Sep 22 2010

School Budget Shortfall – Possible Remedies

On Thursday, September 16, 2010,  the Piedmont Unified School District Board of Education held a special public meeting on the District’s operating budget to inform the community of the shortfall of up to $5 million the District may face through July 2013, if it fails to make changes to programs and cost reductions.   Options include . . . 

Options presented:

  1. Rolling back the salary schedule, e.g. 5% – saving $2 million over two years.
  2. Increasing class size and reducing support services – saving $1.5 million over two years.
  3. Freezing health benefit costs at 2010-11 levels –  saving $1.25 million over two years.
  4. Raising the basic (Measure B) parcel tax assessment by 5% (to $2122-$3,862 per homeowner) – raising revenues $1.2 million over two years.
  5. Continuing furlough day program – saving $900,000 over two years.
  6. Freezing step and column pay increases as of 2010/2011 – saving $900,000 in salaries over two years

Additional options:  Still more possibilities were noted which result in more modest savings or have not yet been quantified.  Also, options for savings may be developed further.  For instance, a salary schedule roll back could include roll back of step, column and benefit increases occurring after the June 2009 Emergency Parcel Tax passage, eliminating a large portion of the District’s shortfall.  (A salary freeze was effected at the time the Emergency Parcel Tax passed, but step and column increases, as well as benefit increases, continued.)  The District was clear that one-time cuts such as those used in 2010/2011 are not viable options.  Failure to reduce on-going expenses and establish cost caps may result in eliminating 10% of District employees and significant program reductions.

The School Board is requesting input from the public on how best to resolve its shortfall over the next two years.  Email the Board or comment in person at the next School Board meeting on September 29th, 2010  at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers, City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue, Piedmont.

Piedmont Neighborhood News has posted an article summarizing the discussion.   Also available: KCOM video and MP3 Audio, the Agenda and Report by School Superintendent Hubbard (see options at page 21), a report from the Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) presenting information on reducing health care costs, comparative information and other material, and a power point presentation from the CAC showing historical budget trends and information on nearby districts.

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