May 31 2011

Mid-Year Cuts for Piedmont Schools?

Mid-year cuts or additional deferrals to the Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD) budget may be necessary if state-wide tax extensions are not passed, the PUSD administration advised the Board of Education at its May 25 meeting.   Current State funding levels will require the PUSD to address a $1 million shortfall in its 3-year budget plan.

Strategies for addressing the shortfall must be included in the PUSD budget adopted by the School Board by the end of June.  Revenue enhancements, one-time measures, and additional reductions will be considered to address the projected shortfalls, in addition to mid-year cuts and additional deferrals.  Potential revenue enhancements include a 5% increase in Piedmont’s parcel tax and/or larger contributions by the Parents Clubs and the Piedmont Education Foundation.

At the May 25th Board of Education meeting the Board of Education approved a 3-year contract with the Association of Piedmont Administrators (APSA) covering 21 management or “confidential” employees (out of 335 total).  APSA is the third of 3 employee groups to renegotiate its contract this spring.  While this agreement brings the total financial savings from the 3 recently approved employee group agreements to $3,738,000 over 3 years, the district still faces on-going reductions starting in 2011-12.

A remaining shortfall of $1 million is anticipated over the next 3 years.  A shortfall may be reduced if potential 1.5% salary reduction in the 3 newly negotiated employee contracts are triggered by State budget reductions.  This will be determined in August.  In addition, PUSD may receive more than previously projected in the form of deferred payments earlier in the fiscal year, improving its cash flow.

On May 25th, the PUSD administration continued its prior recommendation to the School Board to “stay the course” with PUSD’s existing 3-year budget plan by initiating the process to close its shortfall as part of the 2011-12 budget.

Superintendent Constance Hubbard and Assistant Superintendent Michael Brady conveyed their assessment, which is based on the Governor’s “May Revise” (newly presented budget figures for California schools), to the Board of Education on May 25 after attendance at a School Services of California workshop on May 20.

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