The Gilroy Unified School District learned that it could be as much as $7 million in the hole for the 2012-13 school year if voters don’t approve a temporary tax package initiated by Gov. Jerry Brown on the November ballot.
The district is already facing a $3.2 million shortfall next year, and could face an additional $4 million in cuts from the state because of a lack of revenue, according to GUSD Superintendent Deborah Flores and Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Rebecca Wright.
“We are definitely in a crisis situation in regards to funding,” said GUSD Board President Rhoda Bress. “We need to plan for two different scenarios, and the budget will be an ongoing discussion.”
Bress said the board will discuss several options over the next several months on how to balance next year’s budget before it takes effect July 1.
Since a large majority of the district budget is personnel expenses, one of the options the board discussed during their Thursday night board meeting was the possibility of imposing another eight furlough days to the school calendar for next year, matching the eight furlough days that are currently in place this school year.
Other options include the possibility of increasing class sizes next year or moving around categorical funds into the district’s general fund. The board also revisited the idea of putting a , and worked with consultants to explore the different ways they could poll Gilroy residents.
“This is the very preliminary stages of discussing whether it has a chance of passing or not,” Bress said. “My expectation is that more ideas will come as we go down this route.”
According to board trustee Mark Good, the poll will provide outreach to Gilroy residents about the tax and allow them to explore how much the annual fee would be and determine the best time to put it on the ballot.
Good also presented the option of joining with other school districts in suing the state for failing to maintain its funding responsibilities to public education in accordance to Proposition 98.
“The state hasn’t followed the law for years, it’s outrageous,” Good said. “Someone needs to hold them to that. We don’t have any other places to cut.”
Good said if the board decides to participate in joint litigation against the state, it will look to join efforts from participating districts through the California School Boards Association and neighboring school districts.