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  • Tuesday, March 10, 2009


    OUSD Staff Reccomended Budget Cuts: Close Silverado, Cut all wages by 3.75%, Increase Class Size

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    a news service of Orange Net News /O/N/N/
    Independent insight into OUSD

    OUSD Staff budget cut recommendations for March 12 meeting include…
    Close Silverado, Cut all wages by 3.75%,
    Increase class size

    A delayed Orange Unified School District March 12, 2009 Agenda (released on Tuesday March 10th) has the OUSD Staff recommendations for multi-year reductions of $33.4 million dollars in budget cuts. Three levels of cuts were identified in Action Item 12 C (page 5-7) of the March 12 Agenda.

    Level 1 Administrative Funding Adjustment cuts include $1.3 million in first year discretionary cuts that have been approved by Superintendent Dr. Renae Drier and are currently being implemented. This includes reducing staffing to “Contractual/Legal” requirements and eliminating the Canyon H.S. attendance area double busing schedule.

    Level 2 cuts require Board of Education approval at the March 12 meeting. Those recommended cuts for the coming years include: elimination of middle school after school athletics; a $30 athletic fee to high school sports students; closing Silverado Elementary School; Reduction to District Administrative Staff in 5 areas (savings of over $1.8 million); reduction in school site staffing; capture of Tier III funds (see story below); increase in Class Size Reduction to 25:1 ratio. The Board has already approved the Modified Traditional Calendar for the whole district (see below).

    Level 3 cuts are all negotiable with employee associations and represent the potential savings of $7.6 million. The cuts include reducing the number of work days because of the calendar change; eliminating teacher clerks at the middle schools; eliminating 1 counselor at the high schools; reducing the yearly work day by 1 day; and a reduction of all salaries by 3.75%. Any negotiations that result in less than the $7.6 million dollars in projected savings will require further cuts elsewhere in the budget.

    Aside from the predictable initial reaction from the vocal Silverado Elementary School community, the failure to include closing the other three small schools while increasing class size and asking for an almost 4% pay cut was greeted with shock and indignation across OUSD on Tuesday afternoon and into the early evening in email communications flying acorss the Greater Orange Communities. In addition, the lack of information about the Tier III Categorical programs (i.e. Elementary Music and Gifted programs) caused concern across the district as many more programs remain on hold pending results of negotiations with the employee associations reportedly scheduled to start this spring.

    Other March 12 Meeting Action Items

    Action Agenda Item 12 A (page 2) Resolution 33-08-09 Expands the District’s ability to borrow between all OUSD fund accounts for short-term cash flow issues to meet “current payment obligations”.

    Action Agenda Item 12 B is a public hearing to “capture” (transfer) 21 categorical Tier III funds to the OUSD General Fund. The just passed California State Budget allows this transfer, after holding a public meeting, for the next five years (see Budget Update story below).

    Action Agenda Item 12 D is the legally required Second Interim Financial Report and Transfer Resolution. Using the budgeting recommendations of the OUSD Staff in the March 12th Agenda, the OUSD Board will certify that OUSD has a “positive financial status”. The report will show $7,413,669 dollars this year as a required 3% reserve “Designated for Economic Uncertainties” and another $7,841,142 dollars above that 3% as “Unappropriated” funds.

    OUSD Board approves Layoff Resolution at 2/26/08 Meeting
    “We need to put in place all options”- OUSD Trustee Kim Nichols 2/27/09

    Forced to take action to assure a balanced budget before pending March 2009 legal requirements, Orange Unified School District leaders faced a standing- room-only crowd at the regular February 26th , 2009 OUSD School Board Meeting as they voted to leave all options on the table in balancing the school district budget in the face of a continued state budget deficit. The OUSD School Board Meeting Action Agenda included Item 12 C Resolution 31-08-09: Layoff of Certificated Employees Due to a Reduction or Discontinuance of Particular Kinds of Programs. The Resolution breaks down the newest layoffs by Elementary, Secondary and Administration positions. The 30 teachers being given notice include: the six elementary Itinerant Elementary Music teachers. It was giving notice to those six music teachers that brought out community members in support of the Elementary Music Program. With 20 community members requesting to speak, the OUSD Board suspended the 20 minute per topic rule and allowed all speakers to be heard. The speakers were almost evenly divided between adults and current OUSD students, all speaking in support of keeping the Elementary Music Program. After hearing the speakers, the OUSD Trustees and staff assured the community that no decision had been made on the Elementary Music Program explaining that the Resolution being voted on was a first step in a process that was legally required at this time to allow the school district to keep all options on the table in ultimately dealing with the budget deficit in the months ahead. With the vote coming less than a week after a state budget was finally passed in Sacramento on February 20th, 2009, the full ramifications of that budget and the local impact of the Federal “stimulus” package was not at the time completely understood. A reluctant back-to-the-wall OUSD Board voted 5-1-1 (Yes- Ledesma, Moffat, Nichols, Ortega; No- Deligianni; Abstain- Wayland) to approve the layoff Resolution, again after assuring the community that that vote was not the end, but the beginning of a process that may or may not ultimately lead to ending the elementary music program.

    In a separate vote, the OUSD Board voted 7-0 to approve the new 2009-2010 Modified Traditional school calendar placing all schools on a single school calendar. The move to a single calendar is expected to save the district a minimum of $500,000 a year. The OUSD Board also voted to approve the revised Legislative Coalition 2009 Platform without debate.

    BUDGET UPDATE at the February 27th Meeting

    In an Informational Item, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services Michael Christiansen presented the latest budget information and interpretations based on the just approved California state budget. The final approved budget gives less flexibility to local districts than Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget that earlier OUSD budget assumptions were based on. The new state approved budget revision cuts $7.4 billion from education in the 2008-2009 budget and another $3.2 billion in the 2009-2010 budget.

    Most attention in education budget discussions across the state have been focused on the three tier system incorporated into the new budget to address flexibility and non-flexibility of funds for local school districts. Funding of Tier I programs offer no flexibility to school district budgeting. Tier I programs include voter approved initiative programs and legally mandated spending (i.e. Special Education). Tier II programs also have no spending flexibility for school districts and include a 15% cut to those programs which amount to almost $100,000 in additional cuts to OUSD. The major 8 categorical programs of the Tier III programs give school districts total flexibility to use those monies as districts want after going through a public process to move those monies to the General Fund. Christiansen reminded the community that by placing those Tier III categorical monies into the General Fund did not automatically kill any of those categorical programs, but allowed more flexibility in addressing the budget shortfall by allowing local budget priorities with those funds. Agenda Item 12 B of the March 12, 2009 OUSD Board Meeting Agenda (page 4 and pages 8-47) has scheduled a Public Hearing on the Tier III Funds, which after Board approval, will allow the transfer of those categorical funds to the OUSD General Fund.

    The 15% state budget cut in the Tier III programs represented a $2.1 million dollar cut to OUSD for those categorical programs. The flexible funding of the Tier III programs would add a total of $8.9 million to the OUSD General Fund by moving those monies. This state flexibility formula for the budget given to the school districts prompted OUSD Trustee Kathy Moffat to quip: “We get flexibility when there is no money, and we don’t get flexibility when there is money.”

    Another element in the new state budget is a new formula for a reduction in the penalties for increasing class sizes in the K-3 Class Size Reduction Program. The budget numbers for the new penalties were still being crunched by educational organizational entities across the state to determine the cost-benefit realities of the various class size scenarios under the new budget rules.

    Small school supporters again spoke in favor of saving their schools.

    INSIDE the OUSD Budget

    Total $378,000

    2009 Attorney Fee Tally:
    11/13/08 Parker & Covert (for 1/09 -6/09) $200,000
    3/12/09 Atkinson, Andelson, Loya (Sp. Ed) $ 50,000
    Parker & Covert (Special Ed) $ 98,000
    Total $348,000

    2009 Consultant/ Speaker Fee Tally:
    01/24/09 Leadership Associates Consultants $ 3,000

    2009 TOTAL $ 378,000

    Former Superintendent Godley’s Retirement Bonus running total(beginning 8/2008): $9689.00*

    * The Godley Retirement Bonus presented here is an estimate of the amount in “bonus retirement” accrued since the Superintendent’s retirement on 6/30/08 using a 6% lifetime formula calculated here at $1210 a month since 8/08. The actual retirement plan the former OUSD Superintendent opted to take is not public information and the figures presented are only as an estimate of the taxpayer costs after the OUSD trustees voted against an amendment to exclude Godley from the retirement program. The on-going estimated figure is presented as a reminder to the community of the high cost in educational tax dollars the OUSD Board vote to allow the former Superintendent to participate in the 6% retirement incentive cost the OUSD education community in tax dollars. Godley retired from OUSD on June 30, 2008 after he worked for the school district for a little over five years.

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2008: $901,200
    2008 Attorney Fee Tally:
    6/19/08 Parker & Covert $ 60,000
    6/05/08 Miller, Brown & Dannis $ 40,000
    6/05/08 Parker & Covert $150,000
    6/05/08 Parker & Covert $200,000
    2/07/08 Parker & Covert $100,000
    11/15/07 Parker & Covert (for 1/08 to 6/08) $200,000
    Total $750,000

    2008 Consultant/ Speaker Fee Tally:
    11/13/08 Subs for SDCDE (Reading First) $24,000
    11/13/08 SDCDE (Reading First) $30,000
    10/30/08 Dr. Willard Daggett (ICLE) $ 4,500
    10/16/08 Dr. Parker 40 pt Consultant $ 4,200
    9/25/08 Visual Ink for Sadler Consultant <$ 6,600> CANCELED in 2009
    9/25/08 Bob Sadler Consultant Fee $ 8,500
    9/25/08 Candace Simpson-Sadler Helper $ 5,500
    7/24/08 Dr. Parker 40 pt Consultant $ 10,000
    4/17/08 Dr. Kenneth Stichter Speaker Fee $ 6,500
    3/7/08 Dr. Kathleen Weigel Speaker Fee $ 8,000
    Consultant Total $ 101, 200
    2008 TOTAL $ 901,200

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2007: $704,090.00**

    2007 Administrative Conference/Travel: hidden since 6/8/06**

    **JUNE 8th, 2006 Trustees VOTE to Give OUSD Superintendent the power to APPROVE Travel Requests taking this item OUT of the PUBLIC AGENDA

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2006: $849,717.00*

    2006 Consultant Fee Tally: Total $176,400
    2006 Attorney Fee Tally: Total Approved $655,000
    2006 Administrative Conference/Travel: Total $ 18,317 *

    * JUNE 8th, 2006 Trustees VOTE to Give OUSD Superintendent the power to
    APPROVE OUSD Travel Requests taking this item OUT of the PUBLIC AGENDA

    Total for Watched Tax Dollars approved in 2005: $978,300.00:
    Total 2005 Conference Administrator/Board Fees: $ 7,500.00
    2005 Attorney Fee Tally: $730,600.00
    Total Watched 2005 OUSD Consultant spending: $ 270,200.00

    Next OUSD Board Meeting March 12, 2009 -OUSD BOARD ROOM

    FOR the Agenda CLICK ON: MARCH 12 AGENDA

    CLOSED SESSION- 5:30 pm
    OUSD Regular Session: 7:00 pm

    For more information call the OUSD Superintendent’s office at 714-628-4040
    For budgeting questions call Business Services at 714-628-4015

    ORANGE Unified Schools INSIDE
    Independent insight into OUSD
    is an independent news service of /O/N/N/

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