Burbank Unified officials this week warned that if Proposition 30 fails on Nov. 6, the district will likely have to resort to pay cuts and layoffs to address a projected deficit next year of more than $13 million.
Included in the doomsday scenario would be unpaid furlough days and increased class sizes, officials told the school board Monday.
“We will have to implement reductions for ’13-’14 to survive,” said Christine Statton, assistant superintendent of administrative services. “Increasing class sizes is not easy in any circumstance, but these are all the options. Where do you put all the puzzle pieces?”
Gov. Jerry Brown this year gave school districts permission to reduce the number of instructional days from 180 to 160. And since Burbank Unified can save $426,300 per furlough day, the district may consider reducing the calendar.
One of four scenarios Statton presented Monday would have the district take up to 12 furlough days if Prop. 30 fails. In that same scenario, employees could also endure a 3% salary reduction.
“I think we’ve heard clearly from our bargaining units in the past that if they’re going to be cut, clearly they’d rather do it in the form of furlough days” instead of salary roll backs, said school board President Larry Applebaum.
Another scenario would reduce employee salaries and shorten district’s school year.
But too many reductions could impact quality in schools, said school board member Ted Bunch, pointing to what he witnessed in 2003 when he was first elected.
“We always get into the problem where if you start cutting staff too much, you start cutting teachers too much, you lose people — but you also lose the ability to function as well as you can,” Bunch said.
Supt. Jan Britz also cautioned that salary reductions could lead Burbank Unified push teachers to private schools, where the salaries have generally become as competitive as those in public schools.
“That’s another concern — is losing those people,” Britz said.
District officials will plan to meet again to tackle the deficit after the November election reveals the fate of the competing school funding measures — Propositions 30 and 38.
“November 6th will come and we’ll know for sure what’s going to happen,” Applebaum said.
-- Kelly Corrigan, Times Community News
Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan