By Eric Louie
The San Ramon Valley school district has released two budget recommendations reflecting expected cutbacks — one with increased class sizes and another with even larger classes and bigger cuts if the district cannot negotiate concessions with its employee unions.
District trustees considered the proposals at Tuesday's board meeting. District spokesman Terry Koehne said trustees had questions and requests for more information, but there was no major discussion on the proposals. Trustees then met in private to discuss employee negotiations, he said.
"The outcome of our negotiations is going to have a tremendous impact on what we ultimately settle on," he said. Koehne said possibilities include caps on benefits, furloughs, reductions to the salary schedule and a freeze on workers moving up those scales.
He said the district has had good relations with its unions in the past, which will help, but did not know howfriendly the process will be this time.
Darren Day, president of the San Ramon Valley Education Association teachers union, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
During a board meeting last week. Day and a representatives of the California School Employees Association, which represents support staff, both offered to be part of the solution and asked for fairness in how the cuts are be done.
The district, which has a $215 million budget this year, is expecting a $30 million deficit over two years. The district has said that takes into account using all of its reserves except for the amount required by the state.
The two proposals are generally similar, and each have the goal of having $1 million above the state's reserve requirement of 3 percent of its budget. Both include reductions in summer school, maintenance, instructional materials and administrators.
Major differences between Proposal A, which takes into account employee concessions, and Proposal B, which does not, include class sizes. Currently kindergarten though third-grade classes are capped at no more than 22 in each class, while ninth-grade English and math classes cannot average more than 22 students per class.
Proposal A has elementary classes going to 26 students per teacher for 2010-11 and 28 students for 2011-12. The ninth-grade classes would increase to 28 students for 2010-11 and 30 students for 2011-12.
Proposal B has elementary classes going up to 28 and ninth-grade classes going to 30 student for both those years. It also prposes increases in middle and high school ratios, as well as cuts in the number of library workers, custodial staff and counselors.
Koehne said the budget will be an ongoing discussion, and though a final budget is not expected to be adopted soon. there are decisions to be made based on other deadlines. The current deficit estimate uses Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's initial budget proposal. School districts must notify teachers if their jobs may be in jeopardy for the next school year by March 15, and those who will be laid off must be told by May 15. The state's budget is usually finalized over the summer.
Contact Eric Louie at 925-847-2123