MDUSD Superintendent Dr. Robert Martinez just sent an email asking for stakeholder input on budget solutions and budget reductions. There is a tight deadline for responses - this Friday, February 7th at 5pm, so we wanted to make sure that everyone has a chance to be heard. Here's the link to the survey:
We've included the complete email from Superintendent Dr. Robert Martinez below.
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Dear Parents and Members of the Community,
The single greatest challenge we face as a school district in the next few months is financial. Our district’s multi-year projections over the next three years indicate that we are facing a dramatic budget shortfall. There are four factors that have caused the current fiscal challenge:
- MDUSD has been experiencing a consistent decline in student enrollment over the past ten years. It is important to note that many school districts in the Bay Area and throughout the state are faced with the same impact of declining enrollment.
- The California Department of Education has required every school district in the state to dramatically increase the contribution to CalSTRS (State Teachers Retirement) and CalPERS (Public School Employees Retirement System). This increased funding demand directly impacts the district’s general fund that is normally intended for general education programs and staffing.
- MDUSD, along with every other school district in the state, is required to comply with all state and federal regulations to provide special education services. This mandate does not come with the requisite funding to address the increased financial burden to the district. As a result, the district must make up the difference in cost with general funds that were intended to fund general education programs.
- MDUSD has been deficit spending over the last six years, with expenditures exceeding revenue. As a result, our, “reserve,” or savings, to help with increases in expenditures has been eroded to be close to the state required minimum.
It is important to note the district has weathered budget storms like this before (late 1990s and 2008). While the impacts and effects of these budget challenges are real, MDUSD has always endured and emerged from each budget crisis stronger and more focused on the needs of students. The central focus of our Governing Board members, as they address this challenge, is to work collaboratively with the community to keep students at the center of all financial decisions.
The timeline for addressing these required budget reductions is compressed to comply with the March 15th deadline to notify certificated staff (teachers and leaders) of possible reassignment or elimination of positions. With input from the community, staff, and students, the school board will review a list of budget solutions (more commonly known as reductions) over the next few weeks.
There are many ways the greater school community can provide feedback, discuss budget solutions, and ultimately make budget reductions. To this end, the district has established a survey to gather the following information:
- Suggestions for budget reductions
- Suggestions for revenue generation
- Identify questions that staff and the community have
Please respond to our Budget Survey by Friday, February 7th at 5:00PM.The results of this survey will be placed on our website and shared with our Governing Board.
In order to fully engage the Mount Diablo community in discussions about potential budget solutions and to gather input and recommendations, we have set a series of Budget Community Forums to take place in the next few weeks. We will have Spanish interpretation available at all Community Forums. Further, we will be posting on the MDUSD web page a link to open surveys and digital feedback for all community members who are not able to attend a forum in person. We will also be engaging our bargaining units (Mount Diablo Education Association, Mount Diablo School Psychologists Association, Teamsters, Clerical/Secretarial/Technical, California School Employees Association, and Mount Diablo Management) as well as the District English Language Advisory Committee, Community Advisory Committee, Special Education Local Plan Area, and others in the feedback and recommendation for budget solutions.
The community and our staff are invited to the following meetings:
Tuesday, February 18th – 7:00 PM Ygnacio Valley High School Multi Use Room
Thursday, February 20th - 5:30 PM Riverview Middle School Multi Use Room
Thursday, February 20th – 7:00 PM Pleasant Hill Middle School Multi Use Room
It is important for us all to recognize that this budget reconciliation process will be difficult. This is our opportunity as a community to pull together as a collective team to keep our focus on students at the center of every decision. Now more than ever before, we need to adopt an innovative mindset to identify novel solutions that keep us moving forward as an organization, remain fiscally solvent and operate as good stewards of taxpayer dollars, and the model educational excellence and innovation that all of our students so richly deserve.
Superintendent Dr. Robert Martinez
Mount Diablo Unified School District