Pasadena Unified Superintendent Announces School Board Will Take Action on Fiscal Stabilization Plan This Month

Published : Monday, February 5, 2018 | 6:40 PM

Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Brian McDonald

The Pasadena Unified Board of Education will take action this month on a Fiscal Stabilization Plan that could produce $6.9 million in savings, reductions including $2.47 million in central office cuts, and new revenues for the 2017-2018 school year, Superintendent Brian McDonald said in a lengthy mass email sent to the PUSD community today.

“We anticipate filing the District’s 2017-2018 Second Interim Report with a ‘qualified’ certification that returns us to fiscal stability,” McDonald said, later adding the District is now “on track to adopting a balanced budget by June 30.”

The first related action is expected to come this Thursday at a Special Board Meeting at which the Fiscal Stabilization Plan is likely to be adopted, multiple sources indicated.

“There is no doubt that the next few weeks will be a difficult and anxious time for some of our colleagues,” McDonald said in his letter.

Click for a copy of the letter 

McDonald outlined the process started last November by the Superintendent’s Budget Advisory Committee which he said culminated in the draft Fiscal Stabilization Plan that was presented to the Board of Education last Thursday for discussion.

That draft plan envisioned leaving unfilled a number of vacant positions, among them custodians, a security officer, a Behaviour Health Liaison Specialist, and a Human Resources Administrative assistant, as well as generating $2.84 million in one-time revenue gains to produce $6,936,572 in funds to address the current school year’s deficit.

“We began the 2017-2018 year with a $5.7 million deficit,” McDonald explained, “and $10-12 million in anticipated cuts in the next two years.”

McDonald also said that last Thursday the School Board adopted a retirement incentive plan that encourages eligible employees to retire early “in order to reduce the need for layoffs.”

McDonald said the District is “currently negotiating” a Memorandum of Understanding with United Teachers of Pasadena to formally begin that process.

He said he and the School Board are committed “to treating employees affected by these decisions with respect, dignity, and a deep and abiding gratitude for their service.”

In his letter, McDonald pulled no punches.

“Our district is confronting a tough fiscal reality: flat or decreasing revenue in the midst of rising costs, long-term unsustainable structures that increase spending automatically, and a higher bar for student learning and serving the greater needs of our students,” he wrote.

McDonald reminded the PUSD community that at the start of the school year, he had cautioned that the District would have to make budget reductions in the current year, and in the next two years.

The letter ended on a positive note.

“We have put in place a process to prioritize the use of our limited funds, build greater accountability that aligns with the State’s goals, and continually improves the way we plan and budget” McDonald concluded.

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