It has been some time since I have updated the staff and community on the budget and related staffing issues. Let me take a moment in this Friday Note to paint the current picture. We are in the uncertain period between the March 15 submission of the second interim financial report and the release of the Governor’s May Revise 2012-13 budget. There is much budget discussion and debate ongoing in Sacramento, but no decisions.
Concurrently, San Diego Unified and other school
districts are continuing their budget development as dictated by the
California Education Code. This past Tuesday, the Board of Education had
to make another extremely difficult decision, authorizing the issuance
of layoff notices to more than 975 classified support staff. This
figure includes 385 personnel in the early childhood education program
who are directly impacted by state funding cuts to preschool programs.
The classified number, combined with the 1,656 certificated staff who
already received preliminary layoff notices, equals a staggering 2,631
of our dedicated employees affected by the state’s enduring economic
Another parallel activity was last week’s Administrative Law
Judge hearings that were held in response to the certificated layoff
notices. We are now standing by for the judge's decisions before
presenting an updated certificated layoff list to the Board. The layoff
notice numbers will likely be adjusted a bit as a result of the
judge's decision and could subsequently be altered by other dynamics
such as near-term decisions of the Governor and/or legislature. In the
meantime, the terrible reality is that the layoff process must proceed
in accordance with specified Education Code procedures that include the
dissemination of final layoff notices to hundreds of our certificated
staff in May..
At this point in the 2012-13 budget cycle, our
calculated deficit for next year remains at $122 million. With a
revenue gap of that magnitude, the proposed program and personnel
reductions highlighted in the March 15 second interim financial report
remain in effect. As the district heads into the homestretch of our
2012-13 budget adoption process, the California budget outlook for
public education continues to look grim. The state controller is
reporting that California revenues may come in more than $2 billion
below projections. This disconnect could further undermine the state’s
ability to adequately fund public education next year.
Governor’s May Revise budget proposal may come out at a later date than
is the norm. We may not know the full impact of his proposal until
after May 20. While many assume that this is the final direction for
the preparation of next year’s budget, it is probably not the final
word. I expect the budget uncertainties will spill into June as the
legislature weighs in with responses to the May Revise. We will
eventually arrive at a final state budget and an adopted district budget
but still have to prepare for another major uncertainty, the outcome of
November tax ballot measures.
Clearly, we are operating in an
ambiguous and fluid budget process, one that is, in no way, synchronized
between the state and local agencies. We all want clarity and certainty
and there is none to be had at the moment. We will do all that is
possible to keep you informed. I am firmly committed to seeking the
solutions that will best mitigate the detrimental effects on our
students, staff, and programs; resolve the budget deficit; and create a
balanced 2012-13 budget. I will work closely with all stakeholder
groups to deflect the financial blows, but we all know that there will
be some direct hits.
In closing, words are inadequate to express
my deepest appreciation to the entire staff for their steadfast support
of our students and laser-focus on academic excellence during this
unprecedented, financially turbulent time. We are a team and by working
collectively and collaboratively, we will get through this together.