SPUSD Will Cut 39 People if Parcel Tax Fails

With the South Pasadena Unified School District spending more than it's bringing in, renewing Measure S is critical, school officials said Tuesday night.

Even with the passage of Proposition 30, South Pasadena Unified School District is still deficit spending and needs to find another $2M if the parcel tax renewal fails, said Assistant Superintendent of Business Scott Price.

That money would come from cutting 39 staff positions for the 2013-14 school year, Price told the school board Tuesday night, noting the eliminations would amount to $2,070,000.

"Mrs. Reed is looking at seniority lists and preparing for the next step,'' Price said during his presentation of the board's first interim budget. The report provides analysis to verify if the District is on target financially and provides the opportunity to recalculate the 3-year projection. Board members voted 5-0 to approve it. 

In June 2009 South Pasadena voters approved a four-year parcel tax of $288 for single parcels and $95 for each unit in four-plex parcels. It sunsets this coming June and without a renewal, the district faces teacher layoffs, class size increases, and cuts including libraries, arts, music, and classroom academics, officials said.

While information about several upcoming bond and parcel tax elections are available on the Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk website, the language for South Pasadena's parcel tax is still being fine tuned, said media representative Angie Comer. Superintendent Joel Shapiro added that the Board will make a decision on Friday concerning the exact language of a ballot measure.

The March 12 election will be mail-in ballots only and sample ballots should arrive to residents' homes in January or February 2013.

Back in February 2012, Patch polled readers to find out if they would support a parcel tax renewal. Out of 170 votes, 55 percent opposed it, while 45 percent supported it. You may read the multiple comments here. 

Special taxes require approval at an election by at least 2/3 of those voting on the measure.

While the financial picture looks bleak, Shapiro pointed out with an increase of 64 students this year, the district will receive additional revenue, roughly $300,000 it didn't have last year. Still, given the prospect of losing the the estimated $1.9 million from a parcel tax renewal, Price called the budget projections "terrible news,'' adding, "These types of cuts will affect students deeply.''

And the cuts could go deeper than those 39 positions.

Shapiro said another vulnerable position is the math intervention teacher at the middle school -- eliminating that greatly needed position is not something the board wants to do, but it's something members will have to consider, he said. 

"It's a critical need that we have this parcel tax,'' he said. 

Positions to be Eliminated for 2013-14 if Measure S Renewal Fails

• 23 teachers in K-3 (enlarging ratios from 20:1 to 30:1)

• 2 teachers, elementary arts (music and drama)

• two teachers, 9th grade English

• two elementary counselors

• one high school counselor

• one library clerk

• three elementary library technicians

• three elementary computer aides

• one intervention counselor

• one math coach


Public Hearing to Address Parcel Tax Friday

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Narwhal of Reason December 12, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Follow the money. All roads lead to ===========> Pensions <
Rosanne December 13, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Why aren't there any cuts to administrative positions? And if the proposed cuts are approved, it should be based on performance not seniority. I have seen a terrible performing counselor at the high school who has been with the district for years, meanwhile there is fantastic counselor who has been with the district a couple of years. I sure hope the district also abides by the Ed Code to have the schools' SSC input on these funding issues.
Justanotheropinion December 14, 2012 at 04:19 AM
I couldn't agree with Rosanne more. The district and the schools can do with less admn. positions. You don't need 3 ppl to do the job of 1. Too much admn. fat across the board from the schools up to the district office. Yes, some will have to work a little harder and it may require some OT, but I'd rather loose a Secretary or a figure head than a good teacher. As for which teachers to cut, seniority/tenure should NEVER be considered. If you aren't effective and others in your same position are better at educating, that you should be gone. The private sector does it all the time and companies don't seem to crumble. They readjust, reallocate work and they manage. Maybe if the tax payers of SP saw some significant changes in how things were run, there might be an increase in favor of Prop 39. If you keep doing business as usual, you will get the same result. Divided into 2 payments, it's not a large sum of money that you are asking for. For some it's a hardship and for others it is not. I don't have kids in the district, but believe in what SP schools have built. Personally, I don't believe it's a good business practice to continue to throw money at a problem when no changes are made. I will vote yes to have this renewed, but unless there are significant changes, it will be my last affirmative vote (because we all know this will come up again when this one sunsets). Please believe, at some point, the well will run dry.....that point is coming into focus.
John Dwaileebe December 20, 2012 at 09:23 PM
FOLKS THIS IS ALL A RUSE. The district has ample reserves 3 years out. They are merely trying to frighten the community into giving them money. The Collective Bargaining Agreement which governs class size maximums and staffing ratios wouldn't allow losing 39 teachers. But Joel knows that the community doesn't know that. Not to mention the District has NEVER had as much $$$$ as they do now. THEY ARE LYING TO YOU!!!!
Justanotheropinion December 21, 2012 at 05:14 AM
John Dwaileebe posted about 3 comments today on this topic - how come only one shows? I'm interested in receiving more information about the state of the district - especially if what we have been given from officials is not accurate.


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