If California voters fail to pass two education-related initiatives on the state ballot next month, the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District is bracing for another round of huge cuts.
Not only will it mean continued reduced funding for public education, but ongoing late payments owed by the state to the district, which is already causing cash flow issues, according to Superintendent Karen Schauer.
She refers to the pending election and the district's already stretched budget as the perfect storm.
"Given these concerning conditions, we cannot stay solvent without more difficult cuts and agreements with our unions," Schauer said in a recent email to staff. "The cuts we face is a worse-case scenario with or without the state initiative passing."
Proposition 30 temporarily increases the state sales tax a quarter of a cent and personal income taxes for individuals making more than $250,000 and families making more than $500,000.
If Proposition 30 fails, the state will immediately put into place "trigger cuts," which will trickle down to the local school district level.
Among the possible cost-savings for Galt elementary are closing two school next school year and increasing the number of employee furlough days from five to 14. The districtwide salary freeze would also continue.
If it passes, there will only be four furlough days, but the district would still be looking at campus closures and the salary freeze, according to Schauer.
The other state initiative, Proposition 38, increases the personal income tax on all annual earnings over $7,316 using a sliding scale from 0.4 percent for the lowest individual earners to 2.2 percent for individuals earning more than $2.5 million. The increases will last for 12 years.
If Proposition 38 does not pass, there are no immediate trigger cuts to local schools.
The district is also facing declining student enrollment, which means even less state funding. With or without a tax initiative passing, Schauer said the district is looking to qualify for a low-interest loan to help with cash flow issues.
Faced with a $2 million to $4 million budget shortfall for the current school year, the school board looked at closing campuses and further cutting the school year. But plans were averted when district unions made concessions.
Still, like other area districts, there were layoffs and Galt elementary shuttered all school libraries and drastically reduced home-to-school bus transportation.