Click on the icon to open the related document in pdf format.
Please note many documents have several pages, please scroll down or "page down" to see all pages.
Factors that affect District Finances: Employee Contracts, Proposals and Updates
In May of 2012 the District launched a new website to maintain all of the Governing Board Meeting Agendas, Minutes, District Financial Reports, District Academic Reports and District Facilities Reports. To view such reports, please clik on the link below, which will direct you to our Agenda Online Website. Please follow the search tips below the link to help ease your search.
AGENDA ONLINE LINK
When using Agenda Online, use the feature at the top right hand corner. And simply search for key words such as:
First Interim Report
Second Interim Report
Quarterly Investment Report
If you have any questions, please contact Leticia Gomez at 650-854-2880.
News & Views Newsletter - Tues May 18, 2010 (printable copy)
|Town Hall Update
A Continuation of Our Discussions Last Week
I would like to say a huge "thank-you" to all the parents who came out to my Town Hall meetings last week. Nearly 200 people attended and we were able to delve into the causes and solutions to our current budget challenges.
If you weren't able to attend, you can access the PowerPoint presentation by clicking here and scrolling through by using the up and down arrows. There is a great deal of information concerning financial and class size trends in this presentation.
The meetings were very thought provoking and provided some new ideas that I and our board of trustees will explore. Frequently raised questions included:
- What is our exact need?
By the end of the 2011-12 school year, we need to make cuts of ongoing expenses or find new ongoing revenue that total about $2,000,000 per year. This number could be less or could be driven up by new developments.
- Why can't we use our reserves to tide us over?
Actually, we've been doing just that: In the current year we will be spending over $589,000 of reserves on operating expenses, and for next year the figure is $1,109,000. But we can't do this forever, and we must cease deficit spending by 2011-12. Meanwhile, we are looking closely at our reserve policy to see whether there is any further flexibility.
- How are we saving money next year?
- Hiring Freeze $660,000
- Improvements in Special Education 250,000
- Administrative Cutback 114,000
- Budget Shifts 160,000
- Streamline Summer School 22,000
Total Savings, 2010-11 $1,206,000
- How much do we need to save money in the following year?
- Current projections show that we will need to find another $450,000 - $750,000 in ongoing savings for 2011-12 in order to get out of deficit spending by the end of that year. Of course this number could go up or down due to changes in the state economic picture.
- How can we close the gap by the end of 2011-12?
- Develop additional revenues, either through improving state finances or by passing a local parcel tax. This is being explored by our board of trustees.
- Employees agreeing to modifications in pay structure or work year through the collective bargaining process. Negotiations are currently in progress.
- Cutting back specific programs at school sites or the district office. A process will begin in September, 2010 to identify programs that could be cut and decisions will be made in time to meet the March 15th deadline for certificated staff to be notified of possible layoffs.
- What are class sizes projected to be next year?
Average class size for K - 3rd grades will be 23
Average class size for 4th - 5th grades will be 26.3
Average class size for 6th - 8th grades will be 25.7
For more detailed information go to slides 28 - 36 of the Town Hall presentation mentioned above.
- Why are class sizes going up even though the Foundation had a successful year?
Each year the Foundation makes a very generous gift that includes money to hire extra teachers, which helps lower class sizes. This year the District paid for 8 teachers with money from the Foundation, but for the past two years the recession has caused a drastic reduction in our basic operating revenues while at the same time our enrollments have been moving upward. In light of this reality, the new gift from the Foundation will still be used to bring down class sizes, but it can't completely cover the $ 1.6 million that we've lost over the past two years. Without the anticipated gift from the Foundation for next year, class sizes next year would increase by an additional 2 -4 students per class at Las Lomitas, for example, and students would experience fewer enrichment opportunities.
- How can we help?
- If the district decides to mount a parcel tax campaign, support that effort
- Donate to the Foundation
- Understand that next year's class sizes are still quite low compared to surrounding districts, thanks to the support of our Foundation
- Remember that these adjustments are temporary and that we will do everything possible to restore traditional class sizes as funding becomes available
While this didn't come up in the Town Hall meetings, I do want to describe how we identified and prioritized budget cuts.
- We surveyed teachers and staff to identify potential areas to examine for cuts,
- We met with the PTAs and Foundation to describe the magnitude of the cuts and the potential cuts we were considering
- Staff and administration helped to prioritize proposed cuts to keep the cuts as far away from the students as possible.
- The governing board discussed the District budget and potential cuts at each monthly board meeting (these meetings are open to the public), and ultimately approved $1,206,000 in budget cuts for the coming year.
School board meetings are open to the public, and minutes and agendas are available on the District website by clicking here.
| The Latest on the State Budget
How Does the May Revision Affect LLESD?
After the Governor released his May Revision of his proposed budget for next year, I joined about 60 other superintendents of basic aid distircts in a conference call, getting the first pass analysis of the May Revise. You've seen it in the paper last weekend, so here's the short version:
1.) No, or almost no, new cuts for K-12......which will make other interest groups angry but we should remember the huge cuts that we've been budgeting since January. But still, this is good, because we can now plan on the numbers that I shared at last week's Town Hall meetings.
2.) The $300K (for us) "new" cut remains; we'd hoped that it would be rescinded, but at least it didn't go up!
3.) The big "if" of all this is that the Governor seems to be washing his hands of all this; he's thrown a budget to the legislature that has huge social services cuts, while "protecting" education. Now the legislature is going to have at it, and the longer it goes, the more likely it is that the underlying principles (i.e. "sparing" education further cuts)could be turned upside down. The Democrats aren't likely to swallow the new cuts, and the Republicans aren't likely to allow any new taxes, and in the process of finding a balanced budget, education could end up taking some more major hits.
Another thing I did late Friday was take a new look at local property tax assessments. The growth number has been hovering at about +.8% but we normally apply a 1.0 to 1.5% cushion to that to account for the final reassessments that trickle in. Now, property tax growth for our district appears to be +.2% and still declining, so our new forecast sheets will have a -.75% instead of the zero percent that we've been using. This will add about $100K to our structural deficit.
| Employee Negotiations
Classified employees include secretaries, classroom aides (paraprofessionals), custodians, bus drivers, and maintenance and grounds staff. They are represented by the California School Employees Association (CSEA) and their collective bargaining agreement with the district runs through June 30, 2011 but provides for "re-openers" for salary and benefits and two additional items for the current and next school year. So far, neither side has requested to re-open negotiations and thus no active bargaining is going on. The contract with CSEA can be found by clicking here
Certificated employees are teachers, counselors, and librarians, and they are represented by the Las Lomitas Education Association, an affiliate of the California Teachers' Association, which is an affiliate of the National Education Association. The District recently concluded negotiations with this group in January of this year for the 2008-09 school year. Key elements of this collective bargaining agreement (salary, work hours, evaluation procedures, etc.) remain in force even though the contract has expired. A copy of the current teachers' contract (or collective bargaining agreement) can be found by clicking here.
The District is currently bargaining with the LLEA on for the 2009-10 school year; these efforts could yield a one-year, two-year, or three-year contract. The process began when the district submitted its proposals last January and the LLEA responded with its proposals in April. Commonly called "sun-shining," this public exchange of ideas guarantees that all staff and members of the public will know what is being discussed at the bargaining table. For a look at these initial proposals, click here.
The district has about a dozen employees who are not represented by any union; these are mainly the school administrators and district office managers and administrators. They do not bargain for benefits or working conditions and do not have a collective bargaining agreement; rather they work under contract to the district on an individual basis at the pleasure of the board. Their salaries and benefits generally work in the same fashion as the teachers' but are not explicitly linked to them.
Monday February 8, 2010
I’m writing to give you a brief update on our district’s budget process and the probable outlook over the next few years. As you surely know, the national and state fiscal crises have put a huge strain on all school districts. Although we, as a basic aid district, have not been hit as hard as revenue limit districts, we have not escaped unscathed either. There have been several factors that have come together over a short time:
- The Lehman Brothers loss in 2008-09 which cost us about $400,000
- State “take-aways” of about $725,000 in 2009-10 and 2010-11
- A 18.35% decline in state “categorical” funding for special programs
- Steady declines in local tax revenues (our main source of income) of at least 5% over prior years
- Gradual increase in student enrollments of about 40 students per year with no additional per-student revenue
- A new proposal in the governor’s budget for 2010-11 to reduce our ongoing funding by about $270,000 per year
With an overall budget of just over $17 million, these cumulative reductions place our district under considerable strain. Because we have a history of meticulous and conservative budgeting, we have maintained reserves that have enabled to “even-out” the effects of these cuts, but for the coming years we must reduce our expenditures by about $1.2 million. I have been working with staff and our school board to identify economies that minimize any negative impact on our programs.
Because we are a growing district, we have the opportunity to eliminate some significant budgeted expenses by not hiring all the teachers that we normally would need to accommodate student growth, but taking this route would cause class sizes to move up by two to four students over the next three years. Still, this path would be less disruptive to our students than eliminating selected instructional programs at both of our schools. Because we are able to save money this way for the next school year, I am not recommending that any instructional programs or teachers be eliminated.
Of course there are other economies that we are also considering, such as eliminating staff workshops and travel, using “categorical” money for general operating expenses, delaying contributions to certain reserves, reducing administrative overhead, and reducing the instructional year by up to five days in 2011-12, to name a few examples. Some of these ideas will be reviewed and possibly adopted at our upcoming board meeting this Wednesday, but I predict that we will be in a major “reduction” mode for the remainder of this year and most likely through the 2011-12 school year as well.
I am confident that we can weather these tough times by continuing the volunteerism and generosity that define our district. I look forward to working with staff, parent groups, and the Las Lomitas Foundation to find ways to keep our district the #1 elementary school district in the state.
Thank you for your support.