Class size increases are being considered along with eliminating some high school counselors and other staff reductions in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District as it faces a $30 million budget deficit over the next two years.
"We're trying to be as transparent as possible," said district spokesman Terry Koehne. "But this is a difficult time. It inherently creates a lot of anxiety in the schools and with the staff."
Superintendent Steve Enoch presented a list of possible reductions at the school board meeting Tuesday that included losing administrative and support staff as well as two middle school assistant principals for a savings of $1.5 million.
Eliminating eight full-time counseling positions in the high schools, increasing grades kindergarten through third to 28 students plus having larger classes in middle school, ninth grade and for ROP classes could save another $6.4 million.
"The recommendation is to reduce counseling services by 30 percent," said Enoch's report. "This would require noticing all counselors as any modification to the case load must renegotiate with SRVEA (San Ramon Valley Education Association)."
Reducing custodial support and eliminating crossing guards would result in another $455,000 savings.
Enoch also looked at shifting categorical funds to the general fund as follows:
• Reducing summer school by 50 percent ($194,000)
• Maintenance "sweep" - previously restricted money from major maintenance projects that the state now allows to be used to fill the budget gap ($2.4 million)
• Instructional materials fund ($700,000)
• Reduction of Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment ($259,810)
These hard decisions will be made at the March 9 meeting, after negotiations are held that day between the district and the SRVEA.
"The district is hoping to receive employee concessions," said Koehne. "That is happening around the entire state. Districts are in the same situation - the more the burden is shared, the more we can preserve jobs."
Other districts have instituted furlough days, which are days off without pay. This reduces annual earnings for employees but would be structured so a full service year would still be credited toward retirement, according to the district Web site. Each furlough day for all employees saves the district approximately $750,000.
The School Board must make these decisions about teachers, counselors, librarians, nurses and administrators no later than March 15, when layout notices are mandated by the state to go out.
The district will also negotiate with the non-teacher units, CSEA (Civil Service Employees Association) and SEIU (Service Employees International Union), but they are not subject to the March 15 deadline, said Koehne.
The School Board meeting on March 9 will take place at 7 p.m. at the Education Center, 699 Old Orchard Drive in Danville.