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With a June Tax Extension Measure Looking Less Likely, Schools Will Scramble to Balance Budgets

Capo prepares two budgets but focuses on the worst-case scenario.

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."

shelly March 25, 2011 at 08:36 PM
"Beyond next year’s budget crisis, the district must make $11.95 million in cuts from this year’s budget to restore its rainy-day reserve fund." I think it is raining now.
Capo mom March 25, 2011 at 11:06 PM
quoting from your article: "In anticipation of needed cuts, the board of trustees has already: Told 334 teachers working on a year-to-year, temporary basis that their contracts will not be renewed. Notified the teachers union that the district will reconsider wages and classroom sizes. Notified other employee groups that their hours and wages may be reduced." Hmm seems like the BoT just "reaffirmed" the opposite position of what you state here. Didn't they just restore furlough days and wages? That doesn't seem like they are preparing for the worst case scenario.
Capo Parent Too March 25, 2011 at 11:29 PM
Too bad the last board signed that crappy contract with the Teacher's to restore pay if any money came back to the district. Imagine if they hadn't and the money could have gone to save those jobs. Crazy huh? But hey, that's what happens when you push strikes, you get stuck in a corner with nowhere to go. Great job "Reform" board. The new board now gets to clean up your mess. But go ahead, lets keep hearing about the trigger language and the meaning of the word "and" it's so entertaining.
Shripathi Kamath March 25, 2011 at 11:50 PM
So we want same or better education at a reduced cost, and our Republican legislators do not want our governor to let us determine if we want to extend the tax hike already in effect to maintain even the status quo. In anticipation of stimulating discussions of how the old CUSD board members were crooks, and the new ones are serial violators of the Brown Act, and why teachers should be forking over more of their ill-gotten riches for the benefit of vouchers to fund parochial schools, I find one person to blame for this mess. Solely. (wait for it) ... ... ... ... ... ... (no, not Obama, but he was my fourth choice) ... ... ... ... ... ... Penny Arévalo Having done that, given the choice between cutting funds for, but not eliminating, a public school system, and making do with the existing tax hikes for a few more years, I'd like to see Gov. Brown be given his option in putting it to a vote. Should he fail to get the Republicans to budge for a June ballot, I think he'll go the proposition route in November.
Capo Parent Too March 26, 2011 at 01:35 AM
Thank you for this, it made my evening. I don't see why Republicans are dragging their feet on letting voters decide, it's what Brown ran on and he won. That should be enough. If it fails, well then that's another story.
Shripathi Kamath March 26, 2011 at 02:25 AM
The longer they wait, the better are the chances that voters will vote against the extension of the temporary tax hikes. So it is a negotiation ploy by the Republicans. A double edged sword though, because right now they can bargain for something they want --- like reducing pensions for new state workers, more spending cuts in programs they do not like, and less spending cuts in programs they do like. Should they instead force Brown to put it on the November ballot, and Brown sells that to the people, then the tax hikes get extended and the Republicans get nothing in exchange. For Brown and the Democrats, they'd probably give in some concessions now to get this done early so that it is not a continuing distraction. But I still think it is Penny's fault. I don't know how, but it is.
Capo mom March 26, 2011 at 02:28 AM
You sound like Scarlett O'Hara. It is unlikely that Brown will get his initiative on the ballot. If he does, it is unlikely to pass. That is the worst case scenario. What is the plan?
Shripathi Kamath March 26, 2011 at 02:47 AM
Huh? That is the plan. The plan is to get temporary tax hikes extended, on a longer temporary basis. If Brown does not get it, there'll be additional massive cuts till the budget is balanced. On the education front it might include closing down several schools, letting educators go, doubling class sizes, fewer school days, ... cats and dogs living together...etc. That is, after all the usual maneuvers of financial calisthenics like the ones the previous governor performed, are exhausted. 52% of our budget is for education. It is logical that it will bear the brunt of cuts the most. (Also, thank you, I was hoping somebody would notice the uncanny resemblance)
Penny Arévalo March 26, 2011 at 04:21 AM
My bad! ;-)
Penny Arévalo March 26, 2011 at 04:33 AM
This just in: Members of the public can give input about next year's budget at a community forum rescheduled to April 27. Parents, staff and community members are invited to attend a forum where Superintendent Joe Farley and staff members will present information, listen to suggestions and answer questions about the 2011-2012 budget. The meeting will be from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m, Wednesday April 27 at the CUSD Education Center. Two meetings were originally planned for March 30 and April 14.
Capo mom March 27, 2011 at 06:44 PM
How nice. They have gone from 2 meetings to 1 and pushed the date out til the end of April. It doesn't seem like are particularly interested in sharing information with the community. But looking on the bright side, they aren't going to charge $270,000 to attend, are they?
shelly March 27, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Penny, Thanks for the information. Hopefully people from the community will come up with some positive viable solutions. Capo Mom, I believe the forum is an additional meeting for the community in order to give the community input. Hopefully you can attend and bring some positive input and solutions.
Penny Arévalo April 02, 2011 at 03:54 AM
This just in (again): The school district has rescheduled the meeting to allow the public to comment on the budget situation to May 5. This is the second rescheduling of this meeting.
PC April 11, 2011 at 05:42 PM
You have no more money... Cut it or Shut it. Good time for the Teachers to take back their Unions and fix their problems.
Greyson Peltier May 13, 2011 at 04:08 AM
CA Teachers Assn wants higher taxes NOT to help your kids, but to keep the dues coming in. Education is ruled by bureaucracy and throwing more money at it is not the solution. Why public servants are allowed to have unions (or not be given a right-to-work option) is beyond me.
Shripathi Kamath May 13, 2011 at 07:14 AM
Because, prior to unions, workers were ruthlessly exploited. Public servants or not, they are workers. Performing services to earn their wages. They earned their right to collectively bargain, and that is why they have it. Here, take a look at how we used to work: http://www.archives.gov/press/press-kits/way-we-worked/way-we-worked-photos.html If you are really interested, study the stories behind those photographs and perhaps it may no longer remain beyond you. Start with the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire. Or look into the working conditions at auto manufacturers (with the exception of Ford) prior to unions.
PC May 13, 2011 at 03:24 PM
And our beloved Moonbean just signed a new contract with the prison guards union that increases the amount that we the taxpayers contribute and allow unlimited vacation payout. The unions will spend millions getting the tax increases and we will continue to be in debt until we all go boom! We are doomed!
Shripathi Kamath May 13, 2011 at 04:41 PM
http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/politics&id=8083241 cites all the details. Particularly significant: "The deal lifts the cap on saved vacation, meaning prison guards will be able to stash away an unlimited number of vacation days and get a lump sum payout when they quit or retire. Normally state workers can accrue up to 80 days of vacation for payouts." and "The new contract must still be approved by the Legislature. It also includes a 5 percent cut in pay."
Greyson Peltier May 13, 2011 at 06:04 PM
Shripathi, I feel you. I am just saying that nowadays they are getting too political and pushing the limits of their power over the people's money a bit too much. Of course I wouldn't want people to get hurt or to be treated in an unethical manner, but that's not what this is about. And BTW, FDR (likely a hero of yours) did NOT want public sector unions to exist.
Shripathi Kamath May 13, 2011 at 06:45 PM
So you say you understand why unions are allowed, but disagree that people would get hurt or be treated unethically without them, despite the historical evidence that they have suffered exactly such a plight. Fine, but please refrain from assuming who my heroes are (or are not). If you are really interested, just ask. Or look it up. You'll not find FDR. Nor will you find Glenn Beck or Michael Savage, even though they inspire other people you may be familiar with.
Julie Flores May 13, 2011 at 07:14 PM
Don't ya just hate details?
Shripathi Kamath May 13, 2011 at 07:49 PM
Yes, because I am told that the devil has his casa adobe in them. I am not taking sides with Brown or against Arnie, but I want to emphasize that no decision gets made in a vacuum. These are HARD problems, and deriding a septuagenarian with no political gains (he is not running for any other office after this) only because he is not Republican should take more consideration. Why are there so many prison guards? Because WE THE PEOPLE want more crimes to be punished, want more people behind bars, for longer periods of time. What do we need to deal with it? More prisons. More prison guards. What do prison guards endure? Watching, with eternal vigilance, cages of humans. Some there for smoking pot, some there for more "serious" drug use, and some for violent crimes -- serious and less serious. Want that job? We as a society always want to treat the symptoms, and rarely the causes. So this is what we get. WE THE PEOPLE decided that this is what we want in the state, and that is why we get it. OK, the restoration of the cap on accumulated vacation days will cost us more money. However, it is not quite that clear cut. Contracts have to be honored which would otherwise result in costly lawsuits. Plus, what would you do if a guard wants to take a vacation but cannot because of staffing problems in these economic times? Surely, you hire temps. Think they don't cost money? Are they as good? How does the 5% cut offset this concession, etc.

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