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School board to discuss state budget

Submitted by on 1, January 26, 2010 – 5:50 am2 Comments

By Stacy Lawrence

At tonight’s Board of Education meeting, Alameda Unified School District leaders are set to offer information about what the budget cuts proposed earlier this month by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger could mean for Alameda schools.

According to a staff staff presentation made available in advance of the meeting, this will translate into a loss of $2.1 million in state revenue for Alameda schools next year. During the current 2009-2010 school year, 77 percent of the $88.3 million budget for Alameda’s schools came from the state, with the rest coming from federal and local sources that include parcel taxes.

For the 2010-2011 school year, Schwarzenegger has requested a $1.5 billion reduction in school administrative costs throughout the state.

In addition, the Governor’s budget proposal includes several policy reforms such as the elimination of seniority as a consideration of employment decisions; layoff notifications for teachers up to 60 days after the state budget is adopted; and elimination of the requirement to give laid-off teachers priority for substitute teacher positions at their former pay rate.

In an effort to accommodate ongoing cuts while ensuring the quality of the schools, the Board of Education is also close to completing its planning process through 2015 – dubbed the Master Plan. District leaders will present a final draft of the plan tonight (it’s not available yet, but the draft they offered December 8 is here). The school board is slated to vote on the plan on February 9.

As part of the planning process, independent consulting firm Barb Gee Consulting was hired to conduct an efficiency assessment of the district office. Their recommendations for restructuring the district’s front office, which will also be presented tonight, would initially offer more than $460,000 in savings a year.

The school board is also being asked to approve changes in the district’s contract proposal for its teachers to revise its salary offering. The district is negotiating a new contract with its teachers.

“(T)he District proposes changes to language to address costs associated with certificated employee compensation,” School Board Vice President Mike McMahon’s website says.

Important note: Since the City Council will be in chambers Tuesday night, the school board meeting will be held in the Little Theater at Alameda High School, 2201 Encinal Avenue. They’ll start at their usual time, 6:30 p.m.


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