Updated at 8:20 a.m. June 30.
With budget in the black for now, class sizes next year are to remain the same, and hundreds of temporary teachers whose contracts expired in February will likely be rehired.
On the heels of the state Legislature passing a budget based on rosy revenue projections, the district's board of trustees passed its own budget Wednesday that anticipates the same kind of funding as it received in the 2010-11 school year. The new fiscal year starts Friday.
Of the , 320 are likely to be hired back, said Jodee Brentlinger, assistant superintendent of personnel services. Because of declining enrollment and some families choosing to enroll their children into , 28 will likely lose their jobs permanently.
The $372 million budget passed 4-2, with Trustees Ellen Addonizio and Sue Palazzo voting against and Trustee Lynn Hatton absent. District spokesman Marcus Walton said Hatton was on vacation.
“We can’t endure any more cuts. Otherwise, we’re not doing education any longer,” said Vice President Gary Pritchard.
But the district may have to make cuts as soon as February. The state’s budget is predicated on a growth economy but has built-in “triggers” for cuts if the revenues don’t flow. If the state comes up $2 billion short, it will start cutting school funding.
In a worst-case scenario, Capo may ultimately face making $17 million in cuts in February, said Ron Lebs, deputy superintendent of business and support services. When asked how the district could do that, Lebs said he didn’t know.
“In some way, shape or form, we would have to do that,” he told the board.
The trigger will allow school districts to shorten their school year by seven days. However, Superintendent Joseph Farley said that whether the school year is shortened is subject to negotiations with the district’s various employee groups.
“We’re taking it one semester at a time, and that’s unprecedented,” Farley said. “These are unprecedented fiscal times … I can’t even imagine cutting further than what we already have done, and it’s the same for every other district in the state.”
Lebs added that seven furlough days wouldn’t cover the cuts needed. The district would have to shorten the academic year by 12 days to achieve a $16-7 million savings.
“We’re sort of stuck here with our hands tied,” said Trustee John Alpay.
Because of declining enrollment, the district will receive less overall funding than it did this year, Lebs said. To balance things out, the 2011-12 budget dips into a deferred maintenance fund to transfer $2 million to the general fund.
Only about $400,000 will remain to handle big-ticket maintenance issues such as roof repairs, work to heating and air-conditioning units, asphalt replacement and asbestos abatement.
Addonizio said she wondered if that was enough money to “deal with our aging campuses.”
Farley replied: “It’s what we’ve lived off the last few years of this fiscal crisis.”
The board will hear an update about the budget in August.
Also on Wednesday, the board unanimously agreed to take out as much as $85 million in two short-term loans to help with cash-flow issues. Lebs explained that the source of the district’s revenues are property taxes, which are only doled out two times a year, creating problems meeting payroll.
He anticipates a $60 million in bridge financing in the fall and possibly another loan in spring.
In other board news, the board:
- Performed an evaluation of Superintendent Joseph Farley in closed session. The board directed the staff to provide more data, but it was not disclosed what board members wanted.
- In open session, four members of the public and one middle school principal, Carrie Bertini of in San Juan Capistrano, sang Farley’s praises. “What a difference a year makes,” said Kim Anderson, who heads the legislative team for the Capistrano Unified Council PTSA. Since coming aboard in July, Farley has been accessible and singularly focused on students, she said.
- Unanimously approved in Aliso Viejo as the site for a new charter school, Community Roots Academy. The and plans to open with a kindergarten, first- and second-grade classes.
- Named at beginning July 1. He replaces Charles Salter, who has resigned.
- Voted 4-2 to have President Jack Brick to replace Trustee Lynn Hatton as the CUSD representative on the governing board of Capistrano-Laguna Beach Regional Occupational Program. Hatton resigned earlier in the month to avoid an "." One of Hatton's two educational-services companies has had contracts with Laguna Beach Unified School District in the last 1½ years.