West Contra Costa Unified School District Superintendent Matthew Duffy recently released this update about how the school district is addressing a $47.8 million budget deficit.
As we get ready for the much anticipated President Week break, I want to give you an update on the progress that we have made and continue to make on the District’s budget deficit. As I mentioned last week, I am confident that we can solve this challenge.
On Wednesday night, the Board approved $8 million in ongoing spending cuts, which is the first step in the process to solve our budget deficit. The Board voted to make $6 million in non-salary reductions and cut another $2 million from the discretionary funds allocated to individual schools. While a difficult decision to make, the cuts are necessary to minimize the impact to our classrooms and employees.
The next step in this process will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 26, when the Board will vote on authorizing significant cuts to the central office management team, saving another $2 million. These cuts will reduce the number of unrepresented management positions from 44 to 33, which is a 25% reduction in services and positions.
The remaining $22 million that must be reduced for the 2020-21 school year will come through negotiations with WCCUSD’s employee unions. As you know, we are working closely with the employee unions to develop formal agreements over the next few weeks.
I am confident that we will finalize these agreements soon. However, due to state laws, many teachers will unfortunately receive preliminary layoff notices. While this is concerning and may cause you to worry, I firmly believe that we will be able to rescind the vast majority of those notices once we finish our negotiations with the bargaining units.
On February 26, all assistant principals, vice principals, and certificated administrators who are not principals will be notified that they may be laid off or reassigned at the end of the year. Certificated administrators in our special education department and school principals will largely be exempt from these notifications, although a small number may be affected.
Next year, there will be a principal at every school. While we are still in negotiations, it is our intention that each comprehensive high school will have at least two assistant principals, and each comprehensive middle school will have at least one assistant principal. We are still investigating the administrative staffing ratios at the elementary and K-8 schools.
I want to assure you that District staff, the Board of Education and each of WCCUSD’s employee unions units are committed to solving this challenge while minimizing the impact on your child’s education. We will get through this together and we will remain committed to providing the best possible services to all of our communities while we lobby the State of California to appropriately fund public education.