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Estimating up to $5 million dollar budget short fall

Rocklin, Calif. – In response to the state budget crisis and the $5 billion dollar reduction to educational funding, the Rocklin Unified School District is estimating a budget short fall between $4 to $5 million dollars for the 2009-10 school year.  

Approximately 85% of the district’s budget is invested in employee salaries and benefits. An additional 8% goes to fix cost such as utilities, lease payments, insurances, and so forth.  

As such, the RUSD can not sustain a budget cut of this magnitude without the loss of some employees and a reduction to our educational programs and services. 

Over the pass several months the Trustee’s have been gathering input from our community, parents, and staff as to how these cuts should be made. From feedback on the RUSD web survey, budget workshops, and community forums, the board is in the process of determining exactly which areas of the budget will be reduced.  

In order to give themselves maximum flexibility in each program area, the RUSD has been forced to notice 106 certificated employees (teachers, counselors, nurses, administrators) that they may not have a position in the district next year. By law, if a certificated employee does not receive this notice by March 15th, then they are automatically re-employed for the following year.  

The District remains optimistic that the associations will be willing to make some concessions. RUSD administrators and central office staff have already given back the COLA they received for this year. The RUSD is hoping the teachers union and service workers union would also be willing to do likewise.  

 In September the district settled negotiations with all employee groups by enhancing the salary schedules 4% effective for part of last year and another .68% for this year. If all employee groups would agree to rescind this increase for next year, the district is fairly confident that they would not have to lay off any employee. 

The law requires the district to give a final notification of termination no later than May 15th. Over the next 6 weeks, the Board will be deciding on such issues as to raise K-3 class size from 20 students to 31 (a savings of $1.775 million dollars), reducing the music program, counseling services, nursing services, administrative services, supplies, equipment purchases, increasing transportation fees, and the list goes on. Once those decisions are made, the exact number of employee reductions will be identified. 

This is a difficult undertaking and one the Board and district are struggling with everyday. Children did not cause this problem, nor did educators. This is the result of a legislature that has inadequately funded education for the past five years and has not been able to agree on a long term solution to the state budget challenges. However, it is children and educators who will be paying the price for their indecisiveness.