Representatives for the school district and Glendale Teacher’s Assn. continue to negotiate on salary structures, capping health benefits and other issues. Union officials said members will not accept a health benefit cap, and instead seek to save the district $3.8 million annually by taking five furlough days on school days every year for the next three years.
“We are still prepared, as we have been, to help the district make it through the next three years by meeting their needs with five furlough days,” said Tami Carlson, the teacher’s association president. “We hope these projections do not come to fruition.”
California must close a $19.9-billion deficit by July 2011, and education is poised to lose $1.2 billion. That figure is likely to grow when state budget proposals are rehashed in May, said Glendale Unified Chief Financial Officer Eva Lueck.
“[The] May revise will come in much more negative, so more reductions to come is what’s anticipated,” she said. “We must certify to the county and the state we are fiscally solvent and can meet our needs this year and two subsequent years.”
The district continues to spend beyond its means, Escalante said. Administrators are strongly considering increasing class sizes for kindergarten through third grade, which could generate 112 teacher layoffs, officials said.
As it stands, the district would not be fiscally solvent for three consecutive years, and could register a qualified budget, which would prompt officials from the Los Angeles County Department of Education to increase their oversight of the district’s finances and governance.
“We [would] basically [be] on the county’s watch list,” Lueck said. “They will be requesting an action plan that will bring us into compliance and they will require us to do an additional interim report that says, ‘Yes this is our plan and yes we can meet our needs,’ and they will watch over that.”
In December, district officials made their projections on state advice that a cost of living adjustment, or COLA, would be at 0.5%. By January, state officials passed a negative COLA, essentially taking funding away from school districts, in addition to a $6.4-million loss for 2010-11.
“Over the past several months, we have seen our financial condition just continue to deteriorate it seems like every time the governor moves his lips,” Escalante said.
“Some of the options we have in order to repair the damage [have] been done. And it pretty much is irreparable.”