The Santa Barbara School Districts were proactive in preparing financially for the next fiscal year, and barring an unexpected state budget, they should get by without any crippling cuts.
The school board is expected to take a final vote on the budget, after public comment, at its meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Administration Center, 720 Santa Barbara St.
District staff members have negotiated up to 10 furlough days — if necessary — with the Santa Barbara Teachers Association and the California School Employees Association, which will save the districts millions of dollars.
Effective this Friday, the districts will unify, becoming the Santa Barbara Unified School District. The move is expected to bring in an extra $6 million per year in revenues and allow for many layoff notices to be rescinded. Unification can take years, but the districts were able to push it through in about six months.
Other than the name, little will change since the elementary and secondary districts already operate as a joint resolution district and have a shared, centralized administration. Waivers from the State Board of Education allow the district to keep existing board members and skip a general election.
The Santa Barbara Unified School District will be led by a new face, recently appointed Superintendent David Cash, who in the past had worked in the district. He was principal of Dos Pueblos High School for five years and principal of Goleta Valley Junior High School for four years. He also worked as a teacher at Peabody Charter School.
Capital projects got a piece of good news in May, too, as $40 million in general obligation bonds were sold as part of Measures Q and R, which were approved by voters in November. The rest of the $110 million in bonds will be sold after the districts’ debt is paid off, according to administrators.
The districts’ 2011-12 budget is based on the assumption of flat funding — that is, $19 per average daily attendance less than the current year — and the school board identified cuts other than furloughs at a March 8 meeting, including shortening the school year by 10 days for teachers and five for students (with extra minutes each day to make up the instructional time); changing San Marcos High School class sizes to a ratio of 35-to-1 to be comparable with other high schools; and sending out 280 layoff notices to both certificated and classified staff.
Click here to read the full text of the districts’ 2011-12 budget.