More than 10 teacher positions may have to be cut in Lodi Unified School District due to lagging student enrollment. A decrease in students equals a decrease in funding since the district receives money from the state based on per-pupil daily attendance.
Even after making spending adjustments within each school, the district needs to make up a $2.9 million loss of revenue.
"This is a significant financial impact to our district," Associate Superintendent Odie Douglas told board members at Tuesday's meeting.
The district is down roughly 500 students, according to Carrie Hargis, the district's director of budgets. The figure takes into account last school year and the beginning of this school year.
That, coupled with a yet-to-be passed state budget, is making solid financial forecasts hard to come by for district officials. The district, like others up and down California, do not know how much money they will receive from the state this school year.
"We are flying blind because we don't have a budget," school board president Ken Davis said. "And we are looking down at the gas tank, and it's empty."
Hargis and Douglas will return to the Sept. 16 school board meeting with recommendations on staffing issues. At that time, a vote on how to proceed will be taken.
"Whatever option, it will be seriously disruptive. It will disrupt the lives of parents and of children," Davis said.
Also on the agendaIn other action, the Lodi Unified School District:
- Approved an urgent school facilities need analysis for raising
developer fees and levied an increase to new singlefamily
residences. Effective today, the fees for newly constructed homes
will go from $3.54 to $4.13 per square foot, and from $7.08 to
$8.26 per square foot, based on size of the entire
- Received a notice of completion for the conversion of Woodridge
Middle School to an elementary school.
- Accepted a $4.7 million state grant to fund the ongoing First 5
program for preschoolers. A new position will be paid for through
the grant. First 5 also sponsors several reading programs
throughout the district, serving a total of 975
- Was briefed on the California standards test results (STAR) for
the 2007-08 school year, released to the public late last
- Was treated to a mini performance by McNair High School's choir
led by two student conductors. Participation has grown from 27
students to 200 in a two-year span under the direction of Karen
- News-Sentinel staff
Board member Calvin Young was surprised by the sudden fall in enrollment figures; at the end of last school year, the number was much lower.
Hargis reported Tuesday that as of Aug. 22, the district was down an additional 316 students. Historically, schools lose more students as the year progresses, so the decrease could jump even more.
"This just seems really big, really fast," Young said. "People have to go (to school) somewhere."
But officials blame the statewide trend on home foreclosures as well as more and more younger families moving out of state.
Davis said more than half of the state's 1,100 school districts are seeing declining enrollment figures.
Galt Joint Union Elementary School District is suffering a similar slump. On Tuesday, Superintendent Karen Schauer told a group gathered to discuss school boundaries that enrollment figures were down 130 students at the end of last year. As of Friday, there were another estimated 70 not enrolled, bringing the total to 200 less than the 2006-2007 school year.
Jeff Johnston, vice president of the LUSD teachers union, urged the board to consider options other than laying off teachers mid-year and asked Douglas to meet with them before the Sept. 16 meeting.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.