Employees of the Murrieta Valley Unified School District will not see further pay cuts this year, and six school days that could have been cut will not be following the passage of statewide voter Proposition 30.
A special school board meeting was held Thursday morning, in which trustees voted to unanimously restore portions of district-wide pay cuts that hinged on the result of the Nov. 6 tax initiative.
Prop 30 is expected to bring in an additional $6 billion annually for state education funding through increasing sales tax by a quarter of cent and raising taxes on individuals who earn more than $250,000 per year or couples who earn more than $500,000.
If the ballot measure had not passed by a majority vote, district officials said mid-year cuts to state education funding would have occurred. For Murrieta Valley Unified, it would have meant a loss of $451 per student this fiscal year, according to Assistant Superintendent Stacy Coleman.
Six non-student days had been marked as possible furlough days if the cut to the tune of $10 million was imposed for Murrieta Valley Unified. Those tentative dates—Feb. 19-22 and June 10-11—can now remain on the calendar as permanent days. The last day of school will be June 11.
With the passage of Prop 30, the salary reduction necessary to balance the district’s 2012-2013 budget is now 3.17 percent, staff wrote.
Consequently, a 9.66 percent salary reduction—and commensurate furlough days—that had been implemented for management was partially restored. The cut was to be applied by 2.16 percent in the 2011-2012 fiscal year and 7.5 percent in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.
Management employees, the school board, the superintendent, principals and assistant principals have had their salaries reduced by 4.66 percent through Oct. 31. The board agreed that retroactively to Nov. 1, it was appropriate to restore these salaries and work-year calendars to normal levels.
This, the board agreed, would provide consistency and parity with both of the district’s employee unions: Murrieta Teachers Association and Classified School Employees Association.
CSEA had agreed to take a 2.16 percent cut during spring 2012, and up to 7.5 percent in the 2012-2013 fiscal year, according to district documents.
MTA agreed in March to take a 3.17-percent salary reduction beginning July 1, and an up to 6.49-percent hit later if Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiatives did not pass.
Salary adjustments according to agreements with both employee groups will now be adjusted accordingly, as will the district’s 2012-2013 fiscal year budget, staff wrote.
“We can all take a collective 'sigh of relief' knowing that we dodged this bullet,” said Board Member Robin Crist, late Thursday. “Thanks to the passage of Prop 30 we are finally able to take two important steps forward. Retaining the additional six days of instruction for students, and restoring employee salaries will provide a more stable, consistent environment for student learning.”
She expressed her appreciation of all district employees.
“In this season of 'giving thanks,' I thank our district employees for their willingness to do whatever was needed to keep spirits high and students focused,” Crist said.
The district may still be facing an $11 million shortfall for the 2013-2014 fiscal year, according to a previous budget report given by Coleman.
"While we appreciate the fact that our employees have given willingly during these most difficult budget times, it is important to note that we still have a projected budget shortfall for next year,” Coleman said, in a district notice posted shortly after Prop 30 results were known.