Leading Democrats who supported the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act said it's designed to prevent layoffs, rehire laid-off staff or rescind employee furlough days. Republican critics said the bill was an election-year giveaway to teachers unions and government employees.
Teachers are scheduled to spend their second furlough day today picnicking at McCambridge Park. Formal union meetings are uncommon during the summer, but Jerry Mullady, president of the Burbank Teachers Assn., said he expects teachers to pressure the Board of Education to rescind three furlough days scheduled for the spring semester.
"There's no formal organizing plan at the moment, but restoration of cuts has always been one of our goals, as well as maintaining people and benefits," he said. "Restoring some of the furlough days would fit into that goal."
But the district budget has little wiggle room, officials said.
In June, the district approved a solvent three-year budget that relies on dwindling reserves to cover a gap between expenses and revenues, said Interim Deputy Supt. Lori Ordway-Peck.
"The budget isn't truly balanced because revenues are not equal to expenditures, so we are using our reserves to pay for the difference," she said. "If we bank that $2 million now, we will have less of a problem to solve as we consider the budget in 2011 [for 2014-15]."
Burbank teachers agreed to take six furlough days this school year when they approved concessions in May that saved the district about $2.3 million.
The agreement was enough to nix 67 teacher pink slips, but it pitted teachers against their colleagues and took a toll on employee morale, Mullady said.
"Why aren't they using [new revenue] to restore salaries after the pay cut we took [in furlough days]?" he said. "With the furlough days now, you're getting money back for teachers' jobs. That's how it's been sold to the public. To me it needs to be used for that purpose."