Based on unanticipated revenue, IUSD restores four furlough days, including two student days


The IUSD Board of Education has voted to ratify updated contract agreements with the district’s employee associations, rescinding four of eight furlough days for the 2010-11 school year.

The decision was made Tuesday night based on the influx of unanticipated federal dollars, as well as recent financial projections that show positive ending balances for IUSD through 2011-12. The following morning, Superintendent Gwen Gross announced in an email to the community that two instructional days would be added back to the calendar, as would two non-student work days.

Students on the traditional September-through-June calendar will now report back from winter recess a day earlier on Tuesday, Jan. 4, and high school students will attend on Friday, Jan. 28, which had been a semester break. Students in grades K-8 will report to class on Friday, May 27, which had been a K-8 holiday.

For those on the year-round calendar, Wednesday, Jan. 5, will mark the first day back from winter recess. In addition, year-rounders will also attend on Friday, May 27.

“While we understand that altering the calendar this deep into the academic year may be inconvenient for some of our families,” Dr. Gross said, “we also firmly believe it’s the right thing to do for our students and our employees, who have made great sacrifices to prevent further job losses and program cuts.”

Teachers and staff will report for two additional work days at the end of the year, but June 15 remains the final school day for all IUSD students.

Here’s the full text of Dr. Gross’ email:

Dear IUSD community member:

Last spring, the Irvine Unified School District and its employee associations reluctantly agreed to approve eight furlough days for the current year in response to the state budget crisis. We took this significant step knowing full well that it would result in both lost instructional time for our students and lost income for our employees. Yet we also included an important caveat: If unanticipated funds became available, this district and its bargaining associations would return to the table.

I am pleased to report that’s exactly what has happened. Not only did our district plan prudently and conservatively, thereby generating projected positive balances for the current year, we have also benefited from about $5 million worth of onetime federal dollars designed to preserve jobs and maintain salaries. As a result, our district and our collective bargaining associations recently met and agreed to restore four furlough days – including two instructional days – for the current year.

With the agreements officially ratified Tuesday night by our Board of Education, the following calendar changes have been made:

SCHOOLS ON THE TRADITIONAL CALENDAR

Jan. 4:  Students and staff will report back to school on this date following the winter recess.
Jan. 28:  All students and staff will attend school on this date, which had been a high school semester break.
May 27:  All students and staff will attend school on this date, which was previously a holiday for grades K-8.
June 16:  This day represents a staff development day. (June 15 remains the last day for students.)
June 17:  This day will be a non-student teacher work day. (June 15 remains the last day for students.)

SCHOOLS ON THE YEAR-ROUND CALENDAR

Jan. 5:  Year-round students and staff will report back to school on this date following the winter recess.
May 27:  All students and staff will attend school on this date, which was previously a holiday for grades K-8.
June 16:  This day represents a staff development day. (June 15 remains the last day for students.)
June 17:  This day will be a non-student teacher work day. (June 15 remains the last day for students.)

Since California’s budget crisis began, school districts across the state have been forced to react to devastating cuts and game-changing policy decisions. Yet IUSD has done its best to plan responsibly and proactively, and that has put us in a favorable position relative to many of our neighboring school systems. While we understand that altering the calendar this deep into the academic year may be inconvenient for some of our families, we also firmly believe it’s the right thing to do for our students and our employees, who have made great sacrifices to prevent further job losses and program cuts.

I must remind you that significant challenges remain. The state’s budget, adopted only last month, represents a sloppy patchwork of faulty revenue assumptions, and experts tell us that California’s anticipated shortfall for the next 18 months is already a staggering $25 billion. Districts are advised to exercise caution as midyear cuts at the state level are a very likely scenario. Even more sobering, some are projecting that the state’s shortfall will last through 2015-16. 

Our district, as it has done in the past, will continue to closely monitor these fiscal trends to ensure we’re in the best possible position moving forward. In the meantime, I thank you for your patience and support of our 27,000 students. 

Sincerely,

Gwen E. Gross, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Irvine Unified School District