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More Budget Cuts on Horizon for Capo

Next year, CUSD needs to close a $31 million gap; meanwhile this year will see a temporary $23 million cash-flow problem by May.

The financial big picture is once again on the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees agenda, and once again, there is no good news in sight.

The trustees will meet Monday, when two new members – Jim Reardon and Amy Hanacek – will be sworn in, along with recently re-elected Trustees John Alpay and Gary Pritchard. The newcomers' first task: getting up to speed on the district’s financial outlook.

“The district faces a substantial shortfall budget for the two subsequent years,” according to a staff report. The estimated gap for 2013-14 is $31 million.

“Due to the volatility of California’s economic recovery and uncertainty with education funding, it is recognized that, if necessary, the district plans to implement $31 million in ongoing budget reduction in 2013-14,” says a fiscal solvency statement the district is required to make.

Capo Unified cut $31 million out of this year’s budget, about $20 million from employees through their negotiated agreements and another $11 million in other cuts the school board could make independently.

Last year's budget included employee contracts with a one-year expiration.

Beyond the budgeting challenges for next year, the interim report also shows the district struggling to manage cash this year. Revenues come into the district in spurts, and by May, the district will be $23.3 million in the red.

By June, however, it is expected to be back on the positive side by nearly $11.2 million, according to a cashflow worksheet on Monday's agenda.

The district had a similar cashflow issue last year, which it resolved when the trustees approved two short-term loans that crossed fiscal years.

The district will begin the process of planning for next school year’s budget in January. The next interim report about how this year is going financially is expected on the March 11, 2013 agenda.

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

Penny Arévalo (Editor) December 07, 2012 at 04:43 PM
This is well known. The question is, do we resolve it with more taxes or different spending priorities? That's up to the voter.
randy December 07, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Penny, priorities? Now getting more complicated in Calif as Americans stretching their longevity and still able to vote. 80 million 1946-1964. Approx 20-25 million elderly 1900's to 1945 alive. Approx 100 million total and strong voting power. Will children, tweens or teens be allowed to vote?
Trisha Jones December 07, 2012 at 07:48 PM
So we spend less on the children, but our teachers are paid highest in the country (on average).. go figure.
shelly December 07, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Teachers work in the classrooms. Money spent on paying for teachers is money spent on the children. What should we spend the money on? Books, buildings, pencils???? What good would these be without teachers?
shelly December 07, 2012 at 08:44 PM
"Capo Unified cut $31 million out of this year’s budget, about $20 million from employees through their negotiated agreements and another $11 million in other cuts the school board could make independently" So where did most of the cuts come from? So when people on these comment boards say that the employees did not take much of a cut what does $20 million in employee cuts mean?
Yeparoo December 07, 2012 at 09:35 PM
So Penny, if CTA pushed for and got "more taxes," what do we call "more taxes" when we just got "more taxes?" "More-More taxes?"
Yeparoo December 07, 2012 at 09:39 PM
I'll take a stab at that. If I raise my fee for a service or product, then offer less services or products resulting in less revenue, that is not a "pay cut." It is simply withholding services or products, while at the same time raising my rate of pay.
shelly December 07, 2012 at 10:44 PM
Teachers are doing more now because there are bigger class sizes and they do not get paid when they do not work. So what do you mean, yeparoo? When society does not value education and values other things more, then education is cut. People can blame the teachers and other employees (who are not even coming close to getting rich working for us) all they want but the simple truth is is that there is not enough money to pay for the education we want for our kiddos. We should all contribute more. And if not then it is all of our "bad". We either need to cut more or provide what is needed.
Dawn Urbanek December 08, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Sound Familiar? For the first five months of the fiscal year, the state has taken in $802.4 million less in revenues than expected, equal to 2.6 percent. The State Controller's Office also says the state has spent $2.1 billion more than expected. http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/12/california-revenues-lag-due-to-facebook-corporate-refunds.html
Capo Parent December 08, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Dawn Sounds like what CUSD does. Revenue down, increase medical benefits for the teachers union; budget deficit, enacted a $12 million golden parachute for the teachers union; lack money to make payroll, give the teachers union more PTO and more release days. CUSD = stupid is as stupid does. Of course, Shelly will give us endless post about how wonderful and well run CUSD is, too bad the facts don't match her fiction.
shelly December 08, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Capo parent, I don't see all bad with CUSD because if I did I would not have my children in CUSD schools, Capo parent. If you see all bad why are you, Capo Parent, exposing your children to all bad? CUSD is not perfect. It is run by people and people are not perfect. People on the board come and go. Most of the teachers and school site administrators stay. They are not perfect either but most of them are hard working people who care about our children and work very hard. They did not cause the economic problems all of CA faces. Fact, my children are getting a good education in CUSD and if you ask Dawn, she would say the same and if she denies it she should look back on what she has written. She, herself stated that the teachers at Las Palmas are good. Have a wonderful weekend.
shelly December 08, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Capo parent, I don't see all bad with CUSD because if I did I would not have my children in CUSD schools, Capo parent. If you see all bad why are you, Capo Parent, exposing your children to all bad? CUSD is not perfect. It is run by people and people are not perfect. People on the board come and go. Most of the teachers and school site administrators stay. They are not perfect either but most of them are hard working people who care about our children and work very hard. They did not cause the economic problems all of CA faces. Fact, my children are getting a good education in CUSD and if you ask Dawn, she would say the same and if she denies it she should look back on what she has written. She, herself stated that the teachers at Las Palmas are good. Have a wonderful weekend.
Dawn Urbanek December 09, 2012 at 05:38 AM
Shelly- I do not know how much longer a "few" teachers can teacher ever growing class sizes and not be burned out. It is one thing to have a temporary increase in class sizes. It is another to increase them year after year for six years and have that be the continued picture of the their future. No wonder the Union is negotiating less and less days with the students. If you look at the contract we have 175 days of school. But every teacher has 10 personal leave days (up from 7) so our students are lucky to have 165 days of school with their teacher. Oh also - please also consider - "according to just the facts"
Dawn Urbanek December 09, 2012 at 05:38 AM
District has 46 days where students in the elementary grades are released early from school. There are 13 true minimum days and 33 Articulation and Collaboration for Excellence (ACE) days, which are reserved for teachers’ collaboration, professional development and instructional preparation—all focused on improving student learning. This collaborative time has been captured by restructuring minutes across the week. Students are in school for an extra 15 minutes on 129 days. Those extra 15 minutes are “banked” so that one day each week can be shortened for the ACE day. Banked minutes were introduced districtwide in the 2004-2005 school year. Those extra 15 minutes have started being considered part of the regular school day and the ACE days considered minimum days. The concept works this way (using Grades 4-5 as an example): Four days a week, students receive 323 minutes of instruction. One day each week is an ACE day. On those days, students receive 248 minutes of instruction. If you add the minutes, students receive 1,540 instructional minutes each week, or an average of 308 instructional minutes each day. The additional 13 minimum days are reserved for the first and last days of school, Back to School Night, Open House night, and nine parent conference days. See http://capousd.ca.schoolloop.com/cms/page_view?d=x&piid=&vpid=1294471264166
Dawn Urbanek December 09, 2012 at 05:47 AM
Shelly- You always represent yourself as being on the side of the teachers... maybe you meant to say the side of the union? Teachers cannot enjoy teaching in unsafe classrooms with class sizes that are sometimes above fire code safety standards without even minimum supplies? What teacher working under these conditions is looking for more of the same??? We have old (and very good) teachers working to stay alive long enough to retire at their highest salary. This has nothing to do with "what is in the best education of the education of our children."
shelly December 09, 2012 at 06:20 AM
Dawn, If it is about the kids then we should all be willing to help. Have a wonderful weekend.
shelly December 09, 2012 at 06:20 AM
Dawn, If it is about the kids then we should all be willing to help. Have a wonderful weekend.
Yeparoo December 09, 2012 at 06:32 AM
Shelly -OMG, You are getting "warmer." So close.
shelly December 09, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Dawn, Yep, I am on the side of the teachers because they not you, Dawn, are on my kids side. They (not you) are the people who work with my and other's kids every day. And according to you, the teachers and administrators at Las Palmas do a great job. So you are not on the Las Palmas teachers' "side" (which to me is the side of education and kids after all it is about the kids, right and no, Dawn, I do not live anywhere near "stepford".) So yes, I am on the teachers' "side" (which now you are designating it is the teachers against another "side" and whose "side is that?) Whose "side" are you on?
shelly December 09, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Dawn, Yep, I am on the side of the teachers because they not you, Dawn, are on my kids side. They (not you) are the people who work with my and other's kids every day. And according to you, the teachers and administrators at Las Palmas do a great job. So you are not on the Las Palmas teachers' "side" (which to me is the side of education and kids after all it is about the kids, right and no, Dawn, I do not live anywhere near "stepford".) So yes, I am on the teachers' "side" (which now you are designating it is the teachers against another "side" and whose "side is that?) Whose "side" are you on?
shelly December 09, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Dawn, For over 13 years the teachers of CUSD have taught my children to read, write, calculate, question, be kind, be innovative, explore, experiment, express, etc.? What have you and others on your "side" done for my children that warrants me and others to be on your "side". The economy tanked. It was not our school districts fault. You seem to feel the teachers and school employees should be responsible for fixing it all. I do not.
randy December 09, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Shelly, well...well, do you think it is not the district's fault? I know teachers and staff members at campuses are not responsible for crisis, but...there is, you know, more than just an economy that tanked. Many districts were well managed in the state as well as poorly managed ones. Ask John Fleming some questions to begin with. We have had 3 or 4 supts after John's departure and before Joe Farley, as well as replacing BOTs. It was led to some dramatic moments that affected schools where kiddos attending. What's interesting they are disposable when kids and their classroom teachers are not, until pink slips given by the government's fiscal crises.
shelly December 10, 2012 at 01:58 AM
randy, School districts are not a business. They are required to submit a balanced budget every year. And they must keep a reserve. CUSD has done this every year no matter who was in charge. Look up the past budgets. I was not a Fleming fan but even under him there was a reserve and no severe cuts. Do I think the admin building was a mistake. Yes. And I wrote letters to the district before the building was built. When it was in the planning stages. People starting protesting that building in earnest when the boundaries for the new high school were anounced. Before that there was hardly a peep. Did I agree with SJHHS being built. NO. I voted against it when it came up for a vote in SJC. I wrote letters about that also. The amount that the district paid for the property was way too much. But it was built. And although the location is not stellar it is a great school. Boards have come and gone. Superintendents have come and gone. My children have attended CUSD schools for over 13 years and the drastic cuts occured after the economy tanked. Look it up. We can discuss and argue about history all day but the reality is that it will take all of us to compromise and work together and contribute. I am tired of people saying "But it is for the kids." And in the same comment say, "but I am not paying more." People expect others to fix it for us. I say it is all of our responsibility. And it is about the kids.
Dawn Urbanek December 10, 2012 at 02:08 PM
"School districts are not a business. They are required to submit a balanced budget every year." That is the problem- the Budget that the District passed this year was a "Qualified Budget" which means that the District was required to submit not only a balanced budget for the current year, but for two subsequent years. They did not do that. If you read the actual Budget Disclosure Documents page 18.130 line item #10 all they did was make an "adjustment" entry that states they will some how come up with $52.5 million in additional funding in 2013- 2014 and $51 million in additional funding for 2014- 2015. So this District is already in the hole $103 million dollars with the passage of Prop 30 and not including that the State budget is already off by $3 billion- The State has taken in $800 million in revenues less then they anticipated and has already spent 2.2 billion more then they stated. My point is that CUSD is shortening the school year- increasing class sizes and allowing maintenance to be deferred while at the same time it is increasing salaries, pensions and benefits. What happens to the 47,000 children in the District when there is no more money to open the school doors?
shelly December 10, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Dawn, Your point has been that the teachers should fix it. And when people disagree with you you resort to callig them names. I have seen at Las Palmas, the school where all my children went and your child goes, who had my children's best interest at heart and who worked for and with my children. It was the teachers and administrators who were always there for my children and other parents who volunteered and kept volunteering even when things didn't go their way.
shelly December 10, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Dawn, And another one of your points in your own words which no one paraphrased but actually recorded was that it would be best if the system failed. What would happen to the kids out of those 47,000 who could not afford private school, which you stated you could afford to put your child. If we want to fix education funding then we should be willing to fund education at the level it should be funded and we should stop pointing fingers and roll up our sleeves and help. And Dawn, teachers are of value and deserve their compensation, beneftis and retirement.
Dawn Urbanek December 10, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Where is the District going to get the $103 million dollars it needs just to keep the doors open? Taxes are not going to be enough because Orange County will only get 11 1/2 cents back from the State for every tax dollar. Orange County gives half that to education- so lets see the entire county gets 6.5 cents for every dollar increase in taxes which must be shared by 32 Districts. To raise $103 million that is required just for CUSD would require a lot of new taxes.... about $1.5 Billion in new taxes or $300,000 per student at CUSD. Raising Taxes will not save Orange County Schools- especially the ones that have been financially mismanaged.
Pliny the Elder December 13, 2012 at 07:27 PM
What I find most puzzling is why one would think that throwing more money into a huge bureaucratic hole will make anything better. The answer is not more money,the answer is a better system. A system that rewards those great hard working teachers that CUSD has, A system that weeds out the under performing teachers just waiting for their pensions or are just bad at what they do. A system that lets the teachers do what they do best, A system that lets the teachers innovate. That is not the system we have in place today and that is truly not in the best interest for the kids. I am upset because I feel we pay the teachers a very good salary and we are not getting the results that we expect as a whole. Not saying that is 100% the teachers fault but as others like to say teachers are the ones in the classroom and all of those books and supplies would be useless without them.
shelly December 13, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Pliny, Our district is doing well. And if administrators do their jobs they do weed out teachers who are not doing their jobs. And no one is throwing more money at CUSD. The district's budget has been continually cut since the economy tanked. It would just be great to have adequate money to educate our kids and not have to cut every year. It would just be great to have people value education. CA ranks as one of the lowest states for per pupil spending. We have the most children to educate. Some see it at the teachers responsibility to fix our budget woes and all the blame gets put on them. I see it as all of our responsibililty. I advocate for all to help. And I do not see teacher as the bad guy. I am not saying you do but before the economy tanked all was right in the world for some. Now people are looking for a scapegoat and teachers have become their number one target. I have an opinion which is based on my experience and others around me. It may not be the same as yours. My 4 children have gotten or are getting a great education. They have had some great teachers who work really hard. Teachers are educated professionals who deserve their salaries. What they do is important.
Pliny the Elder December 14, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Shelly, Lets be realistic, The administrators are not doing their jobs on getting those bad teachers out, the union has way too much influence. When was the last time a tenured teacher was fired in CUSD for being a bad teacher? I would bet it has been a very long time. Public sector employees are a big part of the blame due to their union negotiated pensions and employment practices and the last time I checked the teachers fall under this umbrella. Once again I am not saying that it is 100% their fault but they do have a part in this. Teachers are not the bad guys, I respect the work thatmany teachers do, I am apalled by some of the work that other teachers do. The same can be said for some doctors that I know, the big difference is that the doctors can be fired much easier.

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