Turmoil at the Tustin Unified School District

The budget woes facing public school districts such as Capistrano Unified and Santa Ana Unified are pretty well known thanks to media coverage. But, other school districts in Orange County are grappling with the same kind of financial issues – State revenues for schools will not support the current level of operation. The Tustin Unified School District is one of them.

Besides being embroiled in reciprocal lawsuits with the City of Tustin over whether the school district construction projects are subject to City permit and inspection control, the school district is attempting to negotiate multiple year agreements with its two labor unions that will reduce payroll costs. Superintendent Richard Bray has just issued a memo to all personnel outlining his perspective of what is going on and the potential consequences.

According to Bray’s memo, the district is seeking union agreement for 8 furlough days a school year for the next 3 years. He says this would save about $4 million a year and would save a significant number of jobs that otherwise will have to be made vacant through layoffs. And he says that if an agreement is not reached soon layoff notices will have to be issued.

The memo says that the administration would be subject to the 8 furlough day plan as well as teachers and other employees. It sounds like no employee would escape this cut back.

As is often the case these days with pay cuts and furloughs the concept is that if everyone will take their share of cost reduction impacts then jobs can be saved, but if not then layoffs will proceed.

In the current environment it is not difficult to understand that since payroll is the major cost in the education budget that when state revenues do not keep pace with costs it is payroll that has to take a hit. The question seems to not be if, but how. Maybe if Tustin Unified and its unions roll up their sleeves they can craft the best possible solution. If not, it’s going to be a mess.

About Over But Not Out

A retired Orange County employee, and moderate Republican. The editor seriously does not know OBNO's identity as did not the former editor, but his point of view is obviously interesting and valued.