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Board Considers Dire Fiscal Plan

A one-month reduction in the school year and the elimination of entire programs such as high school sports and elementary music may be on the horizon if California’s voters don’t approve Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed November tax initiative, according to a fiscal stabilization plan OK’d by the Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education this week.

That’s the worst-case scenario, involving $29 million in cuts for 2012-13.

The best-case scenario, based upon the governor’s tax initiative passing, involves $15 million to $20 million in cuts for 2012-13, including the approximately $9.7 million the school board cut last month.  Savings under this scenario may come from a variety of areas including the closure of small schools, employee health benefit changes, and staff calendar changes such as 12-month to 10-month.

Those cuts pale in comparison to the longer list of possible cuts under the worst-case scenario in which the tax initiative fails.  The plan approved by the board this week states that should this occur, the following ideas may be considered:

  • Reduce school year from 180 days to 160
  • Close multiple small schools Assign principals to two schools
  • Reduce or eliminate counselors
  • Eliminate AVID college readiness program
  • Eliminate all adult education offerings
  • Increase class sizes
  • Reduce number of Advanced Placement classes in high schools
  • Reduce or eliminate work-based learning programs
  • Seek savings in employee health and welfare benefits
  • Freeze certificated and classified hiring
  • Change staff calendars, such as from 12-month to 10-month
  • Eliminate all non-mandated transportation
  • Eliminate programs encroaching on general fund
  • Eliminate elementary music and visual arts
  • Eliminate all non-mandated testing
  • Eliminate middle school sports
  • Reduce or eliminate high school sports
  • Eliminate teacher-librarians

The fiscal stabilization plan approved this week is required by the Los Angeles County Office of Education.  A more refined plan will be submitted with the district’s 2012-13 adopted budget.