Possible budget cuts amounting to about $2.2 million per year were announced by the Castro Valley Unified School District in November.
The district claims it needs to cut down on expenses for the 2018-2019 school year in order to not go over budget. Officials say that cumulative expenses and rising prices will force them to reduce spending. Some of the proposed cuts include reduction of professional development, management, staffing, and transportation.
¨This is not a decision that has been already made, these are just ideas,¨ said Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi.
The district predicts that if we do not cut down our budget we will be $0.9 million in debt by next school year and $4.1 million in debt by the 2019-2020 school year.
Parents and teachers were outraged and confused by these new proposed cuts.
The district proposes to cut more than just the $0.9 million that would cause it to go into debt. Officials also have a goal to reach the state-mandated 3 percent in reserves rule, that causes each district to keep at least 3 percent saved, which translates to two weeks of salary.
Ahmadi explained that the district has to guess its future expenses and create a budget according to these proposed expenses.
“It doesn’t work as well as it could work,” said Ahmadi referring to the state’s policy of requiring a budget for a future year with unknown expenses and revenue.
Ahmadi showed the room a statistic showing that California was the 45th most funded state for education.
¨Raise your hand if you think this is okay,” Ahmadi asked and no hands were raised. She was showing how the cuts are not ideal, but necessary under the circumstances.
According to Ahmadi, not keeping 3 percent in reserves would not only risk security but it would cost the Castro Valley public millions of dollars for having a bad credit report.
Ahmadi suggested mentioned the possibility of a parcel tax to provide ongoing income, but voters would have to approve it and gaining the needed two-thirds support could be difficult.
Many teachers and parents are opposed to the proposed budget cuts.
¨We feel that this is creating needless panic within our membership and our community. The money is there, it just appears as if the district’s priorities are misplaced. The district is saying that prioritizing books, supplies and solar panel inverters are more important than our students,¨ said Roger Kim, a teacher at CVHS and president of Castro Valley Teachers Association.
“It makes someone feel unsupported in a job that is important, yet underfunded,” said Clare LePell, a CVHS teacher, in response to the possible reduction of teachers on special assignment.
LePell and other teachers also brought up the fact that the cuts would cut down necessary student resources such as turnitin.com and new books.
¨Also, the district has always been extremely conservative about budget projections and has consistently ended the year with significant amounts for money left over,¨ said Kim.