How will the local school districts slash their budgets?

Both of the local newspapers are looking at how the school districts in Orange County are going to slash their budgets, in the wake of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s announced state budget cuts. It is interesting to contrast what Santa Ana Unified (SAUSD) is doing compared to other similar sized districts.

This data comes from the O.C. Register:

Santa Ana Unified

Budget: $453 million

Cut target: $27 million

Specific programs: class-size reduction programs, more cuts to come

Teacher terminations: 570

Compare the above to Irvine:

Irvine Unified

Budget: $228 million

Cut target: $12.5 million

Specific programs: Hiring freeze and other cuts to come

Teacher terminations: 251 temporary and part-time teachers

and Saddleback Unified:

Saddleback Valley Unified

Budget: $264

Cut target: $19.3

Specific programs: Class-size reduction changes in grades 1-3 (130 teachers); high school cultural geography class (15 teachers); 15.8 school administrators; 24.7 district-level administrators and support staff; all bus routes except special education; vocal music, International Baccalaureate, field studies and language arts assistance programs; stipends for JV sports coaches; 11.7 school librarians, secretaries, psychologists and campus supervisors; special education; custodial, clerical and maintenance services; rollback of management pay raise; supplies, equipment, travel and consultants.

Teacher terminations: 168

And Capo:

Capistrano Unified

Budget: $416 million

Cut target: $27 million

Specific programs: Class-size reduction in grades K-3 (231 teachers); larger class sizes in grades 4-12 (35 teachers); more than half of bus routes (57 employees); 36 resource teachers and other instructional support staff; 39 district-level administrators and support staff; maintenance, grounds keeping, supplies, equipment and services

Teacher terminations: 373 full-time and temporary teachers

Orange and Garden Grove Unified have not yet announced what they will be doing to cut back.

The L.A. Times has this to add to the story, “The California Department of Education estimated that nearly 20,000 employees received early termination notices, with at least one district — Placentia Yorba-Linda Unified — offering a $1,000 bonus to employees who retire or resign by April 1. At least 14 Los Angeles-area school districts reported that they might not be able to avoid running a deficit over the next two years.”

While SAUSD has a much larger budget than the other programs noted here, it is also slashing the most teacher jobs. And while SAUSD mentions class-size reductions, there is no word as to how they will cut back on their overpaid, ineffective administrators. SAUSD has the highest paid school superintendent, Jane Russo, who does not even have a doctorate in education, which should be required of someone making that kind of money.

Russo’s thoughts regarding the budget reductions are online at the SAUSD website. Amongst other things she is slashing the SAUSD police budget, and firing three nurses. She is also cutting back on part time staff. But NO cutbacks on administrators! And Russo should be offering to take a pay cut herself. You can read more of Russo’s propaganda at this link. And you can submit your own ideas to cut the SAUSD budget at this link. My suggestions? No benefits for SAUSD School Board Members. Cut all administrator’s pay by ten percent. Cut Russo’s pay by 25% and tell her she can get that back when she finishes a doctorate in education degree.

About Admin

"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.