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March 30, 2012 > New Haven Unified School Board report

New Haven Unified School Board report

Submitted By Rick La Plante

The Board of Education approved the second interim report on the 2011-12 budget, along with projections for the next two fiscal years that include nearly $11 million in cuts in 2012-13.

The District is girding for a worst-case scenario prompted by the latest round of cuts to public education caused by the state budget crisis. The projections recently approved include a total of nine non-student, budget-cut days in 2012-13, increases class-size ratios to 30:1 in kindergarten, first and second grades, and eliminates elementary specialists and middle school electives.

The Board earlier this month authorized issuing precautionary layoff notices to more than 100 teachers, classified employees and administrators, including all library/media specialists, two counselors, a District-level director in the Division of Teaching and Learning and a psychologist. Supports for instructional/literacy coaches also would be reduced.

Stipends for co-curricular and extra-curricular activities also would be eliminated, the Community Day School would close, and the New Haven Adult School would continue to operate primarily on federal funds and with fee-based classes.

After the latest blow dealt by Sacramento lawmakers to local school districts, New Haven Unified faces a budget shortfall of an estimated $10.7 million in 2012-13, on top of $15 million in cuts over the past four years.

Since 2008, the District workforce has been reduced by nearly 15 percent, from 1,252 to 1,075 FTE. The biggest reduction has been in the administrative staff, which has been reduced by 23 percent, from 84 FTE in 2008 to 65 in 2012. The teaching staff has been reduced by 14 percent, from 710.7 to 611.6 FTE, and the classified staff has been reduced by 13 percent, from 457.3 to 398.7 FTE.

Board members once again urged the public to support a measure that the District has placed on the June 5 ballot that would raise approximately $3 million to help mitigate the cuts.

Measure H would "support high-quality local elementary, middle and high school education to prepare students for college and careers with outstanding core academic programs in reading, writing, math and science and highly qualified teachers and classified staff," according to the ballot statement, by authorizing a parcel tax of $180 per year, for four years. No funds could be used for administrators' salaries, and exemptions would be available for senior citizens and the disabled. The measure will require a two-thirds majority to pass.

Also, the Board approved meeting dates for 2012-13: August 14, September 4 and 18, October 2 and 16, November 20, December 11, January 15, February 5 and 19, March 5 and 19, April 6, May 7 and 21 and June 4 and 18. For the second year in a row, in keeping with the sacrifices that employees are making, the Board voted to give up one month's stipend by not meeting in July.

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