Some of the proposals include eliminating summer school, laying off 82 teachers and closing libraries. Reduction to athletic programs also being considered. The final budget is scheduled to be approved in June. School officials said they are dreading the decision. “I knew we were going to be in a position to act on these recommendations even though we know it’s not in the best interest of the students,” Superintendent Edwin Diaz said. The district is considering asking voters to approve a parcel tax to cover some of the deficit. The school board will likely take up the matter at a meeting scheduled for January. How will this affect sports programs in the PUSD? What will be the long-term consequences, if any?
Here’s some reaction to the news about major cuts:
It’s amazing that libraries are high on the list of cuts to be made, yet there is only a mention that athletic programs could be affacted. I’m all for both programs, but libraries are a key component of academic success. So why does the school board seem to favor this over athletics? I’m in favor of a parcel tax. Let’s keet the momentum for PUSD improvements going.
— Concerned Parent
No Parcel Tax.. no way.
First, a third of all children in Pasadena already attend private. Why? Because the schools stink. So, spend more money to save something that stinks?
I think public education is very important, and if Pasadena had a good system (like S.Pas or San Marino), I would be willing to support a parcel tax to save it.. even if my kids were in private.
However, in Pasadena, a parcel tax is just throwing good money after bad. I mean, John Muir already has proficiency scores on the STAR tests down in single digits. Appalling!
I went to a public school that had 30+ kids per teacher. It worked just fine. You know why? The kids were well behaved, and we listened. Why? Because the school demanded it, and our parents demanded it.
By Caroline An, Staff Writer
PASADENA – Pasadena Unified students could face a future with no school libraries, no summer school and at least 82 less teachers, according to a preliminary budget plan approved by the school board late Tuesday.
The Pasadena Unified School District faces an $18.8 million shortfall in the 2010-11 school year, and $1.2 million in cuts the next year, according to district figures. The district’s budget is about $200 million.
Eliminating summer school would save PUSD about $460,000 and closing libraries would save about $1.4 million, officials said. Teacher layoffs would save $3.5 million. Office staff reductions would save $2.175 million. Other smaller cuts also were proposed.
The proposed reductions would cover the entire deficit for the next two years, but state budget problems could force deeper cuts.
The final budget is scheduled to be approved in June.
School officials said they are dreading the decision.
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“I knew we were going to be in a position to act on these recommendations even though we know it’s not in the best interest of the students,” Superintendent Edwin Diaz said.
The district is considering asking voters to approve a parcel tax to cover some of the deficit. The school board will likely take up the matter at a meeting scheduled for January.
Board member Renatta Cooper said the district had “no choice” but to seek the outside funding.
“We have no good choices and all the progress we have made will be gone if we have to implement these cuts,” she said.
San Marino, South Pasadena and La Canada-Flintridge residents all approved parcel taxes within the last year.
Union officials said teachers are scared and education quality will suffer.
With less teachers, class sizes in kindergarten through third grade would be increased from about 20 students to 31 students, they said.
“The children of this community are going to be negatively impacted by these higher class sizes, without a doubt. This just means you have less contact with each student,” said Jeff Leming, acting president of United Teachers of Pasadena, which represents PUSD’s teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses.
Sara Scribner, the librarian at Blair IB Magnet School, said “everybody is concerned.”
“I think that half of the librarians are already planning to not be here next year,” she said.
Along with the major cuts, the board also approved larger class sizes in ninth grade, cutting 20 custodial positions and eliminating other support staff, such as guidance counselors, administrators, and central district staff.
Reductions to athletic programs and school security also are being considered.
District spokeswoman Binti Harvey said district and employee unions are considering furlough days as an alternative to widespread layoffs.
Long-plagued by low-performing schools, in the last few years PUSD has improved test scores by using data to target specific student groups.
The cuts would likely kill the district’s momentum, officials said.
Cooper was especially upset about the prospect of cutting summer school, which PUSD offered last year despite the program being cut at surrounding districts.
More students will drop out of school, she said.
“The kids won’t be able to make up the work, and then give up,” Cooper said.
While the board grapples with the grim task of finalizing budget reductions for next year, the larger question of school closures is still undecided.
On Tuesday, the board proposed closing three small elementary schools for the 2011-12 school year.
Board member Scott Phelps said a committee would have to be formed to determine which schools would close.