A shorter school year could be one result of a worse-than-expected state budget. The non-partisan California Legislative Analyst Office released a report on November 16 that forecasted revenues will be $3.7 billion below estimates used in crafting the 2011-12 budget. But unlike previous years, the current state spending plans calls for automatic cuts in the mid-year budget if revenues did not meet assumptions.
The $3.7 billion is enough to trigger cuts to all levels of education, including $1.4 billion to K-12 schools.
But another proviso this year: State law prevents districts from laying off teachers in mid-year budget cuts. That means districts that have already weathered years of budget cuts have little left to trim, making a week-long furlough at the end of the year an attractive option. A shorter school year was one of the options allowed by the legislature, although the furloughs need teacher approval.
Capistrano Unified trustees on Monday agreed to reopen negotiations with the Capistrano Unified Education Association in light of potential mid-year budget cuts. Three of five non-student days are already counted as furlough days for Capistrano teachers.
Governor Jerry Brown's Department of Finance will issue its own forecast for the remainder of the fiscal year next month, which will determine whether the cuts are made. The fiscal year ends June 30; CUSD’s elementary school year is set to end June 21, if no changes are made.
Here's the LAO report: Download LAO 2011 Mid Year