. Tomorrow, there will be a nice feature about a local girl who won a national award in the PTA Reflections contest. Patch offers FULL coverage of CUSD.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) June 26, 2012 at 02:39 AM
The pool was on the agenda September 2010 before the new board was elected. It was delayed so that a construction manager could be hired to modify and improve the plans a bit. I'm not sure there was litigation surrounding the pool (there was definitely litigation regarding the stadium, which is still under construction). Not sure how you can give the current board credit for it, but if you do, you should also note it was two months late and incurred a $10K mistake for buying the wrong kind of starting blocks.
Jim Reardon June 26, 2012 at 04:24 AM
CP2 has a fertile imagination. The pool at SJHHS was delayed because CUSD didn't have the money or the plans to start it on time. This was the result of a dysfunctional Facilities department that never really got fixed after Fleming and Doomey finished their dirty work. Finally after several Superintendents, things finally started to happen. Not at all surprising, considering that Sup. Farley has a facilities background. Litigation? That's CP2 fiction. So too is the notion of "dismantling unions". That's CP2 talking trash. To survive in an environment of falling revenue (and falling enrollment), it will be necessary to negotiate reforms that reduce the per-pupil cost of education. This does not mean that it is necessary to slash teacher salaries. In fact, under the right arrangements, it may be necessary that they rise. But so long as we insist on writing union contracts around "instructional minutes" with firm caps on class size, we will get nowhere and education quality will continue to decline. Each year, CUSD spends millions to interconnect campuses with broadband. So far, the main use of this has been for teacher "training". It hasn't really reached into classrooms or to students. Meanwhile, the district spends a fortune -- literally -- to develop an online school, "Cal Prep", that will do nothing to reduce district costs? Trustees have provided no leadership or direction aimed at reform. They offer "feel good" ideas, but costs continue to rise.
Capo Parent June 26, 2012 at 04:38 AM
CP2 Reardon is right on and you're full of hot air. STEAM is what the Titanic was doing when it hit an iceberg and sank. STEAM to fiscal disaster is what CUSD has done, we're just wanting for it to collapse. By the way, you wouldn't be trustee Hatton would you? She's the one who thinks she is a gift to public education with her STEAM program. Tell Hatton CUSD doesn't need STEAM it needs leadership, something she has no clue about.
Capo mom June 26, 2012 at 12:22 PM
SInce we are focusing on accomplishments here, I'd like to ask CP2 and others, what they think CUEA havs done for the students and community of CUSD? Remember they and their candidates promised to *heal the district (doesn't look like it), *fix all problems (things have become much worse financially) *retain high quality staff (why DID Lebbs leave in the middle of the year?) *give us local control (ask the parents at Barcelona Hills how much local control they had). What has CUEA accomplished for students and the community at large?
Capo mom June 26, 2012 at 05:07 PM
fact checker June 26, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Teachers and support personnel are responsible for every accomplishment by every student. They do best with the support of parents but can accomplish a lot without it. Hard to imagine a school accomplishing anything without the people who work there.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) June 26, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Hasn't passed yet. According to School Services of California: After today's Senate Budget Committee hearing, the bill is expected to go to the floor of each house for a vote on Wednesday, June 27, 2012.
Yeparoo June 26, 2012 at 07:40 PM
@Penny - Could you clarify the "$31m - $52.5m" reduction listed in this article? Is this IN ADDITION TO the existing cuts? Or are these cuts a continuation of the existing cuts? If they are a continuation of the cuts, then IMM they are no longer cuts, but they are simply the new reality.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) June 26, 2012 at 07:43 PM
It's more like a structural deficit. This year, the district is solving the deficit with a one-year contract. So next year's numbers cannot assume the cuts made this year will carry over to the next -- because that would have to be renegotiated. So it's like hitting the reset button. Make sense? That's why I headlined the article "Deja Vu."
Yeparoo June 26, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Yes, thank you. So the inflows are 'approximately' $320m-$342m in revenue this year AND next year (Deja Vu).
Penny Arévalo (Editor) June 26, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Actually, look at the photo above. It does show shrinking revenues (all of this assumes the November tax initiative doesn't pass). FYI, adding up just the one-year contract concessions (as listed on the agenda cover pages), they total $38.6 million.
OC Mom June 26, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Fact checker, How on earth are teachers and support staff responsible for every accomplishment by every student? Seriously, do teachers and support staff have this kind of arrogant view of their importance. They may be chiefly responsible for the success of those low income students who have little support from their parents and little ability to afford extracurricular and enrichment activities. However, middle class, upper income and highly involved parents of all backgrounds and their children are responsible for their own student's success. Parents and their kids should take ownership of their education. Many students have private music lessons, play on club sports teams, have tutors etc. Test scores in CUSD can not be soley based on teacher effectiveness. Parent involvement and educational level are a huge factor in the success of students.
fact checker June 27, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Parents are a crucial part of their student's success...no matter what economic level. It's a partnership, as I said above.
Capo mom June 27, 2012 at 01:32 AM
it is difficult to imagine a school accomplishing anything without students and teachers in the classroom. But that is where we are headed.
Capo Parent June 27, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Ala Stockton


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