During its Tuesday meeting, the Redondo Beach Board of Education regretfully approved furlough days for the upcoming school year in —the first the district has experienced in recent memory.
After four public hearings that were opened and closed without public comment, the school board affirmed multiple memoranda of understanding between the district and the Redondo Beach Teachers Association, as well as with the California School Employees Association, calling for furloughs.
The agreement with the RBTA, which was hammered out earlier this month, calls for five furlough days, while the agreement with the CSEA calls for four furlough days. Additionally, confidential classified employees of the district must take five furlough days, and classified and certificated management in the district must take six furlough days.
"(The agreements for furlough days) were not easy … I think everyone would agree that this is a catastrophic situation," said Assistant Superintendent Nancy Billinger.
The district decided it was necessary to implement the furlough days to help close a $2 million budget shortfall caused by cuts at the state level. Measure Q, which the school board last month voted to place on the November ballot, will also help ease the district's financial crunch by paying for new classroom and solar technology, among other capital improvements.
Bond monies cannot be used to pay for teacher salaries.
Despite the furlough days and Measure Q, teachers and other district employees could see up to a total of 17 furlough days depending on the outcome of two statewide tax initiatives on the November ballot.
"We are going to be spending a tremendous amount of time and effort working toward the passage of Prop. 30," RBTA President Monica Joyce told the school board on Tuesday. "Our teachers cannot afford 17 furlough days, and our students cannot afford 17 furlough days."
If neither proposition passes, "the cuts will be automatic and catastrophic to Redondo Beach," Joyce warned.
The two measures on the ballot—Proposition 30 and Proposition 38—both call for tax increases to support schools. Proposition 30, introduced by Gov. Jerry Brown, calls for a quarter-cent increase in the state sales tax and raises taxes on the state's top earners. Molly Munger's Proposition 38 increases state income tax rates for most Californians for 12 years.
"If (Proposition 30) doesn't pass, we will lose $457 per student," said school board President Anita Avrick. "If it does pass, hopefully we won't."
According to Avrick, Munger's proposal would bring $7.8 million annually for the first several years, and more in later years; however, "that money effectively can't be spent on salaries," she said. Nevertheless, the funds could be used to pay for teacher salaries if they're part of a specific program, such as one to reduce class sizes, Avrick said.
"it's very important that everyone gets out to vote because we need them both," she said. "We need something."