Time for a game of Jeopardy.
Name a school district identified by the California Department of Education that is in "financial jeopardy".
What is Capistrano Unified?
That would be correct.
The Orange County Department of Education has recently met with our school district's Board of Trustees to discuss the severity of the district's financial situation. The California Department of Education also notified the district it is in "financial jeopardy." Capistrano Unified is facing a deficit of $50 million.
The Board of Trustees has made a number of controversial financial decisions over the last two years. Now it has a more serious one to tackle. How will it close the gap?
Labor negotiations with the teachers' union are about to begin. Teaching is a labor intensive business so much of the district's finances are spent on pay. It will be impossible to close the deficit without pay cuts.
The teachers' union went on strike about two years ago over a 10 percent pay cut. It has since been partially restored. It waits to be seen how they will react to an even more serious situation that could result in a greater reduction in pay and layoffs.
The Governor plans to place a tax increase on the ballot. Should it pass, the State will be in a better position to pay for the deferrals it has promised local school districts. But are Californians willing to vote themselves a tax increase?
California already has some of the highest taxes in the nation. Many residents within the boundaries of Capistrano Unified also pay mello roos. Tax increases don't resonate with our local electorate. However, the Governor's proposal and perhaps other tax proposals will be on the ballot in a statewide election. It waits to be seen how the rest of the state will vote.
I don't envy those in the field of education. California's anti-business climate has made our situation in the recession worse than other states and has slowed our recovery. School districts have taken it on the chin for a number of years.
Teachers and school district support staff have been on a financial roller coaster for a number of years. It needs to come to a stop.
Our state legislators need to focus their attention on creating a business friendly climate to restore jobs so people can pay taxes. This would be the best gift they could give schools to meet their future needs.