"It's pretty devastating what the governor's proposing," said Beverly Heironimus, chief business officer of the Dublin Unified School District.
All area schools say they are closely watching how the budget, due over the summer, shapes up. Meanwhile, some districts are planning meetings with the public as well as school board budget meetings.
Because of a $14.5 billion shortfall, Schwarzenegger is proposing a 10 percent across-the-board cut and suspension of Proposition 98, which guarantees baseline funding. He also is looking for a $360 million cut for this school year and must declare a fiscal emergency to do so.
The Dublin district is looking at a maximum $316,000 cut for this year and $1.7 million to $2 million less funding for next year. Also, district costs, such as salaries and utilities, are expected to rise $612,000 next school year.
Heironimum said the district will have to lay off employees if the governor's plan goes through.
Layoffs also are a possibility in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, said Mike Bush, assistant superintendent of business,
The district, which has a $199 million budget for this year, is expecting a $3.5 million rise in employee and other operation costs for next year. Under the governor's proposal, it would lose $760,000 this school year. Next year, it would get $5.4 million less -- $3.4 million in general attendance money (equal to $135 per student), $767,000 for special education and $1.2 million in categorical programs.
Bush said the district doesn't have enough in reserves to cover such losses. He said the district has a spending freeze on items such as travel and conferences and is leaving some positions open. Meanwhile, his district, like others, must notify teachers by March 15 if their jobs are in danger.
Like other Tri-Valley districts, Pleasanton has not yet identified what must be cut from next year's budget, said spokeswoman Myla Grasso.
"Everything's on the table," she said. "We're looking at every program."
The Pleasanton district has a $119.5 million budget, with costs expected to rise $1.8 million next year. It is looking at $4.5 million less money for the next school year. It sees $900,000 in nonpersonnel expenses that can be cut, but the remainder, $3.6 million, would be in jobs -- the district estimates 47 positions.
Ironically, the district had been considering a parcel tax to add district services but has stopped those plans because it is now looking at cuts. A parcel tax to maintain what the district has is still an option.
The Livermore school district, which was going through deep budget cuts a few years ago and also passed a parcel tax as part of an economic recovery plan, will actually be able to weather cuts for a couple years, said Susan Kinder, executive director of fiscal services.
The district, which has a $110 million budget for this year and is expected to see employee and other operational costs rise a total of $1.2 million next year, has money saved.
"We're in a fortunate position where we have a large reserve," Kinder said. Yet the district also has a spending freeze in place, except for health and safety items, and is looking at what could be cut next year. The district is looking at $373,000 less from the state for this year. Next year, the district would get $3.6 million less from the state.
All districts said they will be looking at how the state budget moves along, including revisions expected in May after taxes come in. None said they could say how close Schwarzenegger's proposal will be to the final numbers.
"After tax collections, it could worsen," Bush said.
"I think everyone's hoping it gets better," Grasso said.