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Capo Schools Facing up to $24.8 Million in Budget Cuts

Enrollment is declining, and the costs associated with providing mental health services are growing.

The  is facing another multimillion-dollar shortfall in the coming academic year, even in the best of scenarios.

That was the word from Ron Lebs, deputy superintendent for business and support services, to the board of trustees at its meeting Tuesday. It was the school board’s first step in a process that will end in June to approve a budget for the 2011-12 school year.

Depending on how the state budget shakes out, the school district may have to cut anywhere between $8.4 million and $24.8 million, Lebs said.

“It seems we are faced again with another challenging year ahead of us,” Lebs told the board. District officials say they have already cut $90 million from the budget since the 2007-08 year.

The state is facing a $25-billion shortfall in the coming year. The newly elected governor wants to make budget cuts to resolve half of the problem and is depending on the passage of a  to extend temporary taxes hikes on sale, motor vehicle and income to plug the rest of the hole.

Because Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal depends on the will of the electorate, Lebs offered two versions of “budget assumptions,” one if the measure passes and one if it doesn’t.

“We have to be very cautious right now,” Trustee Anna Bryson said, fearing worsening financial news on the horizon.

Beyond what happens with the state budget, Capo Unified is facing a few other budget “challenges,” Lebs said. Enrollment has been declining. Because school districts receive their money for each student based on who shows up to school each day, the shrinking student population will cost the school district $2 million.

Next year’s projected enrollment is expected to be 50,523 with an average daily attendance of 49,621, according to a staff report.

The district currently receives about $5,208 per student. If the governor’s proposed ballot measure passes, the district would lose $19 per student, Lebs said. If it fails to make it on the ballot or fails, the district would lose $348 per student.

In addition, the state has stopped paying for the  that school districts are required to provide, Lebs said. This could cost the district an additional $5.6 million it’s never had to pay before. School districts are suing the state.

The addition of a proposed charter school will cost the district another $700,000 it had not anticipated, Lebs added.  is looking for board approval soon.

“We’ve identified cuts that can be made in order to put together a budget,” Lebs told the board. “We will have to be looking at negotiated reductions [with various unions in the district], either salary or [the length of] the work year.”

Teachers  already agreed to a 10.1 percent cut after they went on strike in April. Just recently, however, the district , so now their pay cut is 6.49 percent.

For this reason, Trustee Ellen Addonizio voted against approving the item before the board, which was to establish a timeline for the budget.

“It seems very inconsistent to me,” she said.

Other news out of the meeting:

  • The school board approved a policy that requires teachers, parents and students to seek permission before posting to , such as Facebook and YouTube, where the schools maintain an official presence. The postings need to conform to the district’s education purposes and maintain a “consistent identity, profession appearance and ease of use,” according to the new policy.
  • In closed session, the district settled a lawsuit brought by San Juan Capistrano property owner Gary Campbell, who previously leased office space on Calle Perfecto. The board did not announce a dollar figure. The original claim was for unpaid rent. The site, at 32861 Calle Perfecto, was used to house the school district’s child development preschool office. The lease covered three years between September 2006 and October 2009. 
Kim McCarthy February 09, 2011 at 04:42 PM
The ELEPHANT in the middle of CUSD...Unions and English Language Learners--between these 2 there will NEVER be enough Money. IN San Juan Capistrano 4 of 5 schools are devoted primarily to ELL's -that is the only money coming in from the FEDS/STATE, NO MONEY for all children-all gifted children-all children with learning challenges....JUST ELL's So...this morning I get a taped msg sent to me from CUSD encouraging me to send my 5th grader to Carl S. Hankey in M.V. and attend an open house....apparently Marco must be going totally ELL...don't want to miss out on the FED/STATE ELL $$$...what are the other benefits of ELL? Local tax $$$ are taken from us for GRIP (gang counseling / truancy sweeps) to make sure the public schools get their Average Daily Attendance $$$...GOD forbid they get paid on results! How long canyou have an ELL school/TITLE ONE...how long does it take to learn ENGLISH! Apparently forever. In the meantime you've got the union taking the lions share of the cash...while scores are a joke...CUSD passes with a D- and noone is held back...how impressive...set the goal and they will meet it. I am going back to work, going private school way...praying the charter school gets passed...thats what the teacher union needs some good ole fashioned competition for the most entitled people in the county!
Margaret February 09, 2011 at 05:35 PM
Mean while, children are getting neglected to learn proper study habits in light of econimic stress. Another way to look a bad test scores. A lot of parents are too stressed/tired out thinking of how they are going to feed and pay living expences rather than focus on how their children are doing in school. Parents who work two jobs or even work at night leave their children to decide for themselves, TV or study while mom or dad is working. A lot of children come to school with a bad attitude about learning. A lot of parents don't care much and give jane a pat on the back for being good in one subject while neglecting they need help (from their parents) in another area. Children will pass D- or not because it's the parents who arent doing their jobs with their children at home. Even my children have to be reminded we live on one of the greatest Nations for education. Teachers are given the burden to get "good" test scores for those who do not know english, taking more time away from english speaking students. Why does it take so long to learn english? Because most non speaking english students have parents who may know english, but do not know how write english or to tutor their own children at home. As far as the coming cuts, it looks like parents will have to pitch in yet again, but this time for toilet paper!
Kim McCarthy February 09, 2011 at 09:47 PM
EVERYONE needs to pitch in...the parents of ELL's can get FREE English classes--take them and help their kids with their homework! Stop catering to families who wont assimilate. While the union complains for more money and takes the stance they don't have to pitch in and take cuts, the CUSD cashes in on ELL's with Average Daily Attendance and the fact they are remaining ELL for funding. The system is set up to do exactly what it is doing...running an inefficent school system--pushing the kids thru it without teaching...and all of the children are paying for it. Parents, teachers, administrators, politicians, are ALL responsible.
OC Mom March 05, 2011 at 06:13 AM
Kim, It's nice to see I'm not the only one noticing what is happening in our formerly fine school district. Perhaps if the other parents were capable of critical thought and would turn off American Idol at night and read the newspaper this situation we are in would have never happened. Our current system is unsustainable. We need to make cuts. Our country should secure the Southern border and citizenship shouldn't be automatic on birth. We just can't afford it anymore. Frankly, I'm upset with both political parties. The Democrats want the votes of the needy who are dependent on them for their Government checks and Social Services. The Republican big business lobbies want to continue to profit from the slave labor they employ by hiring illegal immigrants. The middle class continues working, paying taxes and having our standard of living diminish. Unfortunately, teachers may have to take pay cuts. Government workers in general may need to have their pay and benefits reduced. Wake up American Citizens! Go to the library, read some books or newspapers. See what is really happening to our once great State and Nation. Watch Waiting for Superman and you'll see there are many kids graduating High School thru social promotion who are only reading at a 3rd grade level. What kind of future are they prepared for with that level of literacy? Probably the kind of future that involves low wage pay or incarceration at taxpayer expense.
Capo Parent April 07, 2011 at 03:40 PM
Interesting post. Education does start at home, and how parents view, enforce and participate in the education process is key. The economic stress we have been under the last few years likely has had a negative effect on education participation in the home. While I am firmly against the union paybacks the current board has been engaged in since its first meeting, teachers do have a valid grip that they are facing ever increasing pressure to raise test scores for all students, not just ELL, hence the teaching to the test mentality that has developed. Asians as a whole do better than Hispanics (and Whites for that matter) because education is of the upmost importance to Asians. Of course, many would say a number of Asian families go too far, but that's another issue for another day. Education is not as important, as a whole, to Hispanics. That is why IMHO english is not learned faster by ELLs and why grades and test scores for ELL are below average. This mindset appears to be changing with second, third and fourth generation Hispanics.

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