The Board of Education at its regular meeting this month approved additional budget reductions, resulting in an estimated $115,000 in ongoing savings and nearly $463,000 in one-time savings. The savings are made possible by recent contract changes for certain classified employees. For the full agenda item, see the Dec. 8 heading under Budget Update.
At the same meeting, Long Beach Unified School District staff warned the school board that additional cuts here ranging from roughly $53 million (best case scenario) to as much as $100 million or more (worst case scenario) will be needed over the next two years due to the state’s worsening and highly volatile budget. The school board also OK’d a fiscal stabilization plan, required by Los Angeles County, listing potential methods of achieving further budget savings, including:
• Closing small schools;
• A continued freeze of certificated and classified hiring;
• Changing work calendars for staff, such as from 12-month to 10-month;
• Seeking efficiencies in health benefit programs;
• Seeking grant funding and additional expenditure flexibility through the state and federal governments.
The continuing cuts here are necessitated by the state’s ongoing, multi-billion-dollar reductions in funding for public schools. A $28 billion state budget gap is forecast for the next 18 months. Roughly 40 percent of the state budget is earmarked for K-12 education.