Below is a letter from our Superintendent that summaries the current position our school district is in. You can help right now by donating to Scotts Valley Educational Foundation (SVEF) through PayPal by clicking on the Donate button on any page of this website, or entering a recurring payment on our Help Us page.
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Dear Parents and Families of Scotts Valley Students,
I am sure it has escaped no one’s attention that this is by far the worst budget year in California for many, many years. As the state continues to flounder through this terrible recession, all public agencies are being severely affected. Our school district is no exception.
Here is the picture in summary. Over the past few years, because of budget cuts and declining enrollment, our district has moved from an annual budget of about $19 million to a projected budget for 2010-11 of approximately $16.4 million. We have cut positions, personnel and programs. Class sizes continue to increase. We expect at least two more years, possibly three, of continued budget shortfalls before the state economy recovers and our funding begins to catch back up to former levels. Experts predict that it will be as late as 2013 or 2014 before we will return to the funding levels we had in 2007, while costs will continue to rise.
We are currently developing the budget for 2010-11, which must be passed no later than June 30 and which must be fiscally solvent three years out. To account for funding cuts in 2010-11 and beyond, we will be increasing class sizes K-3 from 25 to 29 students. Although teaching positions will be lost, several elementary teachers will be retiring, leaving only a .5 teacher without a secure position at this time. At the high school, we have delivered potential layoff notices to parts of 8 teachers, ranging from 20% to 60% of their teaching schedules, for a total of up to 3.2 teaching positions. These and other lesser cuts combined with tapping into district carryovers will be sufficient to get us through the 2010-11 school year.
It is the following year, 2011-12, that we will need to make drastic cuts or we will fall off the fiscal cliff to the tune of $1.9 million the following year. To avoid cutting $1.9 million, it makes sense to cut half that amount in 2011; that $950,000 cut would continue into 2012 for a savings of $1.9 million over two years.
We are grateful for the many parents have come forward wanting to help.I have been working with staff to determine our options; the district has a major problem requiring thoughtful and well planned attempts at resolution. In our discussions, we have involved our Site Leaders Collaborative, a group composed of the leaders of our four parent clubs, four site councils, and our Educational Foundation; they have been instrumental in shaping our planning efforts.
This is our current thinking on what would be most effective:
The remainder of this year: Continue with the usual fundraisers for the 2010-11 school year. At the sites, these funds usually support such things as athletics at the middle and high schools, art and music programs at the elementary schools, various classroom support personnel, help with supplies and professional development, and donations to teachers’ and principals’ discretionary accounts. It will be important and helpful to continue to fill these needs at the sites in the usual ways the parent groups have in the past.
To help lessen the effects of the $1.9 potential shortfall the third year out:
Join with the Scotts Valley Educational Foundation to begin filling a “piggy bank” to help defray the drastic cuts that will need to come in 2011-12. The Ed Foundation has offered to be the repository of any additional fundraisers, donations, “Dollar a Day” efforts and the like. This money will be used in 2011-12 and 2012-13 to prevent cuts beyond what we can currently imagine. This is not an easy concept for some people to accept. The natural tendency would be to earn money to be used immediately; in normal times, that would work. However, the greater need is to begin storing up a reserve to lessen the cuts that will need to be made in future years.
The board is investigating whether the community would support a parcel tax. Currently, passage of a parcel tax requires a 2/3 vote of the electorate. We understand that an Initiative heading for the November 2010 ballot, if passed, would allow a parcel tax to be passed by a 55% vote. A parcel tax measure, taken to the voters in Spring 2011, would provide funds for the 2011-12 school year and for a few years into the future. This, too, would lessen or possibly eliminate the cuts that would otherwise need to be made.
We wish to thank all of you who have stepped forward with ideas for solving the problem. We will need support in several ways including “people power” and funds over a sustained period of time. So that parents and community members do not get “tapped out” by a variety of donation requests, we are looking toward one united district/ community effort to make the biggest difference for our students.
Our school board members have been out in the community, talking with people in coffee shops and their homes. If you would like board members to speak with you and your friends and neighbors, please contact board president Michael Shulman at [email protected] to arrange a time and place. The board will also be discussing the budget, community involvement, and the convening of a committee to work on a possible parcel tax. We are gathering information and the community’s best thinking to provide a district-wide solution to a serious problem for our schools.
Thank you for taking the time to read this long letter. It is a very complex issue. We all appreciate your engagement and support of our efforts on behalf of our students.
Susan Silver, Ed.D.