By Brittany Hanson/Garden Grove Journal
Although money is not considered by some to be an appropriate topic for the dinner table, it was the main event topic at about dinnertime on Tuesday at the board meeting of the Garden Grove Unified School District.
The money being talked about is the annual budget for the 2010-2011 school year. This year, the general fund expected revenue is $365,262,988 and the total general fund expenditures are listed to be $438,790,589.
The gap between these numbers is $73,527,601.
Although the school board must legally have an accepted school budget, there does not seem to be this kind of distinction for Sacramento.
“The budget needed to have been passed over 90 days ago,” said Superintendent Laura Schwalm, “By law we [GGUSD] are required. The only ones who are not required to follow the law [to pass a budget on time] are the state legislators.”
There isn’t a reserve to fill in this gap and as a result, decisions about reductions and cuts have had to be made in the months preceding the budget adoption.
Smaller sports programs, such as golf and badminton, have been left off of the yearly planning schedule for this school year.
Adult education in the district has had to face adjustments by not being free to take coursework. They now require pay for students to participate.
Also, educational aides across the district have been warned of reductions of their positions in the upcoming year.
According to a recent interview with Sue McCann, GGUSD’s business superintendent, the state shortchanged the school district a significant amount. McCann said that GGUSD should have been allotted $6,346.23 per student, however, it only received $4,931.15 per student.
According to Jim Franks, California School Employees Association Chapter 121 president, “We’re all really concerned about the fact that the state has not passed the budget. We’re working very closely with the business office trying to keep our budget numbers sound. We’re really in uncertain times. We can’t really estimate a good budget if the state has not passed one yet.”
Garden Grove Education Association President Chris Francis said in an email interview that the situation with the state budget is very taxing on the teachers and in the classroom.
“Right now, everybody is pretty anxious. It is becoming more and more difficult for us to do our jobs in the classroom. We have more students in the classroom with less supplies to service them, including aides. Now, we will be paid less for the 2010-2011 school year for even more work because of the drastic cuts our state legislature has placed on us,” said Francis.
“I again would like to point out that this is the doing of the state legislature. They have not made public education a priority by forcing a higher percentage of the funding cuts on education. GGUSD has always operated in a financially conservative manner, but unfortunately it is no longer enough,” he added.