CONCORD -- Now that the Mt. Diablo school board has made its school closure decisions, trustees plan to turn their attention to more budget cuts Tuesday.

Superintendent Steven Lawrence said the County Office of Education is asking the district to develop its 2011-12 budget assuming Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed tax extensions fail, which would mean a loss of approximately $350 per student.

In addition, the county wants the district to set aside $300 per student in a special reserve fund or have a plan to reduce its $280.6 million budget for next year by an extra $300 per pupil, Lawrence said.

"These two reductions equal approximately $21.3 million," he said.

The district is already struggling to slash $11.6 million from its three-year budget by 2013 to prevent a state takeover. The new budget projections will force the district to look at deeper cuts sooner.

"The discussion Tuesday night will be around how we meet the county's expectations for our second interim budget," Lawrence said. "We will revisit items that have been on past reduction lists that the board has not approved and generate potential new ideas."

The board had hoped to save about $9.8 million a year through furlough days and other concessions to be negotiated with union employees. But three bargaining units are at an impasse, awaiting fact-finding by the Personnel Employee Relations Board, said Deborah Cooksey, the district's lead negotiator.

Only the teachers union is still in talks, which aren't going well, said Mike Langley, president of the Mt. Diablo Education Association.

"We're not really comfortable with the counter proposals we're getting," he said Friday. "I'm a little perturbed."

Representatives from other unions also expressed frustrations about stalled talks at last week's school board meeting, saying they haven't received raises in a decade. Dawn Winder, from the Local 1 maintenance and operations unit, accused the district of unfair bargaining.

"Together, we stand strong in solidarity, strength and unity," she said. "We will no longer tolerate the disrespect and unwillingness of the district to work toward a fair and equitable contract."

Judy Armstrong, who represents clerical workers, said members of her union have seen their work hours reduced, while their workload increased. "How do you explain salary increases for top administrators?" Armstrong said. "I know at least 10 retirees that have been brought back on private contracts. Where did you get the money?"

Trustees on Tuesday will also review a proposal to grant an easement to the city of Clayton at Diablo View Middle School to provide access to an expanded parking lot planned by the city in an adjacent community park.

In addition, the board will review some staffing changes questioned by Trustee Cheryl Hansen at the last board meeting, which are funded through federal stimulus money and other outside sources.

IF YOU GO
  • The Mt. Diablo school board will meet at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at the district office, 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord.
  • Information is available by calling 925-682-8000, ext. 4000, or by visiting http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us. Click on March 1.
  • More information about the district's budget is in the On Assignment blog at IBAbuzz.com/onassignment.