Fullerton School District’s Budget is Really Screwed Up

Let’s keep this simple – today the Fullerton School Board is staring down the barrel of an unprecedented budget hole. To insulate themselves from the difficult decisions, the board is asking the “Budget Advisory Committee” to recommend a solution. This committee consists of unionized teachers, administrators and PTA parents.

At this point, the budget shortfall is at least $10,000,000. How will they bridge that 11% gap?

Of course we’ve seen plenty of threats to reduce special programs, administrative overhead and other gimmicks, but the elephant in the room is that 90% of the unrestricted funds go to employee pay and benefits.


Mathematically there is no possible way to revive this beast without one or more of the following:

  • Increased classroom sizes (layoff teachers)
  • Reduced teacher salaries and benefits
  • New property taxes

We already know that the teachers union won’t concede to meaningful salary or staff reductions unless confronted with the apocalypse. Taxpayers are severely financially strained in the middle of a massive recession, and are clearly ready to pitchfork any elected who suggests more taxes.

So what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

18 Replies to “Fullerton School District’s Budget is Really Screwed Up”

  1. So even if they cut every single “management” position, they would only reduce the hole by half. Public employee unions and the weak-knee’d politicians who coddle them are the problem.

  2. All (Dems, Reps, Greens, etc.) the Fullerton tax payers will unite together and reject a parcel tax so that should not be an option.

  3. Dire circumstances call for sober judgement. We are past the time to whine about whose ox is getting gored and it is time to face reality and accept that a combination of things will have to go in to the cuts.

    First and foremost we should all agree that the kids basic education is the priority not union jobs.

    The overall budget needs to be cut by 11%. How about everyone takes an immediate 7% pay cut. We get rid of all gimmick programs such as computer, IB, Gate etc. but keep sports and music which are for all the kids rather than a few.

    Next, cut the ranks of management at the district office and eliminate ANY benefit to board members that has a cost (health insurance being the main but not only one).

    Cut benefits to the bone. Basically you get pay, health insurance at Kaiser (or whoever is least expensive) and that is it. Limited sick days should be paid as that would also limit expense on subs.

    If the above does not get the job done then look at cutting teachers and allow the PTA at each campus to decide which teachers go.

    1. This guy has it right. It’s too bad he’s not in charge.

      There are simple solutions to the budget crisis, but they require the unions to give back a portion of what they have taken from the public. Fat pigs, fat chance.

  4. The public sector unions should be disbanded.

    Give them all 401K’s like the rest of us.

    Their pay should not exceed private sector pay for similar positions.

    If they do not like it, let them strike and hire replacement teachers, after all there are plenty of people who need good jobs right now.

  5. Since (I believe) teachers can strike, this suggestion has 2 parts:

    (1) give the teachers a choice … a 25% pay, pension, and benefits cut across the board (but perhaps with a smaller cut for the lower paid), or a 25% cut in staff with nothing but contractually required severance pay to those let go, and

    (2) If they strike, do what former President Regan did, fire them all. It won’t be “easy”, but it will be a lot easier than THEY think to replace them. And once done, you will be praised and thanked by TAXPAYERS throughout the country … and likely, well respected for your gumption, internationally as well.

  6. “Wrong”, I understand where you coming from, but administrative cuts alone won’t be even close to enough. Even if by some miracle they cut the administrative fat by 50%, they would still need to bring in an additional 7.5% in cuts from somewhere else.

    I do like the timeline perspective. I’d bet that we wouldn’t have to push expenses back too far in time to balance the budget even with today’s “reduced” funding.

  7. I’d believe that people became teachers not only for the love of teaching, but also because it is a decent paying job, with decent benefits, and a pension plan. Teaching requires at least a bachelor’s degree and also a teaching credential. They are skilled workers and should be paid and treated as such. If you hire replacement educators, you’ll get replacement educations for the children. And that is, supposedly, who this is all about.

    1. I agree… teachers should be payed $500,000 per year with double that in retirement, guaranteed. They all put in 5 years of hard work in college for this. Some of them even work over 6 hours a day and during the summer! They need more money and a worry-free retirement. It’s all for the good of the children, can’t you people see that?

      1. Why stop at $500,000? Don’t my children deserve a million dollar teacher? WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!??

  8. In the end what I hope for out of the process is that the School Board will make the cuts and just tell the union this is the deal, period. At this point the unions view is not really even relevant or helpful. All they want to do is figure a way to save themselves and in this budgetary climate we cant afford to accommodate them.

  9. Anonymous :I’d believe that people became teachers not only for the love of teaching,

    You are naive. Half of teachers become teachers because the pay is good AND they don’t know what else to do. Without union protections, those unmotivated teachers would flunk out and we would COULD have ONLY teachers who really want to teach. The unions promote mediocrity which demonstrably harms our children.

  10. State Teachers’ Retirement System (STRS)
    – Has lost 25% of it’s value
    – Contribution rates have not changed since 1972
    – Needs a 14% increase in contributions to remain solvent
    – Increases in contributions will need to begin in 2011-12
    – System will be broke in 2045
    – Average teacher lives 27 years after retirement

  11. I am for reduction in the teachers pay and to get rid of all sports programs and lastly get rid of anybody in who makes over 70 thousand in administration. If anyone has any relatives working get rid of them too. Get rid of double dipping retirees.
    Most of the teachers in FJUHSD just putt around in classes pretending to be concerned about the students, all they do is make the students fill in the blanks on homework assignments and the children who need help the just push them into the next grade because “everybody loves a winner”.
    Why should the FJUHSD staff give a rats ar*e? most are tenured and especially the coaches, they have always deluded themselves that they are doing everybody a favor by pretending to be teachers.
    Everyone knows that the “coaches” just really wanted to be coaches and not real teachers, everybody knows that they decided at the last year of college to be teachers because they had no idea what to do for their career. So now we have a sh*t load of do nothings with a half a heart in teaching.
    It is common knowledge that most of the coaches in the high schools have attended the local high schools and colleges and “expected ” to “teach” in the very same district they have lived in while sucking on momma and daddy’s tit and feel as though it is a God given position.
    And who in there right mind would think a coach makes a great teacher, we all know they are still trying hang on to their youth and just eat up the teenage girl crushes, whether it be male or female, we have other resources outside of school which offer sports programs and school, during a budget crisis should stop al programs until our economy regains strength.

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