PUSD holds second workshop to refine budget cuts

A group of PUSD administrators, school board members, teachers, parents, and community members met last Thursday for a second budget workshop to identify more precisely where more than $2 million in cuts could be made — and where additional revenue might be found — in order for the school district to afford its current compensation offer to APT.

Although PUSD and APT remain in mediation over salary and health benefits, the district is developing a budget around its current offer as employees who may be impacted by reductions must be given preliminary notices no later than Mar. 15. The district will hold a public hearing on positions to be eliminated on Feb. 14.

PUSD’s offer is 2% this year, 4% next year, and 3% in the third year. APT says that’s insufficient to address steep health care increases this year and seeks an 8.22% increase in salary and a 25% increase in the district’s contribution toward employee health care. Until 2011, PUSD paid the full cost of employee health benefits; since then PUSD’s contribution has been capped in a concession APT made due to the financial crisis that year. Kaiser health rates were expected to increase by 17% this month, according to PUSD last year.

PUSD Superintendent Dr. Jennifer Hawn recapped the budget workshop in her weekly email to the school community:

The Why – Budget adjustments are needed in order to afford the compensation proposal to staff (2% this year, 4% next year, and 3% in the third year).

The Amount – Staff recommended $2.384 million in budget adjustments.

The Type – Budget adjustments included reductions and revenue enhancements, for a total savings of $2.384 million.

The Process – Staff organized recommendations according to Tiers: Tier 1 reflects the least amount of student impact; Tier 2 reflects low student impact; Tier 3 reflects some student impact. Staff also provided recommendations that reflect a proportional reduction for each labor unit. That is, we were careful to avoid reducing one group far more than others.

The Outcome – The Board gave staff direction to pursue all of the recommendations, and asked staff to add another $520,000 in reductions. The reason for the $520,000 amount is that it reflects the amount of projected revenue enhancements. That is, if the revenue enhancements do not come through, the budget will still include enough to fund the compensation increases, and perhaps more if we can build revenue.

Piedmont Pulse, Jan. 29

The list of possible reductions that the Board of Education will consider at its Feb. 14 meeting are outlined in this slide from the budget workshop meeting:

You can view the full budget workshop presentation HERE.

Enrollment, attendance important revenue sources for PUSD

Declining enrollment and absenteeism have a financial impact on the district. In addition to working on enrolling more students in PUSD, the district has worked to boost school attendance. The superintendent used her weekly message to share a link with parents to voluntarily donate to the school district for each day a child misses school. PUSD losses money every day a student misses school, regardless of the reason. According to the message, the loss of revenue is TK-3rd Grade = $61.32; 4th-6th Grade = $56.39; 7th-8th Grade = $58.06; 9th-12th Grade = $61.20.

Substitutes needed in case of a strike

Over 96% of APT membership voted to authorize a strike in the event current mediation over compensation fails. The school district is working to hire substitute teachers and volunteers to keep the schools open (and to avoid losing attendance revenue) in the event that happens. The superintendent shared a sign-up form that details what’s required to help:

If you wish to serve as a substitute teacher, we will compensate you at the current substitute teacher rate of $200/day. We need both substitute teachers and volunteers:

Substitute Teacher Requirements: An application packet that includes transcripts showing a BA/BS or higher, a completed application form (41-4, including $100 fee) for the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to acquire a 30-Day Substitute Teacher Permit, and Livescan fingerprints. PUSD also requires employees show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination.

Volunteers: Brief Application letter, Livescan fingerprints, and proof of a COVID-19 vaccination

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