Monthly Archives: February 2011

SVUSD files Qualified Certification of Financial Condition

On February 8th, 2011 Scotts Valley Unified School District filed a Qualified financial condition report. A Qualified certification as signed by Superintendent Dr. Susan Silver states:

As President of the Governing Board of this school district, I certify that based upon current projections this district may not meet its financial obligations for the current fiscal year or two subsequent fiscal years.

The areas where the district did not meet its obligations include (for definitions of each area refer to the document linked above):

  • Other Revenues
  • Other Expenditures
  • Deficit Spending
  • Fund Balance
  • Temporary Interfund Borrowings
  • Contributions
  • Long-term commitments
  • Postemployment Benefits Other than Pensions

The three year projection as required by the state predicts the following shortfalls:

2010-2011 2011-2012 2012-2013
(507,691) (1,782,639) (2,227,929)

Given salaries account for the vast majority of spending it’s difficult to picture a scenario where additional cuts won’t dramatically affect the number of teacher’s the district can employ.

Chrysler's Super Bowl ad did it resonate with you?

A friend on Facebook posed the question “I’m curious, what was the impression of this ad for people outside MI?”.

I thought it might be interesting to expand the discussion here.

Here’s my West Coast 🙂 angle. I’d guess it resonates much better there than here. For me it’s very difficult to sell a surviving-the-hard-knocks storyline after the not-so-distant massive bailouts for a company that simply lost all sense of innovation let alone fiscal responsibility.

The ad has me admiring Ford’s decision to pass on the Super Bowl even more. Yet for Chrysler quite the opposite, they’ve seemingly learned nothing. This two minute production costs $12 million in Super Bowl ad fees alone forgetting the $9 million production costs. That’s 262, $80K/year UAW jobs for a year. They just don’t get it.

This line is revealing “Now it’s probably not the one you’ve been reading in papers.” clearly referring to the last few years of bad bailout press as though it’s all been a conspiracy! Amazing.

It’s hard to believe Chrysler feels ratcheting up the attitude to a fevered pitch is the best tact to sell this product. Admittedly, I’m not familiar with this model car but how about a bite of humble pie? Better yet, how about explaining why people should buy this car over an import beyond heaps of attitude.

Can you tell this touched a cord?  

What did you make of this ad?

[UPDATE] A few links/quotes:

Chrysler, which is 10 percent owned by the U.S. government because of a $12.5 billion bailout in 2009, had the lowest fleet gas mileage of any major automaker in 2009 at 19.2 mpg. –link

From Chrysler’s home page flash rotator:

Chrysler Group LLC to Invest $179 Million in Jobs for Michigan, Fuel Efficient Engines for North America

That’s dated December ’09, after the bailout they commit to fuel efficient engines. –link

SVUSD Personel cuts 2005-2010

The district has released data reflecting the impact of many years of consecutive cuts. Sad.

The community needs to find ways to engage people, what do you think will do that?

Note: Fractional numbers represent a reduction in the number of hours for the specified position. Whole numbers represent individuals.

2.5 School Custodians
1.6 District Maintenance
0.4 Transportation
0.5 Business Office
2   Library Clerks
0.75 Secretary/Clerical (0.25 each at Middle school, high school and District Office)
0.5 High school campus Supervision
3.5 Instructional Assistants - General Ed
15  Elementary teachers
2.9 Middle School teachers
7.6 High School Teachers
1   Elementary School Counselor
0.4 Middle School Counselor
0.6 High School Counselor
0.5 Assistant Principal

SVUSD Staff FAQ

What has been the effect of layoffs on Scotts Valley Unified over the years?

The district has released data reflecting the impact of many years of consecutive cuts.

2.5 School Custodians
1.6 District Maintenance
0.4 Transportation
0.5 Business Office
2   Library Clerks
0.75 Secretary/Clerical (0.25 each at MS, HS & District Office)
0.5 High school campus Supervision
3.5 Instructional Assistants - General Ed
15  Elementary teachers
2.9 Middle School teachers
7.6 High School Teachers
1   Elementary School Counselor
0.4 Middle School Counselor
0.6 High School Counselor
0.5 Assistant Principal

 

Why not demand teacher retirements?

What incentives are in place for teachers to retire?

Can volunteers come in and help with the library, custodial, etc. positions that have been cut?

What is the relationship between the Superintendent and teacher union leadership?

How much is saved if school staff take a 1 or 2 day furlough?

One furlough day for the District office is roughly $11,000 and one SVEA furlough day is $50,000 for the entire district. These numbers are based on conversations I (Steve Trefethen) have had with the district office employees during the 2010 Strategic Planning meeting. Dr. Silver was also quoted in the Santa Cruz Sentinel regarding the $11,000 figure for the District Office Staff.
The SVEA (Teacher’s Union) has voted against furlough days for 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 whereas the District office took two furlough days in 2009-2010 and will take an additional two days in 2010-2011. The district office has indicated a willingness to take additional days in 2010-2011 if the SVEA were to take furlough days.
Recently the Scotts Valley Education Foundation (SVEF) sent the following email to the district outlining the severity of the cuts required to avoid the expected $950K shortfall for 2011-2012. Notice the impact of furlough days on the teacher’s union.

What can be done to solidify the alliance between the board, superintendent, and teachers?

How are teachers holding up with the larger class sizes? 

How can we get more classroom aides (or whatever we call them now)?

What is the cost to the district for retiree health benefits?

A study was done by Total Compensation System regarding retiree benefits for SVUSD. The results have been publish by the district here. As you can see from these results retirement benefits for current employees is currently (Jan 2011) not being funded which will cost the district more over the long term.

Understanding the magnitude of the SVUSD budget crisis

The chart below puts into perspective how difficult it will be to use fundraising as a means to offset the SVUSD budget crisis. The pie equals $950,000 with the level of current fundraising dollars ($78,000 as of Jan. 27, 2011) carved out. As you can see total fundraising for the year represents less than 1/10th or just 8.2% of the projected shortfall. Unfortunately, the scale used on the thermometers posted around the district severely mask affect fundraising has had at offsetting the shortfall. I’ve included the thermometer used on the SVEF website here for comparison using a linear scale for comparison. The whole point of this post and this site is to ensure that people have accurate information. While having the signs around the district is a fantastic idea I think the impression is misleading.
I’ll note these numbers do not include dollars raised to be raised at the upcoming auctions. However, those dollars are PTA dollars (vs. SVEF) and therefore typically used to pay for programs at their respective elementary schools.

Fundraising Thermometer

For comparison here is the sign by the Scotts Valley Middle School.
SVEF Dollar a day