Governor Proposes Increase in Funding
Based upon preliminary estimates, Gov. Jerry Brown's recently proposed state budget would provide 11 percent more funding, or an increase of about $60 million, for the Long Beach Unified School District compared to the prior year.
The additional funding would help LBUSD and the state to progress further toward full implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula for schools, a formula that was approved by the state last year.
"Full implementation is likely to take several more years, but we're pleased to be discussing the prospect of funding increases rather than the type of severe cuts that public schools suffered as a result of the Great Recession," said LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser. "The governor's latest proposal is a significant step toward providing the resources that our students and schools need."
As always, the initial state budget is the start of a months-long process in Sacramento. The school district will continue to monitor the state budget situation closely, and ultimately LBUSD's publicly elected Board of Education will decide how best to spend any additional resources.
Budget Revisions for 2013-14
Education Code 42127(i)(4) states that "Not later than 45 days after the Governor signs the annual Budget Act, the school district shall make available for public review any revisions in revenues and expenditures that it has made to its budget to reflect the funding made available by that Budget Act."
In order to comply with this provision of Ed Code, the district is providing budget revisions for public review by posting the revisions in the Budget Documents section of its website. This document may be accessed through the link below.
Board OKs Budget for 2013-14
The Board of Education approved a budget for fiscal year 2013-14 this week. The budget includes $11 million in reductions that the school board had OK'd earlier this year. Among those reductions are transportation cuts, the closure of Monroe K-8 School, and the elimination of grades 6-8 at Burcham K-8 School.
The Long Beach Unified School District is required to file a budget with the Los Angeles County Office of Education by July 1. The newest budget does not yet include assumptions based upon the California state budget recently approved by the state Legislature because Gov. Jerry Brown has not yet signed the state budget. Once the state budget is finalized, LBUSD staff will recommend any necessary budget revisions to the school board.
Board OKs $13.3M in Budget Savings
The Board of Education has approved another $13.3 million in budget savings, including the closure of Monroe K-8 School at the end of the school year and the elimination of grades six through eight at Burcham K-8 School.
The December and January rounds of reductions also included $1 million in transportation savings, the elimination of 2013 summer school, a reduction in the number of teachers and support staff through attrition, and a reduction in the amount of Special Education expenses that encroach on the school district’s general fund, or operating budget. The school board also approved a $470,000 reduction to the AVID college readiness program.
Last November’s passage of Proposition 30 by California voters means fewer budget cuts for schools, but LBUSD still faces some reductions because of multiple years of state cuts to public education. LBUSD has a structural deficit of about $20 million, but had Prop. 30 failed, that structural deficit would have been $55 million.
A detailed list of the latest budget cuts is available here.
Prop. 30 Passed by Wider Margin in Long Beach
Long Beach voters passed Proposition 30 by a wider margin than both the state and Los Angeles County, approving temporary taxes to reduce the severity of budget cuts in schools.
“Voters have sent a clear message that California must stop the drastic cuts to our public schools,” Long Beach Unified School District Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser said.
LBUSD still must trim $20 million this year, but had Prop. 30 failed, the school district would have faced a $35 million annual reduction in funding.
In Long Beach, 60.4 percent of voters favored Prop. 30, surpassing both the 53.9 percent passage rate statewide and the 59.9 percent passage rate in Los Angeles County. The communities of Avalon and Signal Hill – which are served by LBUSD – also approved Prop. 30, though they did so by smaller margins than Long Beach. The tax measure fell just shy of a majority in Lakewood, where portions of the city are served by LBUSD.
The passage of Prop. 30 means the school district won’t face worst-case-scenario cuts such as a one-month reduction in the school year or the elimination of entire programs like high school sports and elementary music.
Prop. 30 Win Helps Long Beach Schools
While the Long Beach Unified School District still faces budget cuts, California voters’ approval of Proposition 30 yesterday greatly reduces the severity of cuts here in the state’s third largest school district.
LBUSD still must trim $20 million this year, but had Prop. 30 failed, the school district would have faced a $35 million annual reduction in funding. The school district has already cut more than $330 million and 1,000 jobs since 2008.
“Voters have sent a clear message that California must stop the drastic cuts to our public schools,” said LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser. “We deeply appreciate this vote of confidence. We know that money is tight for so many Californians, yet they continue to make education a top priority. The passage of Prop. 30 is a step toward stabilizing funding for public education, and it’s a morale booster for our employees and parents who have felt the brunt of state budget cuts for far too long.”
LBUSD’s elected Board of Education will consider where to trim the budget further in the coming weeks and months, but the passage of Prop. 30 means the school district won’t face stunning cuts such as a one-month reduction in the school year or the elimination of entire programs like high school sports and elementary music – all items the school board had put on the table before yesterday’s statewide election, Steinhauser said.
“We still face lean times. Prop. 30 doesn’t solve all of our fiscal woes, nor does it make up for the billions of dollars of cuts that public education has faced statewide in recent years, but it makes our budgeting and planning much more manageable,” Steinhauser said. “That means we can continue to provide an outstanding education for our more than 80,000 students.”
Forum TV Show on State Budget
Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser and Chief Business and Financial Officer James Novak discuss budget projections for the Long Beach Unified School District.
Comparison of November Tax Initiatives Benefitting Schools
Certificated Employee Layoff FAQs Updated
More Districts in Fiscal Trouble
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson warned last week that 2.6 million California children now attend schools in districts that are in financial jeopardy – the highest number of financially troubled districts in state history.
“This is the kind of record no one wants to set. Across California, parents, teachers and administrators are increasingly wondering how to keep their schools’ lights on, their bills paid and their doors open,” Torlakson said. “The deep cuts this budget crisis has forced – and the uncertainties about what lies ahead – are taking an unprecedented and unacceptable toll on our schools.”
Twice a year, the California Department of Education receives notices of interim certifications on the financial status of the state's 1,037 educational agencies. The certifications are classified as positive, qualified or negative.
A positive certification is assigned when an agency expects to meet its financial obligations. The Long Beach Unified School District has continued to earn such a designation through unprecedented budget cuts. However, Long Beach’s positive certification also assumes that Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed November tax initiative passes.
A qualified certification is assigned when an agency may not meet its financial obligations for the current or two subsequent fiscal years. A negative certification – the most serious of the classifications – is assigned when an agency will be unable to meet its financial obligations for the remainder of the current year or for the subsequent fiscal year.
A record-high 188 educational agencies are either in negative or qualified financial status. That’s up 61 from the First Interim Status Report for 2011-12 issued in February, and up 45 from the Second Interim Report for 2010-11 issued a year ago.
The new report shows 12 agencies received negative certifications and 176 received qualified certifications. Students in these 188 agencies represent more than 2.6 million of California’s 6.2 million students attending schools in districts with serious financial challenges, up from nearly two million students in February.
Final Layoff Notices OK'd for 245 More
The Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education has approved final layoff notices for 245 more certificated employees, mostly teachers.
After cutting more than 1,000 positions and $330 million since 2008, LBUSD faces further funding losses due to the state’s ongoing budget crisis.
The certificated job cuts include 190 special (or temporary) contract teachers, as well as teaching staff at the school district’s Child Development Centers and Head Start programs that provide pre-K and other services. The remainder of the personnel also were teachers, with the exception of nine counselors.
State Deficit Grows
Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget plan this week showed that California’s deficit has grown to $16 billion, almost double what he projected in January.
The governor's proposed budget, in a best-case scenario, would provide local schools with flat funding. That means any increase would be minimal, perhaps as little as $10 per student, which barely begins to cover cost increases. That best-case scenario also assumes that the governor's proposed November tax initiative will pass. If it doesn't, schools will see much deeper cuts amounting to hundreds of dollars per student. That would translate into a much shorter school year and other painful reductions in service.
While the governor’s budget attempts to protect public education, he emphasized that the state’s ongoing fiscal crisis cannot be solved through cuts alone. Schools need the additional new revenues that the November initiative would provide.
Cuts Affect Custodians, Head Start
The Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education approved budget items related to custodial services and Head Start at this week's regular meeting.
A reorganization of custodial services will save an estimated $74,800 for 2012-13.
The school board OK'd an additional expenditure of $225,000 to keep the Head Start program running for 2012-13, though the school district does not plan to run the program for the subsequent (2013-14) year. This item is addressed under the latest Bargaining Update at lbschools.net.
The items approved this week were part of an ongoing series of budget reductions and revisions. View this week's approved budget agenda items here.
Board OKs $11.6 Million in Budget Savings
The Board of Education approved almost $11.6 million in budget savings this week, including the elimination of nearly 70 certificated and classified jobs.
The 43.8 certificated jobs, including some counselors, assistant principals, teachers, psychologists, nurses and other positions, had already been listed for possible reduction in a resolution that the school board OK'd in February. Of the 24.9 classified jobs that were eliminated, some pertained to vacant positions, though 16 classified employees may be displaced from their jobs. Classified job cuts included positions in Business Services, Financial Services and Special Education. A full list of the reductions is available here.
This week's cuts came in addition to $9.66 million in reductions approved by the school board in February, bringing the total savings for 2012-13 to more than $21 million. About $3 million of the latest savings comes from enhanced revenue including $1 million due to increasing student attendance rates, the result of incentive programs at schools.
California has experienced dramatic declines in revenue since fall 2007. The result has been continued cuts to public education funding.
Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed state budget would result in a funding decrease of nearly $19 million for LBUSD under a rosy scenario that relies on voter approval of a tax initiative this fall. If the initiative fails, the school district would lose at least $30 million annually. School districts are compelled to plan for best and worst-case scenarios, creating the potential for still further cuts ahead.
Huge Cuts Possible in Worst-Case Scenario
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:
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.
Board Cuts $9.7M and Up to 308 Jobs
California’s ongoing budget crisis resulted in $9.66 million in additional cuts this week by the Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education. The school board also OK’d the elimination of up to 308 more jobs, mostly teaching positions.
The school district, which has cut more than 1,000 positions and $330 million since 2008, faces yet another annual funding loss of between $19 million and $30 million in state funds starting next school year. The $30 million figure reflects a worst-case scenario in which voters reject Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed school revenue initiative in November.
“If that initiative is not passed, we will see cuts that we have not seen in our lifetimes,” LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser told the school board. “It will truly be armageddon, and the public needs to know that.”
The latest cuts include $1 million in transportation services, which already have been reduced significantly in recent years. Special education transportation will not be affected.
But with the latest cuts, only about 2,000 regular education students will ride the bus next year, compared to more than 22,000 a few years ago. Affected parents have been notified.
About $6.2 million in savings will come from the maximization of class sizes. Though the contractual class size will not change (class sizes already have been increased in recent years), a reduction of about 62 teaching positions could mean more classes that combine grade levels at the K-8 level, and stringent implementation of maximum class sizes at the high school level. Another $2 million will be saved by cutting 20 English language learner specialist positions. The previously announced closure of Keller Elementary School was included in this round of reductions for a savings of $460,000.
The job cuts listed in this week’s $9.66 million in reductions are part of a larger total of up to 308 positions OK’d for possible elimination for next school year. The 308 certificated jobs include the school district’s special and temporary contract teachers, as well as most of the teaching staff at the district’s Child Development Centers and Head Start programs that provide pre-K and other services.
The CDC cuts are a result of state cuts in funding for that program. And while the local Head Start program and its employees have earned repeated state and national recognition for their exemplary work, the federally funded program is encroaching into the school district’s operating budget, which LBUSD can no longer afford, Steinhauser said.
Some of the 308 positions may be restored depending on variables such as the number of retirements and resignations here, as well as the ever-changing state budget picture. But the school board’s approval of the potential job reductions allows time to comply with requirements to notify employees by mid-March regarding potential layoffs. Final layoff notices would be sent in May.
Board Reviews Draft of Service Reduction Proposal
A budget presentation at the Board of Education's regular meeting this week included a draft of proposed reductions in particular services, in light of the state's ongoing budget crisis. View the document. This item may be considered for action at the board's next regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
Board Focuses on Budget at Special Meeting
State Aims to Cut School Funding Again
Under Gov. Jerry Brown's initial budget proposal, California voters may be asked to help close an anticipated $9.2 billion gap with a November tax measure. But the measure may not yield the $6.9 billion the governor is counting on, the state's Legislative Analyst said.
The governor plans to close the gap with cuts to schools, more revenues and funding shifts. His plan calls for greater funding flexibility for schools, which the Long Beach Unified School District has long favored.
But the Legislative Analyst said the tax initiative may only bring $4.8 billion in revenue for 2012-13, with slightly more in following years. Public schools must plan for further cuts even if the tax measure succeeds. If the tax measure fails and/or the governor's revenue projections don't hold true, the cuts will be more significant.
State's Mid-Year Cuts Could Have Been Worse
Mid-year budget cuts announced by Gov. Jerry Brown mean a loss of about $4.2 million for the Long Beach Unified School District, including $3.3 million in transportation funds.
The cuts could have been much worse. The reductions were built into the budget that Brown and lawmakers approved in June, set to kick in if revenue did not reach the optimistic level they had assumed. LBUSD could have lost as much as $24 million under the plan, but a surge in personal and corporate income tax receipts led the state to raise its cash-flow projections. Because LBUSD lost $4.2 million rather than $24 million, it can absorb this reduction by using reserves so that no major cuts are needed for the remainder of this school year.
Brown, however, warned that more cuts are around the corner, in the proposed 2012-13 budget that he will present next month. Likewise, LBUSD is likely to face additional cuts down the road if state funding for schools doesn’t improve. The school district projects that its ending balance will dip well below zero in two years. School districts are required by law to maintain a 2 percent reserve.
LBUSD Adopts 2011-12 Budget
State Budget Filled With Uncertainty
By Christopher J. Steinhauser
Superintendent of Schools
Like most people, I was pleased to hear that state revenues are finally beginning to pick up again, in part because our schools rely so heavily on state funding and have suffered millions of dollars in cuts over the past several years.
We learned about the revenue boost when Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled his “May Revise,” or the latest draft of the budget. The problem for our schools however, is that the draft state budget remains just that – a draft. We need a final budget approved by Gov. Brown and the Legislature before we can realistically plan for next school year. There’s also no guarantee that rising revenues at the state level will translate into adequate and stable funding here.
The latest budget news from the state came just as we had issued nearly 800 final layoff notices to certificated employees, mostly teachers, here in the Long Beach Unified School District. In essence, we continue to implement our worst-case budget scenario.
We appreciate Gov. Brown’s efforts to protect education, and he has made a valiant attempt to do so in his draft budget. However, his budget is predicated on several uncertainties, including whether the Legislature will fulfill his request to approve a temporary extension of some taxes until voters can decide whether the tax extensions should continue beyond his proposed stop-gap period. Even if the tax extension proposal goes to voters, approval is far from certain.
All of this leaves California school districts no better off than we were before the May revise, because we cannot plan our local budgets based upon wishful thinking.
Our hope as educators is that our lawmakers will not squander this opportunity to make substantive changes in our state budget so that public school funding is preserved and protected from these wild and disruptive boom-and-bust cycles of the economy. Meanwhile, after being forced to cut our budget for eight of the last nine years, we must remain conservative in our planning.
We’re so grateful to all of our parents, teachers, support staff, administrators and others who in recent weeks have applied pressure to our state leaders, reminding them of public education’s importance to our communities, our state and our nation. Please keep up these efforts. We need all the help that we can get.
State Budget Questions, Answers
Does the governor’s May budget revision provide more money for K-12 education than his January proposal?
Yes, it provides $3 billion more in Proposition 98 funding compared to his January proposal.
Then why is everyone saying we aren’t going to see any more money out of it at the local level?
Gov. Jerry Brown proposes using almost all of the new money ($2.88 billion of the $3 billion) to buy down K-12 and community college deferrals. In other words, he just swaps out deferred (or postponed) dollars in the January budget with real dollars in the May budget. Not only has the state been cutting K-12 education funding in recent years, but it also has been late in paying school districts what they are owed, forcing districts like Long Beach to borrow to pay bills. If approved as proposed, the governor’s budget will mean that school districts won’t need to borrow to cover deferrals, but the total local spending level is the same as proposed in January.
So the May budget revision basically proposes giving school districts the same local spending authority as was proposed in the January budget?
How much is that again?
Essentially it is flat year-over-year funding. That is, the governor proposes to fund schools at the 2010-11 spending levels. However, the governor’s May revision, unlike the January budget, does not include an additional $19 per student (Average Daily Attendance) cut below 2010-11 levels.
Source: Stuart & Associates
Layoffs OK’d For 789 Employees
As a direct result of the state’s failure to reach a budget compromise, the Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education approved final layoff notices Tuesday for 789 employees, mostly teachers.
The job cuts, which represent about 10 percent of LBUSD’s workforce, are part of an effort to cope with California’s ongoing, multi-billion-dollar cuts in funding for public schools.
The final notices for certificated employees will be distributed by the end of this week.
A list of the employees affected by the layoffs is part of the publicly posted May 10 school board agenda available here.
During the past three years, LBUSD has cut more than $200 million. During the same period, more than 30,000 California educators and 10,000 other public school employees have been laid off.
May 15 is the deadline when California school districts must provide any final layoff notices to certificated employees.
School Board, PTA Want State Election
The Board of Education has joined a growing list of business leaders, news media and education groups — including the California PTA — asking the state Legislature to let voters decide whether public school funding should be cut by as much as $760 per student.
The local school board unanimously adopted a resolution this week supporting the placement of a measure on the June ballot calling for a five-year revenue extension to protect students and schools from the funding cuts. The $760 figure from the nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst Office is the expected loss for schools statewide if legislators and voters do not take action to prevent yet another drastic cut to K-12 education.
This week’s school board resolution came one day after the state’s Education Coalition, including teachers, school support staff, parents and administrators, converged on the steps of the State Capitol to request the election.
“It’s time for the adults to step up,” said Jo Loss, president of the California State PTA. “Our nearly one million PTA members throughout California are expecting decisive action by our elected representatives. Let the voters decide!”
Supporters of a statewide election include the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, numerous editorial boards at major newspapers, and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, whose more than 300 members include Google Inc. and Stanford University.
More Cuts OK’d as Layoff Notes Go to 1,186
Budget Reduction List (pdf)
The Board of Education approved $7.8 million more in budget cuts to central operations this week and eliminated three graduation requirements while nearly 1,200 employees began receiving preliminary layoff notices. The cuts are due to multi-billion-dollar reductions to public education in the Golden State, which remains incapable of providing stable funding for its schoolchildren.
The cuts, which follow more than $50 million in budget reductions by the board last month, are part of the school district’s efforts to plan for a worst-case budget scenario that would occur if voters statewide do not approve the extension of certain taxes that are set to expire.
The reductions to central functions – which have already sustained significant cuts in recent years – will again affect a wide array of services, including school safety, research, multimedia services, the superintendent, deputy superintendent and assistant superintendent offices, Personnel Commission, curriculum and textbook services, library services, and several business office functions such as accounting, purchasing, information services, transportation, human resources, risk management and maintenance. The latest central office cuts affect 71.6 positions, including 34 maintenance jobs.
Nearly 1,200 certificated employees – mostly teachers – meanwhile began receiving preliminary layoff notices this week. The notices are being distributed after the school board OK’d the potential elimination of hundreds of positions last month. While nearly 800 positions were approved in February for possible elimination, the school district is issuing nearly 1,200 preliminary layoff notices to allow for the “bumping” process in which employees with the most seniority can bump other employees out of their positions. Such over-noticing of employees is common in school districts, which must issue preliminary layoff notices by mid-March to preserve their ability to layoff employees for the following school year.
Aside from teachers, job cuts here in California’s third largest school district also are affecting administrators, librarians, nurses, psychologists, counselors and support staff.
This week’s actions by the school board included the elimination of computer, health, and service learning (community service) graduation requirements, in keeping with recent budget reductions. The three graduation requirements are not state mandated, but they had been adopted in previous years by the local school board.
The number of credits required to attain a high school diploma will decrease from 220 to 210 beginning with the class of 2015. Health and computer literacy will still be offered as electives, and the school district is integrating service learning into other coursework.
LBUSD has cut its budget by more than $200 million since 2008.
More Details Provided on School Bus Service Reductions
As a result of the state budget crisis, the Board of Education has OK'd more than $1 million in cuts to transportation services for next school year. The Transportation Branch has provided further details on which schools will be affected.
School Board Cuts $24.4 Million and 778 Jobs
Budget Reduction List (pdf)
Budget Reduction Presentation (PowerPoint)
Layoff Tie Breaker List (pdf)
The Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education this week cut another $24.4 million and 778 jobs in response to the state’s unmitigated budget disaster.
The recent cuts come only two weeks after the school board here cut about $27 million. Together, this month’s cuts will affect almost every aspect of K-12 education here in California’s third largest school district.
The local cuts are part of the school district’s efforts to plan for a worst-case state budget scenario that would occur if voters statewide do not approve the extension of certain taxes that were set to expire.
Unfortunately, even with the latest cuts, the school district’s worst-case scenario just got even worse.
In its recent worst-case calculations, Long Beach Unified had assumed that its funding would be cut by about $634 per student if the state’s voters reject the tax extensions. Since those calculations, however, the state’s non-partisan Legislative Analyst Office has determined that schools would lose roughly $760 per student. If the tax extensions are approved, the school district would lose only about $19 per pupil.
This week’s action by the local school board includes the potential elimination of 778 positions. Most of those jobs are teaching positions, including about 429 jobs that will be lost due to increased class sizes in all grades.
For grades six to 12, average class sizes will increase by three students to 35. For grades K-3, classes will increase by between five and 10 students (depending on the school) for an average of 30 students per class. The increased class sizes, along with the closure of two elementary schools, were part of the $27 million in cuts approved earlier this month.
This week’s cuts included even more teaching positions, along with job losses for school administrators, librarians, nurses, psychologists, counselors and others. Central office reductions will include more than $1 million in transportation cuts.
Among the transportation cuts will be a reduction in elementary school busing made possible by class size increases that allow previously overflowing schools to keep more of their neighborhood students.
Bus service to Bancroft, Rogers, Stephens, Hill, Marshall, Lakewood and Millikan schools will be affected.
The cuts in busing amount to about a third of the school district’s transportation. Parents affected by the transportation cuts will be notified in the coming days.
The school board considered about $7.4 million in additional cuts to central offices but asked for more detail before they act.
With the latest cuts, LBUSD has reduced its budget by more than $200 million since 2008.
621 Layoffs Looming As Board Cuts $27 Million
Board-Approved School Boundary Proposal (PowerPoint)
Budget Cut Proposals (pdf)
The Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education approved nearly $27 million in cuts this week, including the closure of two schools and the elimination of 429 teaching positions due to increased class sizes. In all, the number of certificated positions affected by layoff notices could rise to more than 620 as the school board considers further cuts in the coming weeks.
The school board is facing well over $100 million in cuts to be made over the next two years in response to the state's ongoing fiscal crisis, which LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser describes as the worst he has seen in his more than 30 years in education. The school district already has cut more than $170 million in the past three years.
The cuts approved this week are part of preparations for a worst-case scenario at the state level, which could occur if the state Legislature and California voters do not OK the extension of certain temporary tax increases in the coming months. Even under a best-case scenario budget, the school district still must cut about $53 million over two years. So even if California voters decide to extend current taxes, the 429 eliminated teaching positions here would likely not be restored.
The school board also discussed but did not act upon roughly $45 million in additional cuts that they will reconsider Feb. 15. Those cuts, along with the ones approved this week, will affect a wide array of programs, resulting not only in larger class sizes, school closures, and hundreds of layoffs of teachers, but also job losses for central office staff, school administrators, librarians, nurses, psychologists, counselors and others. About $10 million in savings would come from reductions at the central office, which has already seen deep cuts in recent years. Instructional programs, school safety, sports, music, transportation and other services would be affected, in some cases significantly. Proposed cuts to transportation, for instance, would eliminate all home-to-school transportation except for legally required Special Education busing.
The larger class sizes approved by the school board this week mean that for grades six to 12, average class sizes would increase by three students to 35. For grades K-3, classes would increase by between five and 10 students (depending on the school) for an average of 30 students per class. The increased class sizes will save the school district about $26 million.
At the same meeting this week, the school board also considered, but did not vote upon, a preliminary certificated layoff resolution detailing the kinds of services to be reduced or eliminated for the upcoming school year. The preliminary resolution identified roughly 621 positions, or "full-time equivalents" for possible elimination. The resolution is scheduled to be considered for board action on Feb. 15.
The cuts approved this week include the closures of Burroughs and Buffum elementary schools after this school year, due to the budget crisis and declining enrollment.
As part of LBUSD's continued cost-cutting efforts, school district staff had been examining the possible closure of smaller schools to improve efficiency. Burroughs and Buffum will close because they have relatively small numbers of students. Buffum, located at 2350 Ximeno Ave. in Long Beach, has 295 students. Burroughs, located at 1260 E. 33rd St. in Signal Hill, has 291 students. In both cases, other nearby schools have the capacity to serve the displaced students.
Declining enrollment districtwide has exacerbated budget woes because schools receive most of their funding based on student attendance. The small numbers of students at Burroughs and Buffum have reduced the efficiency of those schools. LBUSD's enrollment has declined by about 14,000 students over the past decade.
In light of the decision to close the two schools, the school board also OK'd revised school attendance boundaries so that nearby schools can accommodate the displaced students.
View the revised school boundaries, along with the preliminary layoff resolution and full list of cuts considered by the school board this week.
Board Hears Budget Recommendations
Board Approves Phase III Reduction
The Board of Education at its Dec. 7 meeting approved Phase III of budget reductions for this fiscal year. Click here to view the full agenda item.
Board Examines Budget at Workshop
The Board of Education during today's workshop examined the effect of ongoing state budget cuts on the school district's finances. The presentation by district staff is available here.
Students Make Progress Despite Tough Times
Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser's back-to-school message to employees includes updates on key budget issues, including related legislation.
Board OKs $20 Million More in Savings
The Board of Education unanimously approved more than $20 million in budget savings and fund transfers this week in a continuing response to the state's multi-billion-dollar cuts to public education.
A description of the budget changes is available here.
California is a 'Race to Top' Finalist
Long Beach schools help the state to compete for federal funds.
Read the full story here.
List of 200 Spared Layoff Now Available
At its July 12 meeting, the Board of Education approved 557 layoffs for teachers, counselors and social workers to help cope with the ongoing state budget, but immediately rescinded 200 of the notices as part of an agreement with the Teachers Association of Long Beach. The agreement with TALB calls for five unpaid furlough days next year to help save 200 teaching positions.
The full list of 200 restored educators is available here.
Layoffs OK'd for 357 Teachers, Others
Final layoff notices will be postmarked by Friday as the school district copes with the ongoing state budget crisis.
Click here for the full story.
Judge Affirms LBUSD Layoff Criteria
The school district followed the rules when deciding which employees to lay off.
Click here for the full story.
Board OKs Budget for 2010-11
The Board of Education unanimously approved a budget this week for the 2010-11 fiscal year. The plan shows that about $100 million in cuts will be needed over the next two fiscal years, despite the fact that the school district has already cut roughly $170 million in three years.
The reductions are due to the state’s ongoing fiscal crisis.
A PowerPoint presentation on LBUSD’s newest budget is available here.
LBUSD's Funding Bill Clears Senate 35-0
A school funding flexibility bill initiated by the Long Beach Unified School District has cleared the state Senate by a 35-0 vote and will head to the Assembly.
LBUSD partnered with State Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) to introduce the bill, SB 1396, as a way to mitigate ongoing, multi-billion-dollar cuts in state funding for education. The school district also hopes to use the legislation to save jobs here, as hundreds of LBUSD teachers and other employees face layoffs for next school year.
SB 1396 relaxes regulations on the spending of "categorical funds," which are allocated via strict state funding formulas that earmark dollars for specific educational programs. School districts have long argued that because of the inflexibility regarding the use of these funds, public schools cannot efficiently manage their resources.
“We’re excited and grateful that so many legislators support this important bill,” said Christopher J. Steinhauser, LBUSD superintendent of schools. “If we don’t want to raise taxes or cut programs, then we must use our resources more efficiently. This bill will remove red tape, retain accountability, and ultimately boost student achievement.”
The bill had earlier garnered bipartisan support, with no opposing votes, in the Senate Appropriations Committee and Senate Education Committee.
Sen. Lowenthal describes the bill as “a starting point for an honest debate for the future of education funding,” saying that the debate is long overdue.
“I truly believe this program will demonstrate that state money for categorical programs can be managed more efficiently and responsibly at the local level while making progress in closing the achievement gap and saving teacher jobs,” Lowenthal said.
The pilot program will begin in 2011 and run through 2014. The participating school districts must demonstrate measurable student progress and annually report to state officials.
The text of the bill is available here.