The process of cutting $50 million from the begins tonight, with six items designed as money-savers, including increasing classroom sizes for kindergarten-third grades and reopening negotiations with the unions.
In addition, the Board of Trustees will consider taking out another multimillion-dollar, short-term loan to keep the district solvent while it waits for money slated to be spent this year arrives next fiscal year.
The district anticipates – and that’s only if the in sales taxes and high-come wage earners.
Voters will go to the polls to decide that in November, but school districts must pass their 2012-13 budget by June 30. To budget for the worst-case scenario, Capo Unified must find $48 million in cuts from a budget that is already “over 90 percent personnel,” according to staff reports.
“Therefore, the district must continue to consider every option to ensure it develops and adopts a balanced budget by June 30,” the agenda reads.
The trustees will consider asking the state for a waiver so that the district may increase class sizes beyond what state law allows. The proposal is to add two more students to kindergarten classes, taking the numbers from 31- to 33 students, and one more student in first-third, from 30 to 31.
With class-size increases comes fewer teachers, and the trustees will consider a “precautionary” item to reduce the number of teachers by 399.
“With personnel costs now exceeding 90 percent of the district’s total budget, the district must consider all options available in an effort to provide maximum flexibility during the budget development process,” states the trustees’ agenda. “This includes preparing for the worst-case scenario.”
Last year, the . However, funding stayed flat this year, so the district did not make the changes.
The district is proposing to reopen negotiations with the teachers’ union, Capistrano Unified Education Association, the non-teaching employees union, California School Employees Association and the Teamsters.
“The district is submitting its proposal so that the 2012-13 negotiations can be addressed within the context of current district and state economic challenges,” the agenda items read.
The resolution the trustees will consider say the district wants to discuss the length of work year, salary reductions and benefit reductions.
NEW SHORT-TERM LOAN
The board will also consider taking out a new short-term loan, borrowing from the county $12.66 million, to be paid back in increments crossing fiscal years, by October at the latest, according to the agenda.
The county is offering the financing after it , saying the state would make them whole. Capistrano Unified bore the brunt of decision with nearly $19 million put on hold.
The in a financial vehicle called Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes (or TRANs), which pools together many school districts to seek out more favorable terms, to cross fiscal years.
With the county’s offer, however, that loan was reduced to $12.5 million, said Marcus Walton, CUSD communications manager. So between the two loans, the district is borrowing about $25 million to cover shortfalls from this school year that the state will plug next school year.
The district’s TRAN was sold Feb. 23, Walton said.
The district already took out a $75-million TRAN loan this year, which will be paid back in full by May, school officials have said, leaving the district in a financial lurch by June if the trustees do not approve the short-term loans.
The board meets at 7 tonight at the district's headquarters, 33122 Valle Road in San Juan Capistrano.