With Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed June ballot measure to extend taxes looking less and less likely, the will have to plan next school year’s budget on its worst-case scenario, which means plugging a $24.8-million hole.
“We’ve always been focused on the worst-case scenario,” said district spokesman Marcus Walton.
Gov. Brown held a press conference Thursday, saying that budget cuts the Legislature approved last month and that he signed today only get him halfway to his goal of bridging a $26-billion budget gap.
His original plan was to put a measure on a June 7 special-election ballot that would extend temporary tax increases on sales, motor and income taxes. His goal was to have Legislature approval by March 10, but Republicans are balking at the idea.
“At some point, we will miss a June possibility. I think that would be tragic,” Brown said today.
He’s now weighing several strategies, including a November initiative that would bypass the need for Republican support by gathering enough signatures from citizens to place the issue on the regular November ballot. School officials, however, must approve their budget by June 30.
Even if some last-minute maneuvering results in a June special election, Brown acknowledged Thursday, the tax extensions may not pass. Indeed, new polling suggests that it would not.
An alternative tack—one Brown is still keeping on the table—is to place the measure on a June ballot with only a simple majority of the state Legislature. But Republicans have vowed to file a lawsuit to stop such an attempt.
Teachers union Capistrano Unified Education Association and local PTA groups have been urging teachers and parents to contact their local state representatives to put pressure on them to put the tax extensions on a June ballot.
Given the uncertainty of the extending the temporary taxes, Capo Unified has been preparing two budgets: one based on the extensions passing and one based on them expiring. The worst-case scenario budget predicts a $24.8-million shortfall, which includes federal jobs money the district has yet to spend.
In anticipation of needed cuts, the board of trustees has already:
- Told 334 teachers working on a year-to-year, temporary basis that .
- Notified the teachers union that the district .
- Notified other employee groups that their hours and wages may be reduced.
The district has already cut more than $90 million in the past few years. Beyond next year’s budget crisis, the district to restore its rainy-day reserve fund.
On top of that, without an extension of tax increases or new tax increases, the school district is looking at a $43.9-million shortfall for the 2012-13 year and $53.8 million for the 2013-14 year, according to a chart the district prepared.
Next door, at the to deal with their $9-million budget shortfall.
Brown said today that if the voters choose to balance the budget with spending cuts alone, they "will leave a lot of tears in their wake."