When Proposition 30 passed this week with 54% of the vote, it came with the promise of no mid-year cuts to schools. But the success of the tax measure underscores the remaining burden on local school officials who still wrestle with the consequences of years of cuts to state education funding.
At Glendale Unified, where officials still need to slash $10 million from their budget, roughly 75 elementary teachers and up to 50 secondary teachers could face layoffs this spring, according to Supt. Dick Sheehan.
Those figures could also be determined by how many teachers accept the district’s early retirement incentives by Feb. 1.
“It still means we have a structural deficit of $15 million,” said Eva Leuck, chief business and financial officer for the district, during a school board meeting this week.
Still, Sheehan said he was relieved Prop. 30 passed, which allows the district to walk away from plans to slash its budget by an additional $11 million to $12 million.
“It won’t be as severe,” Sheehan said.
At Glendale Community College, Prop. 30’s passage was welcome news for a campus that has endured a series of cutbacks that led to 5,000 students on wait lists for overcrowded classes.
In October, the college reduced the workload of 98 employees — four of them managers — who will work one month less starting next year in an effort to save money.
The impact of Prop. 30 will be felt among students in the spring, when administrators will add 100 classes to course offerings.
Interim college Supt. Jim Riggs also said 500 courses that were slated to be cut had Prop. 30 failed will be kept on the schedule.
“It’s like a holiday,” said Ron Nakasone, executive vice president of administrative services. “It’s really a big weight off what could have been.”
Prop. 30 will also prevent layoffs of up to 20 employees at the college, administrators said.
“This gives us breathing room to really do our planning,” Riggs said. “We definitely want to go into the following year with the budget fully balanced and ready to go so we’re not having to continue to cut on the budget.”
Burbank Unified Supt. Jan Britz said schools won’t face the “utter chaos” they would have without Prop. 30.
While Britz doesn’t anticipate any layoffs this year, officials will soon decide on what measures they may need take to remain solvent, she said.
That could mean adding unpaid furlough days to the calendar next year or offering early retirement incentives to teachers.
“If you look at next year, the question is, ‘What will it take to make us fiscally solvent?” she said. “At least we’re not going the opposite way.”
Without Prop. 30, next year would have required $13 million in cuts for Burbank schools.
For Burbank school board President Larry Applebaum, the result of Prop. 30 keeps schools “at our current state of awful.”
“It doesn’t make it any worse,” he said. “It gives us some sense of security going forward now.”
The prospect of even more security will be determined by Burbank voters this spring when voters decide the fate of a $110-million bond measure on the March 5 ballot.
“We hope we get support from that,” Britz said.
-- Kelly Corrigan, Times Community News
Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan