Negotiations continue on how many furlough days there would be and how many would affect the school calendar. The conversations should be similar in Burbank Unified, officials said.
“Among the things we would want to discuss would be furlough days, rolling back salaries, increasing class size, [and] freezing the salary schedule,” Burbank Interim Deputy Supt. Lori Ordway-Peck said. “I’m hoping we can work with our unions to get some kind of solution that works toward eliminating the deficit we have in our budget.”
Burbank Unified officials are looking at cuts to offset a $21-million deficit in the next three years, while Glendale Unified officials project an $18.5-million deficit by 2011-12 with the current spending structure.
The state Legislature gave school districts the authority to furlough school employees to cope with funding cuts. School boards were also given permission to shorten the school year from 180 days to 175 days.
But furloughs do not provide permanent cost savings, school administrators said, which is why they have pushed for capping employee health benefits. But that has been met with resistance by the unions.
“The teachers will agree to furlough days, and the out-of-paycheck contributions to health benefits if and when the district removes the cap from the table,” Glendale Teachers Assn. President Tami Carlson said.
In Burbank, administrators are waiting to learn what its teachers union wants to negotiate, officials said. Burbank Teachers Assn. President Jerry Mullady said he doesn’t want to negotiate furlough days until other resources have been exhausted.
“We’re following our contract with the district, which states we do not have to make public our demands until June, and we do not have to negotiate until September,” he said. “But, we’re willing to talk.”
Mary Boger, president of the Glendale Unified Board of Education, said furlough days might be a necessary evil to close the budget.
“I’m deeply concerned about the loss of instructional minutes, especially in light of the challenge our teachers have faced in making up the [three] days lost to the Station fire,” she said.