By John Glidden
Fiscal uncertainty continues for the Vallejo City Unified School District.
The Vallejo school board will hold a public hearing Wednesday night on its tentative 2018-19 fiscal year budget and the news isn’t good.
According to the budget’s executive summary, during the upcoming fiscal year, which begins on July 1, the district is projecting that it will be able to meet its current fiscal obligations.
However, the district may not be able to pay its bills in years 2019-20, and 20-21.
“During 2019-20, the district estimates that the General Fund is projected to deficit spend by $8.2 million resulting in an unrestricted ending General Fund balance of approximately $3.5 million — $1.3 million short of making the state required minimum 3 percent reserve for economic uncertainty,” according to the same summary. “During 2020-21, the district estimates that the General Fund is projected to deficit spend by $11 million resulting in an unrestricted ending General Fund balance of -$7.5 million (about) $12.4 million short of making the state required minimum 3 percent reserve for economic uncertainty and $13.1 million short of making the District Board reserve of 3.5 percent.”
Source: Vallejo school board to hold hearing on budget
By Richard Bammer
A roofing bid and the reduction of certain classified, or school-support, jobs are on the agenda when the Fairfield-Suisun Unified governing board meets Thursday in Fairfield.
The seven-member governing board likely will approve Alcal Specialty Contracting, a roofing firm with main offices in Sacramento, as the low bidder for roofing projects set for Cleo Gordon Elementary, the Public Safety Academy, Sullivan Interagency and Armijo High’s welding shop, for a total of about $1.8 million.
Robert Martinez, assistant superintendent of human resources, will make the presentation about reducing certain classified, or school-support, jobs.
Source: FSUSD agenda: Low-bid roofing contract and reduction in school-support jobs
By Daily Republic Staff
Trustees of the Fairfield-Suisun School District will be asked Thursday to give the green light to eliminate more than a dozen positions in response to the governor’s budget for the coming school year, with bus drivers bearing the brunt of the proposed cuts.
Robert A. Martinez, the district’s assistant superintendent of human resources, provides details about the planned layoffs in a staff report and accompanying resolution that the board is scheduled to consider.
The proposed cuts include 16.682 full-time equivalent positions: 10 from among the district’s bus drivers, 2.781 from the district’s roster of child nutrition assistants and the equivalent 1.288 positions in the corps of bilingual para-educators. Roughly half a position each would be cut from among the district’s mental health clinicians, associate mental health clinicians, behavior analysts, para-educators and campus monitors.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun school board set to consider cuts to ranks of bus drivers, other staff
By Andrew Ujifusa
President Donald Trump is seeking a roughly 5 percent cut to the U.S. Department of Education’s budget for fiscal 2019 in a proposal that also mirrors his spending plan from last year by seeking to eliminate a major teacher-focused grant and to expand school choice.
Trump’s proposed budget, released Monday, would provide the Education Department with $63.2 billion in discretionary aid, a $3.6 billion cut—or 5.3 percent— from current spending levels, for the budget year starting Oct. 1. That’s actually less of a cut than what the president sought for fiscal 2018, when he proposed slashing $9.2 billion—or 13.5 percent—from the department.
In order to achieve those proposed spending cuts, the president copied two major education cuts he proposed last year: the elimination of Title II teacher grants and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. Those two cuts combined would come to about $3.1 billion from current levels. Overall, 39 discretionary programs would be cut, eliminated, or “streamlined.”
Source: Trump Seeks to Cut Education Budget by 5 Percent, Expand School Choice Push – Politics K-12 – Education Week
By John Glidden
With a need to cut $8 million from its budget by March, the Vallejo school board will review a second round of proposed cuts during its meeting Wednesday night.
On the agenda is $1.5 million in additional position eliminations from various district offices, including food service, special education, and child development.
The central kitchen manager, several paraeducators, along with a special education teacher, and three child development teachers are expected to receive layoff notices. Overall, the district is recommending 28 employee positions be slashed. Late last month, trustees approved the elimination of 50 district positions, for a savings of $4.3 million. Those cuts included 30 classroom teachers, several administrators, eight site safety supervisors, and a handful of secretaries.
Source: Vallejo school board to review additional budget cuts
By John Glidden
A morose Vallejo school board unanimously approved devastating budget cuts Tuesday night as 50 district positions were eliminated.
The move will save the Vallejo City Unified School District about $4.3 million for its upcoming 2018-19 fiscal year budget.
A sizable audience was on hand to learn about the cuts during the special board meeting held at Steffan Manor Elementary School.
“Every position in the district is directed toward supporting the classroom, so none of these reductions, that we are recommending, are easy to make,” VCUSD Superintendent Adam Clark said to the board and those in attendance. “They all are useful, they all are needed within our district to support our students. Every last one of them.”
Source: Vallejo trustees slash $4.3 million from budget
By John Glidden
Possible teacher layoffs dominated the conversation Wednesday night, as the Vallejo school board discussed cutting $8.9 million from the district’s 2018-19 budget.
“I don’t want to cut anything in the classroom and I’m going to be watching that carefully,” said Trustee Tony Ublade as preliminary reductions being proposed by the district include cutting about 32 teaching positions. This amounts to $2.6 million in savings, district staff said.
Vallejo Education Association President Sheila Gradwohl said the unpredictably of teacher layoffs affects everyone.
“The feeling you get when this happens is one of uncertainty, you’re scared, you don’t know if you can pay bills, it really affects you and if it affects you, it affects your kids, affects the students you teach,” Gradwohl said.
Source: Vallejo trustees get first look at budget cuts
By Andrew Ujifusa
Lawmakers in charge of the U.S. Department of Education’s budget voted Wednesday to advance a funding bill that cuts $2.4 billion from the agency’s budget, with most of that reduction coming through the elimination of a major program focused on teachers.
The GOP-backed bill approved by the House appropriations committee on Wednesday by a 28-22 vote cuts the department’s budget to $66 billion. That’s a less-severe cut than the spending blueprint floated by President Donald Trump in May that includes a $9.2 billion reduction. House Republicans followed the Trump budget’s lead and cut the $2 billion Title II program that covers teacher training, as well as class-size reductions.
“We invest in programs that ensure that all students have access to a quality education,” said Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., the chairman of the House appropriations committee. The bill now moves to the full House for consideration.
Source: Bill With More Than $2 Billion in Teacher-Training Cuts Advances in House – Politics K-12 – Education Week
By Mikhail Zinshteyn
Programs run by the U.S. Department of Education, which distributes funding for numerous programs to all states, would be cut by $9 billion under the Trump administration’s proposed federal budget for the fiscal year beginning in October.
California’s K-12 federal allocation would shrink from the 2016-17 level of approximately $4 billion to $3.64 billion in 2017-18.
Presidential budgets typically serve as wish lists, and it is far from clear what parts of the document released Tuesday will be enacted by Congress. But the document provides important insights into President Donald Trump’s education agenda, and where his priorities lie.
Source: California would lose $400 million in federal K-12 education funding under Trump budget | EdSource
By Richard Bammer
Tom Torlakson, the state’s superintendent of public instruction, Tuesday urged Congress to reject President Trump’s federal education budget proposal, which includes cuts that he described as “deep” to teacher training, after school programs, mental health services, advanced coursework, among others.
“I give this budget an ‘F’ grade for failing public school students in California and across the nation,” Torlakson, who leads the country’s largest public school system with more than 6.2 million students, said in a press release. “We need to invest more in our public schools, not slash away at programs that help students succeed.”
A former East Bay high school science teacher and athletics coach, he noted that the proposed federal education budget heads in a completely different direction than the California approach to education funding.
Source: State school leader gives fed ed budget proposal a failing grade
By Anya Kamenetz
It’s graduation season. That means commencement addresses lead off our weekly education news roundup. Last week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos faced boos at Bethune-Cookman University. This week, President Trump received a warmer welcome when he addressed cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Far from a conventional graduation speech, Trump talked about his rough week in Washington and how he keeps going in spite of his critics.
“Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media. No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly. You can’t let them get you down. You can’t let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams,” he told the graduates.
Source: Trump Gives Commencement Address; Leaked Education Budget Has Big Cuts : NPR Ed : NPR
By Michael Collier
As Congress struck a $1.1 trillion-dollar budget deal earlier this month to fund the federal government through the rest of the 2016-17 fiscal year and avoid a government shutdown of federal agencies, education leaders in California are relieved that the state will continue to receive federal support for teacher preparation programs.
But support for these programs in the coming fiscal year, beginning on Oct. 1, is still in doubt.
The Trump Administration had proposed to cut federal funding through Title II Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act by half – by $1.2 billion – for the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, and to eliminate the program altogether after that. However, the budget bill approved by Congress cuts the program’s funding by only $249 million for the current fiscal year, according to Education Week, to about $2 billion.
Source: Federal support for teacher training to continue, but next year’s funding in doubt | EdSource
By Sophia Alvarez Boyd and Anya Kamenetz
National K-12 and higher ed news came fast and furious this week. Here are our highlights to help you keep on top.
The president’s “skinny budget” has cuts for education
The biggest story of our week happened early Thursday morning when President Trump released his budget outline, historically known as a “skinny budget” because it has few details.
The U.S. Department of Education came in for a $9 billion, or 13.5 percent, cut.
During Trump’s campaign, he promised $20 billion for school choice. His 2018 budget is the first small step in that direction, increasing charter school funding by two-thirds, funding an unspecified new “private school choice program,” and adding another $1 billion for Title I, which helps fund high-poverty schools. That Title I money would be earmarked to “encourage” school choice.
Source: FAFSA, Pell Grants And Charters, Oh My! : NPR Ed : NPR
By Richard Bammer
State schools chief Tom Torlakson said President Donald Trump’s proposed $1.1 trillion 2018 budget was very disappointing and goes in the wrong direction with funding cuts that would hurt disadvantaged children, after-school programs, teacher training, and other services, but sets aside $250 million for a nationwide voucher program.
In a press release issued Friday, he said the cuts, should they go into effect, would hobble programs that help prepare California 6.2 million public school students for jobs in the increasingly technological, 21st-century global economy.
Trump’s planned budget would take hundreds of millions of dollars from California by eliminating federal funds for programs that have proven successful in educating at-risk students, especially those from low-income backgrounds. It also reduces financial assistance to low-income college students.
Source: State schools chief vows to battle Trump over cuts
By Ryan McCarthy
Increased pension contributions school districts throughout California face spurred a two-word description by Fairfield-Suisun School District officials as they prepare the 2017-18 budget and consider more than $7 million in budget cuts.
“Pretty grim,” is how Michelle Henson, assistant superintendent of business services, described the situation.
Judi Honeychurch, president of the board of trustees, at the Thursday school board meeting agreed with the assessment.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun schools face more than $7M in cuts
By Lauren Camera
The U.S. Department of Education went on the offense Monday to protect federal education programs ahead of looming spending battles in Congress to stave of a government shutdown prior to the end of the fiscal year, Oct. 1.
Specifically, the department took aim at the appropriations bills that passed through the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives that would slash funding for federal education programs by $1.7 billion and $2.8 billion, respectively.
Those bills, which passed through appropriations committee this summer, have not been voted on by the full chambers.
In a press release, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan blasted the Republicans decision to slash the administrations Preschool Development Grant program, arguing it would pull funds away from states in the last two years of the grant.
via As Budget Battle Looms, Education Department Warns Against Early Ed Cuts – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Richard Bammer
Budget priorities for Fairfield-Suisun Unified’s 2015-16 budget “have already been set,” and they do not include a full restoration of the district’s elementary music program, said Superintendent Kris Corey.
“Our financial picture hasn’t changed” since district leaders unveiled from the January budget proposal of well more than $160 million for the coming year, she said.
Her remarks came one day after students, parents and some community members from Music For Our Children rallied outside the district’s central offices on Hilborn Road, about 30 minutes before a governing board meeting.
They also came about six weeks after the board considered $2 million in budget increases for, among other things, a full-time assistant principal at Armijo High; nearly four full-time career tech education teachers; and technology replacement, the latter item by far the biggest outlay, at $500,000.
via FSUSD board unlikely to fund elementary school music.
By Alyson Klein
So if you were hoping to wake up to a deal that ends the government shutdown and raises the debt ceiling, you were sorely disappointed. Talks continue today. And, education advocates are worried that if the feds don’t deal with sequestration (those five percent, across-the-board cuts) this fall, the window may be closed for a long time (story here).
A recent proposal by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a moderate, would keep the sequestration cuts in place for another six months, but would give agencies flexibility to decide where to make the reductions. Although the Collins proposal has run into trouble, particularly among Democrats who are upset about the fact that it would lock the cuts in place for another six months, the idea could pop up again as talks remain fluid.
via Should Arne Duncan Decide How to Distribute the Sequester Cuts? – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Alyson Klein
Congress is back in town this week, but education legislation is likely to remain on the back burner in both chambers for the next month—and maybe even for the rest of the year. One major reason? Syria. Another big reason? The budget.
Lawmakers still need to figure out the spending bills for fiscal year 2014, including the bill that finances the U.S. Department of Education and other programs important for children (such as Head Start).
via What’s Next For Education in Congress – Politics K-12 – Education Week.
By Mike Corpos
FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield-Suisun school board agreed on four main budget priorities Thursday for the 2013-14 school year, with a boost in employee compensation topping the list.
The decisions came after an extensive discussion during a budget workshop.
As each board member listed his or her priorities. Four topics rose to the top of the list. The board handed them off to the district administration to research and come back with dollar figures attached.
via Fairfield-Suisun school board sets budget priorities Daily Republic.