Superintendent responds to state budget challenges
Over the past three years, $18 billion has been cut statewide from public schools. The current “tax extension” stalemate in Sacramento could result in billions more. The impact to date in the Rocklin Unified School District has seen a reduction to per pupil revenue of $601, which equates to a loss of $6.3 million.
In response to these drastic cuts, the Board of Trustees has been forced to make some very difficult economic decisions:
• Loss of two instructional days (180 to 178)
• Raised class size in grades kindergarten through third from 20:1 student/teacher ratio to 26:1
• Raised class sizes in ninth-grade math and Language Arts from 20:1 student/teacher ratio to 26:1
• Raised class size in grades ninth through 12th from 32:1 student/teacher ratio to 34:1
• Eliminated fourth-grade music program (violin)
• Reduced funding for secondary extracurricular programs by 20 percent
• Elimination of school nurses
• Reduced counseling and administrative positions
• Reduced ninth- through 12th-grade technical/computer support personnel
• Reduced transportation services and routes to schools
• Reduced maintenance, ground, and custodial personnel
• Reduced clerical support
• Reduced all site/department budget expenditures by 30 percent
• Reallocated 100 percent of the District’s deferred maintenance funding to the general fund
• Reallocated textbook funds of $1 million dollars to the general fund
• Received employee concessions equaling $1.5 million dollars (furlough days and/or salary reductions)
As the debate in Sacramento rages on regarding strategies to reduce a $28 billion dollar deficit, it is clear that public education is facing the likelihood of additional revenue reductions ($330 per student, $3.4 million more).
Board contingency plan
In anticipation of additional cuts, the Board has developed a contingency budget, which includes the following additional program changes:
• Raise class size in grades kindergarten through third from 26:1 student/teacher ratio to 28:1
• Raise class sizes in ninth-grade math and Language Arts from 26:1 student/teacher ratio to 35:1
• Raise class size in grades ninth through 12th from 34:1 student/teacher ratio to 35:1
• Eliminate the eighth-grade teaching structure known as the Academy Model and revert back to the traditional departmental model
• Reduce funding for secondary (seventh- through 12th-grade) extracurricular programs an additional 10 percent – (30 percent total)
• Reduce additional counseling services (30 percent total reduction)
• Reduce all site/department budget expenditures by an additional 5 percent – (35 percent total)
• Reduce ninth- through 12th-grade technical/computer support by one additional technician (50 percent total)
• Reallocate an additional $200,000 from textbook funds to the general fund
• Reallocate an additional $150,000 of state deferred maintenance funding to the general fund
• Possible loss of the School Resource Officers (TBD)
• Possible loss of additional instructional days (TBD)
• Currently seeking continuation of employee concessions (furlough days) (TBD)
Over the past two years, we have reduced our certificated staff (teachers, counselors, nurses, administration) by 59.5 employees. Our classified employees (clerical, food services, transportation, maintenance and grounds, custodial, instructional aides) have seen their numbers lowered by 24 employees. With additional budget reductions on the horizon, these numbers could increase by as much as 50 more employees.
What can you do to help?
What can our community do to help ensure that we do not have to reduce our budget by an additional $3.4 million?
• Work to ensure that the Legislature does not reduce funding to education any further
• Work to ensure that all community members thoroughly understand the negative implications for our children’s education that have already occurred
• Work to ensure that every parent with a child in the Rocklin Unified School District participates in the democratic process that we hope will occur in the near future
Meanwhile, we will continue to put our students first and make every effort to maintain their high levels of academic and personal success; just as our community has come to expect from our outstanding district. By working together, we will do our best to ensure that the needs of our children our met.
Kevin Brown is Superintendent of Rocklin Unified School District.