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With a June Tax Extension Measure Looking Less Likely, Schools Will Scramble to Balance Budgets

Capo prepares two budgets but focuses on the worst-case scenario.

With Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed June ballot measure to extend taxes looking less and less likely, the will have to plan next school year’s budget on its worst-case scenario, which means plugging a $24.8-million hole.

“We’ve always been focused on the worst-case scenario,” said district spokesman Marcus Walton.

Gov. Brown held a press conference Thursday, saying that budget cuts the Legislature approved last month and that he signed today only get him halfway to his goal of bridging a $26-billion budget gap.

His original plan was to put a measure on a June 7 special-election ballot that would extend temporary tax increases on sales, motor and income taxes. His goal was to have Legislature approval by March 10, but Republicans are balking at the idea.

“At some point, we will miss a June possibility. I think that would be tragic,” Brown said today.

He’s now weighing several strategies, including a November initiative that would bypass the need for Republican support by gathering enough signatures from citizens to place the issue on the regular November ballot. School officials, however, must approve their budget by June 30.

Even if some last-minute maneuvering results in a June special election, Brown acknowledged Thursday, the tax extensions may not pass. Indeed, new polling suggests that it would not. 

An alternative tack—one Brown is still keeping on the table—is to place the measure on a June ballot with only a simple majority of the state Legislature. But Republicans have vowed to file a lawsuit to stop such an attempt.

Teachers union Capistrano Unified Education Association and local PTA groups have been urging teachers and parents to contact their local state representatives to put pressure on them to put the tax extensions on a June ballot.

Given the uncertainty of the extending the temporary taxes, Capo Unified has been preparing two budgets: one based on the extensions passing and one based on them expiring.  The worst-case scenario budget predicts a $24.8-million shortfall, which includes federal jobs money the district has yet to spend.

In anticipation of needed cuts, the board of trustees has already:

  • Told 334 teachers working on a year-to-year, temporary basis that .
  • Notified the teachers union that the district .
  • Notified other employee groups that their hours and wages may be reduced.

The district has already cut more than $90 million in the past few years. Beyond next year’s budget crisis, the district to restore its rainy-day reserve fund.

On top of that, without an extension of tax increases or new tax increases, the school district is looking at a $43.9-million shortfall for the 2012-13 year and $53.8 million for the 2013-14 year, according to a chart the district prepared.

Next door, at the to deal with their $9-million budget shortfall. 

Brown said today that if the voters choose to balance the budget with spending cuts alone, they "will leave a lot of tears in their wake."

Shripathi Kamath May 13, 2011 at 04:41 PM
http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/politics&id=8083241 cites all the details. Particularly significant: "The deal lifts the cap on saved vacation, meaning prison guards will be able to stash away an unlimited number of vacation days and get a lump sum payout when they quit or retire. Normally state workers can accrue up to 80 days of vacation for payouts." and "The new contract must still be approved by the Legislature. It also includes a 5 percent cut in pay."
Greyson Peltier May 13, 2011 at 06:04 PM
Shripathi, I feel you. I am just saying that nowadays they are getting too political and pushing the limits of their power over the people's money a bit too much. Of course I wouldn't want people to get hurt or to be treated in an unethical manner, but that's not what this is about. And BTW, FDR (likely a hero of yours) did NOT want public sector unions to exist.
Shripathi Kamath May 13, 2011 at 06:45 PM
So you say you understand why unions are allowed, but disagree that people would get hurt or be treated unethically without them, despite the historical evidence that they have suffered exactly such a plight. Fine, but please refrain from assuming who my heroes are (or are not). If you are really interested, just ask. Or look it up. You'll not find FDR. Nor will you find Glenn Beck or Michael Savage, even though they inspire other people you may be familiar with.
Julie Flores May 13, 2011 at 07:14 PM
Don't ya just hate details?
Shripathi Kamath May 13, 2011 at 07:49 PM
Yes, because I am told that the devil has his casa adobe in them. I am not taking sides with Brown or against Arnie, but I want to emphasize that no decision gets made in a vacuum. These are HARD problems, and deriding a septuagenarian with no political gains (he is not running for any other office after this) only because he is not Republican should take more consideration. Why are there so many prison guards? Because WE THE PEOPLE want more crimes to be punished, want more people behind bars, for longer periods of time. What do we need to deal with it? More prisons. More prison guards. What do prison guards endure? Watching, with eternal vigilance, cages of humans. Some there for smoking pot, some there for more "serious" drug use, and some for violent crimes -- serious and less serious. Want that job? We as a society always want to treat the symptoms, and rarely the causes. So this is what we get. WE THE PEOPLE decided that this is what we want in the state, and that is why we get it. OK, the restoration of the cap on accumulated vacation days will cost us more money. However, it is not quite that clear cut. Contracts have to be honored which would otherwise result in costly lawsuits. Plus, what would you do if a guard wants to take a vacation but cannot because of staffing problems in these economic times? Surely, you hire temps. Think they don't cost money? Are they as good? How does the 5% cut offset this concession, etc.

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