Budget warning for Pasco school employees
With another multimillion-dollar budget shortfall looming, the Pasco school district administration has sent a frank memo to all employees telling them that the coming year will again involve spending cuts. The missive by district spokeswoman Summer Romagnoli doesn't outright say that raises and step increases and the like are off the table for the fifth straight year, but it's implied.
"We will be mindful of the impact on our employees and the classroom. Unfortunately, the options before the Board are very limited since so many areas of the budget have already been affected," Romagnoli writes.
United School Employees of Pasco president Lynne Webb told the Gradebook that she and her negotiation teams will pore over the budgets carefully to find ways to save, as the staff cannot absorb another year with no added pay while the cost of living keeps rising. The district will again convene a budget advisory committee that includes administrators and staff to search for savings, to keep the impact on workers and students to a minimum, Romagnoli said.
Read on for her full memo:
From: Summer Romagnoli <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2012 15:39:22 -0500
To: Summer Romagnoli <email@example.com>
Subject: Budget Update
Please see the attached budget spreadsheet that was shared at last night’s board meeting. As you will see, our District is grappling with a projected shortfall of $25.6 million for the 2012-2013 school year. This estimate does not include the cost of implementing several mandates that were passed by the Legislature this year.
This is the fifth consecutive year of multi-million dollar shortfalls. During each of the previous four years, the District has streamlined operations and implemented many cost-saving measures in order to balance the budget. We understand that the economic conditions have caused severe hardship for many of our employees and their families. Additionally, as much as we have tried to protect classroom spending and effective programs for students, the budget has taken a toll on these priority areas as well.
As we approach the difficult choices that lie ahead in order to balance the 2012-2013 school year budget, we will be mindful of the impact on our employees and the classroom. Unfortunately, the options before the Board are very limited since so many areas of the budget have already been affected. We will once again strive to ensure that the budget process is transparent and inclusive of all stakeholders. All employees will be updated on a regular basis and will have multiple opportunities to share constructive input. Ideas may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
The Board anticipates holding budget workshops this May, and all ideas will be explored. We will also have the Employee Budget Committee (representing employees from all areas) meet again to consider options, and will work closely with the Union throughout this process. This will not be an easy process, but we remain committed to making it as open and fair as possible. While this is sobering news, I trust you will find the information useful. As always, please do not hesitate to contact the Communications Department if you have questions or concerns.