Forced to deal with the local impact of California’s financial crisis even through the Legislature still can’t agree on a state budget, the Board of Education on Tuesday night accepted a recommendation for $5.9 million in reductions in the District’s proposed budgets for 2009-10 and 2010-11.
As school districts throughout the state wait for the Legislature to act on Governor Schwarzenegger’s budget proposal, which includes another huge cut to public education, New Haven has been forced to adjust its budget to account for the loss of $4 million in the current school year, $1.7 million in 2009-10 and $2.2 million in 2010-11 - on top of a $7 million hit last year.
The Board approved sufficient reductions Tuesday to cover $1.5 million in internal borrowing necessary to balance the 2008-09 budget and an additional $4.4 million previously budgeted for 2009-10 and 2010-11. The recommendations for the reductions were made with input from staff, parents, students and other community members, through site leadership, in School Site Council meetings and through the New Haven Community Forum and the Student Senate at James Logan High School.
Superintendent Kari McVeigh and Chief Business Officer Ted Hood both noted all of the items on the list are considered critical to the District’s mission. In formulating the recommendation, however, cuts that the community indicated it least wants to see - such as class-size reduction, co-curricular activities and transportation - were delayed as long as possible, to 2010-11, to give the District as much time as possible to find alternative funding.
Reductions for 2009-10: eliminating “Staff Development Days” (three days at the start of the school year when teachers are paid if they choose to take additional training); staffing middle school and high school classes at a ratio of 30:1 instead of 29:1; reducing classified positions (pending consultation with the local leadership of the California School Employees Association); eliminating eight counseling positions; reducing reliance on outside agencies for some Special Education services; reducing administrative staffing by three more positions (Director of K-8 Leadership, Data Analyst and Administrative Assistant) and replacing a technology manager with a technician.
Reductions for 2010-11: eliminating K-3 class-size reduction; eliminating 9th grade class-size reduction; eliminating co-curricular activities and activity/athletic directors; eliminating K-8 home-to-school transportation; eliminating the District’s share of funding for Union City Police officers assigned to James Logan and Conley-Caraballo high schools; closing one elementary school; eliminating Opportunity School (an alternative program for middle school students).
Also on Tuesday night, the Board:
● Received a report from Chief Academic Officer Glynn Thompson and Director of K-8 Leadership Scott Pizani, on how data-driven instruction is helping to improve student achievement at Emanuele Elementary School. Emanuele Principal Dr. Heidi Green and fourth-grade teachers Jason Lowe, Kim Klindt, Denise Noval, Kevin Packham and Greg Wellman showed how they work together to give students a “double dose” of reading instruction, at appropriate ability levels.
● Thanked a group of local real-estate professionals and the Elks Lodge for purchasing dictionaries and delivering them to every third-grader in the District. Sunil Sethi of Show & Sell Realty organized the project for the third year in a row, assisted by Charles Grant of the Elks.
● In closed session, approved California High School Exit Examination waivers for Special Education students at Logan and Conley-Caraballo who have met the waiver criteria.
Agendas of regular Board of Education meetings and minutes of past meetings are available on the District website: www.nhusd.k12.ca.us