• Spectre of school layoffs gone with state’s May budget revision

    By Marge Ann Jameson

    The governor’s May revision to his proposed budget caused sighs of relief at schools around the state, and no where more so than Pacific Grove Unified School District.

    The governor backed down on his January proposal which would have shifted all adult education to the community colleges, a move unpopular with both adult education institutions and community colleges. Instead, there will likely be a two-year study about how to best provide education services to adult learners, whether in core programs such as high school diploma and English learner categories or in the leisure learner categories such as exercise, computers, and art. The adult education program at Pacific Grove Unified School District provides a broad spectrum of instruction, some of which may be shifted to Monterey Peninsula College in years to come.

    “Pink slips” had been given to all instruction personnel and others prior to the March 15 deadline, a move which must be made each year if there is the most remote possibility that the positions will not be funded. State law requires the notice be given early, even before the state budget is out which tells about funding for the fall semester. But with the May revision and restoration of funding and oversight left with K-12 districts, all employees who had been laid off were re-hired.

    The Pacific Grove program, which originally had its own funding category within the school district, found its budget whittled down when the state began to allow districts to take adult education funding and use it for K-12. Staffing and course offering cuts were made and fees were raised until administrators and staff felt that they were at the brink and could find no more cuts they could make. And then came the January budget which would effectively have shut the program down.

    Craig Beller, principal of both Pacific Grove and Carmel adult education programs, said that even with the threat going away for at least two years, some $40,000-$45,000 had to be taken out of the adult education budget. It was done by cutting support staff back from 12-month positions to 11.5- month positions and no one lost their job.

    The Governor is proposing $1 billion toward the cost of providing professional development, instructional materials, and technology required to implement the upcoming Common Core standards looming on the horizon. Because Pacific Grove Unified, along with Carmel and only 20 other schools in the state are basic aid districts, funding is dependent on property taxes in the local district and not Fair Share funding which attempts to equalize funding for revenue limit districts. As a result, according to PGUSD’s Assistant Superintendent Rick Miller, Pacific Grove will not see any of the new money the governor proposes for schools for “targeted funding.” “We’re still $6 million in property taxes away from worrying about Fair Share funding,” said Miller.

    There are some shifts coming in local programs and the district is set to hire four new teachers across the board for the 2013-14 school year, but there will be no change in categorical funding, said Miller.

     

     

     

    posted to Cedar Street Times on June 10, 2013

    Topics: Front PG News, Schools

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