Category Archives: Financials

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.

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

SVUSD Itemized List of Potential Cuts for 2011-2012

The following is a letter from SVEF with an itemized list with associated costs of things that would potentially need to be cut to close the projected shortfall of $950,000 for 2011-2012 if a parcel tax measure is not passed. The letter is reproduced below in it’s entirety (excluding personal email addresses):


SVUSD Expenses – Items that would be cut if we don’t raise $950,000 for 2011-12 School Year

Dear Parents and Friends of Scotts Valley Schools,
No one needs much of a reminder about the terrible fiscal shape California is in.  Public school districts are being especially hard hit — and Scotts Valley Unified is no exception.  Already one of the lowest-funded K-12 districts in the state, we are constantly challenged to provide the best for our students. As enrollment declines, expectations for student achievement are raised, reporting requirements are increased and funding per pupil decreases, these challenges become even greater.  Since 2007, the district has gone from a budget of $19 million to $16.4 million. This has resulted in layoffs of personnel, loss of student programs, less maintenance and custodial support, fewer teachers and larger class sizes.
The worst is yet to come.  Next year, 2011-12, the district must make additional cuts of close to $1 million dollars, which we will be expected to maintain for 2012/2013. Over the course of the coming months, the Board of Trustees will be considering, with community input, the following cuts.  None of these will be easy to make.  

< td align="left">Eliminating all but ONE counselor
Actions Estimated Saving
Closing all four libraries $55,178
Closing the high school Career Center $9,197
Reducing accounting personnel at the District Office $12,504
Eliminating grades 6-12 music program $65,000
Reducing site clerical staff to one-third time $76,927
Eliminating a custodian $37,380
Eliminating SVMS academy and increasing class size* $144,960
Adding 5 academic furlough days (5 fewer days for students)* $265,017
Adding 5 furlough days to certificated staff (non-student days)* $200,178
Adding 5 furlough days to administrative staff* $26,835
TOTAL SAVINGS $1,080,937

The items starred are subject to negotiations with our teachers union and bargaining units.  Please understand the list identifies two kinds of furloughs – non-teaching days (furloughs) and teaching days which would shorten the school year (academic furloughs).  Administrators would take the same number of days as other staff. To meet our financial obligations, these cuts would need to remain in place for at least TWO YEARS.
I’m guessing right now you’re as angry as we are.  These cuts follow a decrease in state funding of close to $1000 per student in the last four years. In previous years, we managed to develop a balanced budget by cutting positions, services and programs at the district office and all school sites.  We eliminated positions and hours of administrators, teachers, counselors, the district nurse, instructional assistants, custodians, secretaries and more. We have increased class sizes at all sites. All administrators have voluntarily taken furlough days to help balance the budget. Experts predict that we will not be back to our 2007 funding level until 2013-14. 
What can you do?  Make an immediate tax deductible donation to the Scotts Valley Educational Foundation, where the money will go directly to our schools to save programs and positions.  Join the Ed Foundation in its quest to identify and apply for grant money, or support the variety of fundraisers the Foundation has scheduled each year to support our schools.  If you know of a business willing to sponsor a child, a family or an entire program, please reach out to them.  Your company may support matching donations; please ask your HR department about such a program.  If every family in our district donated $365 per child, we would reach nearly $970,000.  To date, the program has raised $30,000.  

$ a day table 2

Donations can be made on the SVEF website at  Or send a check to Scotts Valley Educational Foundation, 245-M Mt. Hermon Road, Box 150, Scotts Valley, CA 95066. To volunteer with the Ed Foundation, contact Katie Bagley or Mary Dettle.

Charlotte Multer and Allison Niday
Current and Incoming Presidents, SVEF

Clearly, this is not a list anyone can be happy about and unfortunately part of the difficult job the staff at the District Office is tasked with.

Scotts Valley Unified School District Salary Comparison

Here are some interesting numbers from the latest (2008-2009) School Accountability Report Card (SARC), notice on average Scotts Valley Unified School District (SVUSD) pays less in all categories. Also notice SVUSD spends a greater percent of its budget on salaries yet on average they’re still lower than other similar districts. The following information is directly quoted from the SARC Report:

Teacher and Administrative Salaries (Fiscal Year 2008-09) 

This table displays district salaries for teachers, principals, and superintendents, and compares these figures to the state averages for districts of the same type and size. The table also displays teacher and administrative salaries as a percent of a district’s budget, and compares these figures to the state averages for districts of the same type and size based on the salary schedule. Detailed information regarding salaries may be found on the CDE Certificated Salaries & Benefits Web page.

Category District Amount State Average for Districts in Same Category
Beginning Teacher Salary $37,179 $38,941
Mid-Range Teacher Salary $54,665 $59,686
Highest Teacher Salary $71,827 $77,828
Average Principal Salary (Elementary) $92,517 $94,258
Average Principal Salary (Middle) $95,255 $98,271
Average Principal Salary (High) $98,634 $104,869
Superintendent Salary $139,277 $142,247
Percent of Budget for Teacher Salaries 39.30% 38.20%
Percent of Budget for Administrative Salaries 5.90% 5.90%


Scotts Valley District Office Staff Offers Two Furlough Days for 2010-2011

Over the past several months I’ve read plenty of criticism in print and online of the Scotts Valley District and School Board and I rarely see mention of the many things they do to help in these challenging times.

I nearly missed the following line item from minutes of the May 11th Scotts Valley school board meeting (emphasis is mine):

1.  Accept a Proposal From the Scotts Valley Unified School District Administrative Team to Reduce the Length of Their 2010-11 Work Year by 2 Days  
MSP     Gumz/Roth     4-0     Student Advisory Vote: Aye

As the representative of the district’s Leadership Team, Director of Technology Shannon Calden presented to the Board a proposal of a two-day reduction to each administrative work calendar for 2010-11 as they have also done in 2009-10. She explained that the Leadership Team consists of 11.5 administrators which constitutes less than 5% of the district’s workforce. The Leadership Team is also proposing for the 2010-11 school year that when a Leadership Team member must be present at a site or district event on a weekend or holiday, the administrator may count that as a work day, up to five days per school year. Ms. Calden also mentioned that the Leadership Team would be willing to consider a larger reduction to the work calendar if any other bargaining units also agreed to a reduction in their work calendars. Board Members expressed their appreciation and gratitude to all the members of the Leadership Team for their willingness to step forward and help during the district’s fiscal crisis. Board President Michael Shulman said that it is difficult to ask parents and the community to help financially during this crisis if the district has not done everything it can to reduce expenditures.

Ann Codd, SVEA President addressed the Board to applaud the Leadership Team for their contribution, but requested acknowledgement and consideration from the Board for what teachers have taken on with increased class sizes. SVEA members will not be offering furlough days.

I believe the above is a clear demonstration of the District’s leadership in these difficult times and deserves to be recognized. In previous posts, looking at Cupertino’s fundraising efforts it’s clear a large component came from their district’s four unions electing to take five furlough days saving $2.5 million dollars.

Based on data from the most recent SARC reports teacher salaries (for 2008-2009) constitute roughly 39.3% of the SVUSD budget. From that same report we learn salaries in SVUSD are consistently below the state average for districts in our same category though the percentage of SVUSD’s budget spent on salaries was greater than the state-wide average (39.2% vs 38.2%).

Update May 20, 2010 Added other local district furlough information.

Santa Cruz 5 days 2010-2011
Pajaro Valley 10 days 2010-2011
Cupertino 5 days 2010-2011
San Jose 5 days 2010-2011

Scotts Valley School District Revenue Limit Deficits

Revenue Limit is defined as the maximum amount of money a district
will receive for each unit of Average Daily Attendance (ADA).

The formula for calculating Revenue Limit Funding is:

((Revenue Limit X Deficit) + Adjustment) X ADA

This formula ties the School District’s budget to student attendance and enrollment. This chart displays gap in the Entitlement vs. Funded Revenue Limit from 2007 to 2010. In other words, the difference between what should have been granted and what was granted.

Source: Fiscal Advisory Presentation – Feb. 2, 2010