Just several days after the Gilroy Unified School District released budget cut recommendations for the 2012-13 school year, the Gilroy Teachers Association drafted its own recommendations based on submitted ideas for budget cuts and/or revenue enhancements. The input was gathered via survey sent to all teachers in the district.
GTA Vice president Paul Winslow summarized 34 pages of those ideas into themes, including “programs,” “salaries,” “policies,” “instructional,” “facilities,” “employees,” “Board of Education” and “miscellaneous.”
During Thursday’s School Board meeting, GTA President Michelle Nelson expressed concern that a majority of the items on GUSD’s cut list are negotiable; i.e. furlough days, across-the-board salary reductions, class size increases, reducing the work year and column freezes.
“We did send some options for you that are not negotiable; ‘thinking out of the box,'” said Nelson. “We do have a very high level of concern that you’re basing the balancing of your budget on items that are strictly negotiable.”
Some of the recommendations submitted to the GTA include the elimination of all sports programs, stipends and directors associated with extracurricular sports (and instead outsourcing with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department); adult education; independent study; Advance Path; translation services; closing down Rucker Elementary School and redistributing the student population; closing down Mount Madonna Continuation High School; putting a freeze on any bonuses for district officials; additional salary cuts to district officials making more than $100,000 a year; removing all travel and advanced degree stipends; move elementary schools to trimesters to reduce costs; eliminating any high school courses with less than 25 students enrolled; investigating a four-day school week; pushing toward a paperless district; forcing neighborhood school attendance; returning to half-day kindergarten to save electricity and facilities costs; canceling all open house and back-to-school nights; working with Wal-Mart and Target for free supplies; eliminating all assistant principals; asking the School Board to voluntarily waive all health benefits as “a sign of good faith;” reducing the number of School Board trustees; pushing for a parcel tax to fund sports and other activities (removing this cost from the general fund); leasing the Christopher High School water park for private birthday parties – and many, many more.
To view the list of budget recommendations compiled by the district, click on the first PDF document included in this article.
To view the complete list of budget recommendations submitted to, and compiled by, the Gilroy Teachers Association, click on the second PDF document included in this article.
Here’s a recap of the budget scenario GUSD is currently facing:
– The district is faced with losing $471 to $841 per student in state funding next year.
– The funding scenario hinges on Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative, which will go before voters on the November ballot in attempts to help close a $9.2 billion deficit.
– The initiative would temporarily increase the sales tax by one-half percent, and temporarily raise the personal income tax on Californians who make more than $250,000 annually.
– If the initiative passes, GUSD will “only” lose $3.2 million in state funding. Recommended budget reductions for this scenario include implementing a spending freeze and column freeze; as well as dipping into adult education funding; implementing furlough days; and completely eliminating home-to-school transportation and elementary music and P.E.
-If the initiative doesn’t, GUSD will lose $7.2 million in state funding. For this scenario, GUSD will consider – in addition to the cuts mentioned above – implementing class size increases; more furlough days; reducing the work year and across-the-board salary reductions.