GUSD is one of 188 California schools in ‘financial jeopardy’

Dollars and sense

The Gilroy Unified School District is among a record-high number of California schools that might not meet its financial obligations in the next three years, according to a press release sent out yesterday by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

California’s Second Interim Status Report for 2011-12 shows a record-high 188 local educational agencies that are in a “negative” or “qualified” financial status.

A “negative” financial status means a local educational agency will not meet its financial obligations for fiscal year 2011–12 or 2012–13, according to the California Department of Education. There are 12 schools and school districts in this category.

GUSD is one of 176 California schools and school districts corralled into the “qualified” category. This type of financial status is assigned to a local educational agency that might not meet its financial obligations for fiscal year 2011–12, 2012–13 or 2013–14.

“This is the kind of record no one wants to set. Across California, parents, teachers, and administrators are increasingly wondering how to keep their schools’ lights on, their bills paid, and their doors open,” Torlakson said in a prepared statement. “The deep cuts this budget crisis has forced—and the uncertainties about what lies ahead—are taking an unprecedented and unacceptable toll on our schools.”

GUSD is one of four local educational agencies in Santa Clara County that have been assigned a “qualified” financial status. The other Santa Clara County schools are Alum Rock Union, Berryessa and Evergreen elementary schools.

Students in the 188 local educational agencies – which Torlakson asserts are in “financial jeopardy” – represent more than 2.6 million of California’s 6.2 million students attending schools in districts with serious financial challenges. This is up from nearly two million students in February, according to Torlakson.

Budget breakdown: GUSD Could lose between $2.9 to $6.9 million 

• GUSD is faced with losing $2.9 million or $6.9 million in state funding in the 2012-2013 school year. This is contingent on whether voters pass Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative in November 2012.

• Brown’s tax initiative would generate estimated $8.5 billion through the budget year. It will temporarily increase the personal income tax on the state’s wealthiest taxpayers by up to 3 percent for seven years, and increase the sales tax by 0.25 percent for four years.

• If passed, Brown’s proposed state budget will increase funding for K-12 education by 16 percent.

• If it fails, this will trigger a $5.5 billion reduction in state funding for K-14 schools in 2012-2013. GUSD will lose $6.9 million. This equates to about 8 percent of the district’s $85 million budget according to Allan Garde, director of Fiscal Services for GUSD.

• GUSD proposed during negotiations with the Gilroy Teacher’s Association Monday that certificated staff take 10 unpaid furlough days in 2012-2013. This equates to a 5 percent pay cut. Teachers already took a 4 percent pay cut this year.

Click here to read more about GUSD’s efforts to explore a joint city-school sales tax.

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