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PUSD Board Approves Layoff Notices

At a Tuesday meeting, the PUSD board officially issued layoff notices for 78 full-time teachers, though it is uncertain how many will ultimately be dismissed.

The Pasadena Unified School District Board approved layoff notices for 78 full-time employees and two-part time employees at a Tuesday meeting.

As , the notices do not definitively mean that the teachers will actually be laid off, but rather are a means of meeting state requirements to notify any teacher who may possibly be out of a job in September.

In the past two years, PUSD has cut 20 teaching jobs despite issuing more than 200 layoff notices.

At a Tuesday special meeting, the board discussed the district's current financial situation--according to a press release from the district, next year's budget deficits could be anywhere from $7.2 million to $17 million.

The final decisions on teacher layoffs must be made by May 15, according to the release.

A full list of positions that could be impacted is posted at right.

navigio March 08, 2012 at 02:03 AM
Just to be clear, this layoff list is for certificated positions only. Broadly speaking, certificated means teachers or other positions that require interaction with kids, or the people who oversee those people. There will be another list for classified staff at some point in the next couple of months (they have different deadlines). Although the stabilization plan (also discussed on tuesday) is not final and is a worst-case scenario, it gives an idea of what the number of layoff notices would be there. For example, that plan assumed 61 certificated positions would be eliminated but also assumed the district would be able to negotiate 5 furlough days. The additional number (ie to reach the 78 layoffs mentioned above) are probably primarily what would need to happen if the furloughs could not be negotiated. On that plan, there were 81 classified positions that would need to be eliminated but again that is assuming furloughs could be negotiated. As a result, its probably fair to estimate that at least 81 classified layoff notices would be issued, and likely significantly more. (the question is then whether that offset for no furloughs would be proportional in numbers or in cost between classified and certificated positions, which would help to estimate how many more). And to reiterate, the layoff notices are not final, and essentially the worst-case scenario (though the CFO did throw in that the state unfortunately sometimes does surprise by making things even worse).
Tony Brandenburg March 08, 2012 at 05:52 AM
tough times. furloughs can be very effective to save jobs across the district- administrative, certificated, and classified if all unions buy in- and work together for common goals- as well as to actually shut down all buildings and offices during the furlough days. electricity efficiency alone can be a subtantive savings (powering down for five days, for example, could mean thousands of dollars)....... i wonder if anyone has looked at longer term energy efficiency studies and conservation as a way to bring down day-to-day costs.....?
navigio March 08, 2012 at 06:04 AM
Yes tony. The district hired someone last year to oversee an efficiency effort. According to some statements the district expects to save approx $500,000 this calendar year due to this effort. However the CFO also mentioned that Edison has just been approved for an 11% rate increase starting this July. Obviously that only impacts some of the sites but it will take a bite out of those savings moving forward. If you want more info about the effort I can try to find some links.
Tony Brandenburg March 08, 2012 at 06:37 AM
no, not necessary- but that's enough to save at least ten jobs! if a total shut down of all buildings' elctricity during 5-7 furlough days could save even one job...... would people be willing to give up a few days to do it? each furlough day- if all agreed- could save countless jobs. again, is it about the me, or about the us?
Dan Abendschein (Editor) March 08, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Actually it's even more Navigio. The district says it can save $600,000 per furlough day, so if you do five as they apparently did this year, you are up to $3 million.
navigio March 08, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Thanks Dan, I was referring to the savings as a result of the efficiency effort not as a result of furloughs. Obviously, its likely that the furlough savings calculations include the savings due to shutting down systems, and its even possible that a large part of the $500,000 savings (alluded to by the CFO in tuesday's meeting during an exchange with Selinske) are due solely or significantly to the fact that the district was shut down for 5 days this year. But obviously salary savings are a huge part of that (and probably most of it--I kind of doubt the district would save $100,000 per day in energy, but we do have some old systems). It would probably be a good idea to try to figure out how much of that overall $3M savings is due to reduced salary costs and how much is due to energy non-usage. Maybe it would be a good time to do an article on this... hint, hint.. ;-)
True Freedom March 08, 2012 at 05:52 PM
Was money recouped from the death of the redevelopment agencies factored into the budget?
Dan Abendschein (Editor) March 08, 2012 at 05:57 PM
So many article ideas, so little time Navigio. I would guess, though, that pretty much all of the savings would come from labor costs, with a tiny sliver having to do with electricity and other overhead costs.
navigio March 08, 2012 at 06:53 PM
TF!! where have you been? :-) It depends which death you mean. If it was the whole ABX26 fiasco from a year or so ago, there was very little money received for that (remember it was just the state playing accounting tricks.. I think it ended up being $70k instead of the 'claimed' $10M or $20M :-) ). This time around I thought RDA deaths were part of the realignment plan, which in my understanding does not impact school funding directly (though it does indirectly, both positively and negatively). The real problem with realignment is that there is a claim that that money no longer runs through sacramento which would make it not subject to the prop 98 guarantee. That fact is the source of about $2B in revenue loss to schools next year, or was at one point in the plan. At one point Brown claimed he would reverse his realignment idea if his proposition did not pass--which in theory would have given schools that money back--but then he reversed that. To be honest, things have changed so much with his plan lately, Im not clear where it is. There are some good articles out there describing it that i'll try to link to if I get a chance. I also remember an attempt at crafting another abx-26 type bill without the stipulation that the state's general fund contribution would be reduced by the same amount gained from RDA death/borrowing. But Im not sure where that went.. if anywhere..
navigio March 08, 2012 at 06:55 PM
I agree Dan, which would mean a lot of that $500,000 really was due to better efficiency. Great news if its the case!
True Freedom March 08, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Just been lurking :) One of the advertised selling points of killing RDA's was that the money would be funneled back into education (I think there were many other good reasons to rid ourselves of RDA's as well). Now, if the money is not adding directly education's bottom line... then it is merely a shell game. Shell games are why I'm very apprehensive about voting for increased taxes. Unless I'm convinced, I'll vote NO for any new monies.
navigio March 08, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Hey TF. So first off, I am not a lawyer, so my take on all this is a layperson's view of the relevant laws and analysis. Secondly, much of the claims surrounding RDA disbursements helping schools comes from people who would gladly get rid of public education entirely. Please keep that in mind when evaluating your 'sources'. :-) Thirdly, a couple of items on the to-cut list the other night were the remaining librarians (already all gone at the elementary level) and half the total FTE for music teachers, which is absurdly 2.2 FTE (yes thats a decimal point). While I understand the reaction to political shell games (and I share your disdain for them) I happen to find it nothing short of absurd (and thats a euphemism) that we could be weighing this against the question of whether our politicians are on the up and up. Can we really go to sleep at night knowing our kids dont have a library or music in their school because we feel so good about having down that lying, scheming, conniving ^%$@#%$ in Sacramento? Really? I hate to say it, but all budgets are shell games. This is the nature of balanced-budget dynamics in a world with many constituencies, each with their own agenda, and power that is not proportional to that agenda's actual importance (almost by definition). This is why I get upset when people argue about a spending vs revenue problem. In reality we have a priorities problem. And a denial problem. cont'd..
navigio March 08, 2012 at 09:26 PM
..cont'd This is exacerbated in the schools situation because there has been a successful divide-and-conquer tactic imposed on our schools and community. I found a very good analysis of ABX1 26 from the LAO (link further below). Although I think it is important enough to read, I recognize that, due to its length, many wont. So here are a few highlights: - Originally the goal was to reduce the state's general ed funding by the amount received from the RDA for 11-12 but not subsequently. This is why there was essentially no net-benefit for schools this year. In theory, this will mean the potential for additional revenue in subsequent years, however, there are a number of very good reasons why this is unlikely to manifest (many below) - The most important is that the current 12-13 budget assumes that the same thing will happen as happened in 11-12 (and in fact moving forward as well). If that is approved by the leg, it will mean no net benefit due to the RDA going away, but, as you point out, it will save the state some money (that it would otherwise have had to give to education) and allow it to buy a whole bunch of shells (wow, unintended, albeit appropriately ironic pun). cont'd..
navigio March 08, 2012 at 09:26 PM
..cont'd - There is a legacy behavior that has forced the state to 'backfill' revenues lost to RDAs. I think this is what is referred to as pass-through funds. (anybody?) Although Im not clear on the exact dynamics or history, the end result is that under the death of RDAs it is entirely possible that even with redistribution to schools, a district could actually get LESS money than it gets now due to how these pass-throughs work now. (there is a discussion on page 19 about this). - RDAs heard this coming and did a couple pretty outrageous things. One was to transfer all their assets out of the RDA. (one mayor is quoted in that document as saying something like, 'well, now there are no funds left for us to take from the RDA'. I think there may be an effort to get these back but I'll believe it when I see it). The other is that the law defines an 'unwinding' instead of a complete and immediate dissolution. That unwinding essentially means the RDAs current outstanding obligations need to be met. So what did the RDAs do when they saw this coming? They went out and issued a boatload of new bonds and excessive interest rates no less. Im tempted to use an even stronger euphemism here, but I'll be in trouble if I run out of superlatives. I may need some later. The law does not actually abolish RDAs, but puts in place a 'successor entity' that is in charge of making sure those obligations get paid off. cont'd..
navigio March 08, 2012 at 09:26 PM
..cont'd The funds that are diverted to local agencies are only done so after these obligations are covered. - The redirection of the 'left-over' funds is not only to schools, but to all local agencies in proportion to what they get in that tax year from the state. For schools that would be somewhere about 40-50% of the 'take'. However, ABX1 26 also seems to allocate 56% of that money to facilities only (perhaps because it was coming from a development agency) leaving the remaining for actual education purposes. So those are only a few points, there are more but I dont want to put those who are still awake to sleep. In the end, whether the schools benefit from ABX1 26 is still a pretty open question. It seems highly likely that there will be little to no benefit (the state's budget is about spreading around pain, not about fixing schools). There is even a possibility for some districts that they will lose money (thats almost comical). And of course, there is still the possibility that the district's will gain something. To the extent anything is known, it has been factored into the budget estimation discussions that are ongoing. For those interested, here it the analysis: http://www.lao.ca.gov/analysis/2012/general_govt/unwinding-redevelopment-021712.pdf cont'd..
navigio March 08, 2012 at 09:26 PM
..cont'd And one last point that may be relevant. One thing the state did last year was remove some of the restrictions on categorical funding to give districts more flexiblity in how they balance their budgets. In the end, this essentially means some money that would have otherwise gone to programs for disadvantaged kids can now be spent on anything. Great for the district. Not so great for those kids. FWIW, the district this year (and next year) is using a large part of those funds to keep class sizes down at the K-3 levels. Now, TF. I bet you're sorry you stopped lurking.. :-)
True Freedom March 08, 2012 at 10:42 PM
@Nav: yes, yes, definitely sorry :) Thanks for the great info. And don't worry, I won't vote against the tax increases simply to punish politicians.. but I will need to feel extremely confident that the money will make it to the schools. I'm not going to pay extra taxes for the state to give an extra N-billion to the schools at the same time they cut N-billion from schools for a net gain of nothing.
Dinky D March 09, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Something that really needs to be looked at is the amount of money that is spent on outside consultants. Many of these jobs are done by classified people already but because some people like to hire their friends they create positions for them. Hmmmmm, they cover it up well.
navigio March 09, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Just an fyi, the district posts all their non-salary expenditures online every month or so. The board is required to approve these at least every 60 days. The amounts vary greatly depending on month. These are posted at least 72 hours before the meeting in which they are discussed/voted on. Here is the most recent one. http://pusd.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=12&clip_id=416&meta_id=63469
Joanne Louisa March 31, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Furlough days do not result in a complete power-down in the district as some classes of employees are allowed to choose which days they don't come in. Or, in the case of some employees, since legal deadlines are not suspended for furloughs, they just do the work without being paid. I'm sure that's what Tony is referring to when he pleads for district employees to think about the "us." Based on what he posts online, I can't imagine him waiving a timeline for any of his own special snowflakes.
Louis Educe April 01, 2013 at 03:55 PM
Another thought on this is to go to a 4 day week like many districts already do during the summer. The highest energy costs involve the starting up of AC/Heating, stoves, lights etc. and if you go to a 10 hr/ 4 day week you get the savings of a weekly "furlough day" with out the loss of instructional time (note I am talking energy savings not salary) this also answers Joanne's "timeline" issue since deadlines can still be met. My District/Union have talked about this as a possibility and they discussed having Mondays rather than Fridays because of the multiple holidays. The biggest problem to this is the parents who would need child care on the off days - but maybe the schools could offer pay for service care at some sites.

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