News

Palo Alto Unified faces $3M budget shortfall amid campus shutdowns

School district tries to plan amid uncertain financial future for schools

The Palo Alto school board will discuss on Tuesday a $3 million shortfall from "unforeseen" reductions and spending due to the coronavirus, trends that district staff warn are sure to continue for the next several years.

The school district has lost an estimated $1.7 million out of its $256 million total budget, according to a staff report. With all of its campuses shut down, the district has lost revenue from school lunches and facilities that would usually bring in rent from outside groups who use them for summer camps and after-school programs.

Meanwhile, adjusting operations to the coronavirus has cost the district about $1 million, including developing distance learning, providing resources for remote working conditions, purchasing $16,000 worth of hand sanitizer and paying salaries for workers who are considered essential.

Closing schools means some cost savings — an estimated $445,000 from reduced utility costs, less gas for school buses and staff attending conferences that have been canceled, according to a staff report.

Staff will present on Tuesday several financial scenarios to the board for discussion, including potential budget cuts for the next school year. Under the more extreme scenario, cuts, including to certificated and classified staff, would total about $3.7 million.

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Staff anticipates the coronavirus will have ripple effects on the district's budget for years to come and are recommending the creation of a $500,000 contingency fund to address emergency COVID-19 expenditures in the 2020-21 school year, such as purchasing masks for staff and students. Questions around when local schools will be able to reopen, what they will look like, and how many students will actually return and what that means for the district's financial health remain unanswered.

"There are numerous unknown factors at this time which will impact the 2020-21 budget," Chief Business Officer Carolyn Chow wrote in a staff report. "We do not have all the answers for how we will be required to open school in the fall. We will not know our property tax revenue by the time the budget needs to be adopted. We do not know the full impact that reduced facility rentals and leases will have on the budget. We cannot with great accuracy predict how many students will return to school once the shelter-in-place is lifted."

The city of Palo Alto, which is facing a $38.8 million shortfall, is considering budget cuts that could impact the school district, either financially or through services. The board will discuss items under consideration by the city that would affect the school district, including the city's lease of Cubberley Community Center land, city shuttles, school resource officers, art center programs and teen programs.

The board will also consider on Tuesday applying for federal disaster relief funding for reimbursement for "eligible emergency protective measures taken to respond to the COVID-19 emergency."

Tuesday's virtual meeting will also include a staff update on COVID-19, including attendance, teacher feedback, summer school and reopening plans.

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Superintendent Don Austin said on Twitter Monday that his team is considering three reopening scenarios: reopening with no restrictions ("doubtful"), with a blended approach and modified schedules ("likely") or with only virtual instruction ("hope not").

Austin is planning to devote his next weekly webinar on May 18 to reopening schools and will use a tool to solicit live, public feedback during the virtual event.

The May 12 board meeting will begin virtually at 6:30 p.m. The public can watch and participate via Zoom or telephone by dialing 669-900-6833, entering Meeting ID 987 7373 7297, then press #. Meetings are also broadcast on local cable television channel 28 and live-streamed at midpenmedia.org.

View the full agenda here.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Palo Alto Unified faces $3M budget shortfall amid campus shutdowns

School district tries to plan amid uncertain financial future for schools

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, May 11, 2020, 1:56 pm

The Palo Alto school board will discuss on Tuesday a $3 million shortfall from "unforeseen" reductions and spending due to the coronavirus, trends that district staff warn are sure to continue for the next several years.

The school district has lost an estimated $1.7 million out of its $256 million total budget, according to a staff report. With all of its campuses shut down, the district has lost revenue from school lunches and facilities that would usually bring in rent from outside groups who use them for summer camps and after-school programs.

Meanwhile, adjusting operations to the coronavirus has cost the district about $1 million, including developing distance learning, providing resources for remote working conditions, purchasing $16,000 worth of hand sanitizer and paying salaries for workers who are considered essential.

Closing schools means some cost savings — an estimated $445,000 from reduced utility costs, less gas for school buses and staff attending conferences that have been canceled, according to a staff report.

Staff will present on Tuesday several financial scenarios to the board for discussion, including potential budget cuts for the next school year. Under the more extreme scenario, cuts, including to certificated and classified staff, would total about $3.7 million.

Staff anticipates the coronavirus will have ripple effects on the district's budget for years to come and are recommending the creation of a $500,000 contingency fund to address emergency COVID-19 expenditures in the 2020-21 school year, such as purchasing masks for staff and students. Questions around when local schools will be able to reopen, what they will look like, and how many students will actually return and what that means for the district's financial health remain unanswered.

"There are numerous unknown factors at this time which will impact the 2020-21 budget," Chief Business Officer Carolyn Chow wrote in a staff report. "We do not have all the answers for how we will be required to open school in the fall. We will not know our property tax revenue by the time the budget needs to be adopted. We do not know the full impact that reduced facility rentals and leases will have on the budget. We cannot with great accuracy predict how many students will return to school once the shelter-in-place is lifted."

The city of Palo Alto, which is facing a $38.8 million shortfall, is considering budget cuts that could impact the school district, either financially or through services. The board will discuss items under consideration by the city that would affect the school district, including the city's lease of Cubberley Community Center land, city shuttles, school resource officers, art center programs and teen programs.

The board will also consider on Tuesday applying for federal disaster relief funding for reimbursement for "eligible emergency protective measures taken to respond to the COVID-19 emergency."

Tuesday's virtual meeting will also include a staff update on COVID-19, including attendance, teacher feedback, summer school and reopening plans.

Superintendent Don Austin said on Twitter Monday that his team is considering three reopening scenarios: reopening with no restrictions ("doubtful"), with a blended approach and modified schedules ("likely") or with only virtual instruction ("hope not").

Austin is planning to devote his next weekly webinar on May 18 to reopening schools and will use a tool to solicit live, public feedback during the virtual event.

The May 12 board meeting will begin virtually at 6:30 p.m. The public can watch and participate via Zoom or telephone by dialing 669-900-6833, entering Meeting ID 987 7373 7297, then press #. Meetings are also broadcast on local cable television channel 28 and live-streamed at midpenmedia.org.

View the full agenda here.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

Budget Reality
Downtown North
on May 11, 2020 at 3:54 pm
Budget Reality, Downtown North
on May 11, 2020 at 3:54 pm
39 people like this

$256 million total budget... yeah, I think just maybe with proper management they could make do with that.

Keep in mind that the general fund for the entire city of Palo Alto will be about $197 million next year. That's all of our police, all of our fire, all of our parks, all of our libraries, all of our community programs like museums, zoos, senior centers, theaters... all of our road maintenance.


Budget Reality
Downtown North
on May 11, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Budget Reality, Downtown North
on May 11, 2020 at 4:00 pm
64 people like this

I'm sorry for posting twice, but I can't get over the fact that PAUSD has a quarter billion dollar budget and managed to overspend it. The board and the managers should all be fired.

This is the same organization that tells parents they won't have don't get science, art, or music without personal donations.


neighbor
Southgate
on May 11, 2020 at 5:25 pm
neighbor, Southgate
on May 11, 2020 at 5:25 pm
39 people like this

definitely the school district over spends their budget and are always crying for more money every year. $40,000,000 for a new gym?? maybe the school district didn't pay all of the $40,000,000, but still that is too much money spent for a high school gym. absolutely not necessary. despite what one commentor said in a previous article---many people who live in palo alto can NOT afford to pay all these extra fees everyone demands. more parcel taxes, etc is not a good answer. staying within one's budget from the schools' angle is. everyone has a budget--what we find is that the higher entities always think that the way to meet the budget is to raise everyone else's taxes. they don't think about lowering their costs from their side of things.


Waste
Midtown
on May 11, 2020 at 5:44 pm
Waste, Midtown
on May 11, 2020 at 5:44 pm
27 people like this

El Carmelo elementary wants to build a new multi-purpose room and remodel the campus when the existing one is just fine. Enrollment is actually down so I don't understand why money needs to be spent on this. This is why I never give to PIE, it just encourages this waste.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 11, 2020 at 5:46 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 11, 2020 at 5:46 pm
4 people like this

Perhaps they should start selling their supplies of stocked toilet paper, soap and sanitizer. Since the schools are closed and will continue to be closed at least until the beginning of the new school year, they must have plenty of unused supplies stashed away that will not be used and next year's supplies will probably be delivered in the usual way for next year.


LocalFan
another community
on May 11, 2020 at 6:05 pm
LocalFan, another community
on May 11, 2020 at 6:05 pm
22 people like this

Sell their toilet paper? Is this a serious solution? Appreciate the comedy, anyway. And, $3M in Palo Alto quite honestly is just not that big of an issue. There are several residents who could write that check and not even blink. I WILL say, however, that the absolute last thing they should do in this crisis is layoff any teachers. After what these teachers just went through to get kids through the school year, they should at the VERY least be rewarded with keeping their jobs. There is plenty of other fat to trim in this budget. Find it!


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 11, 2020 at 6:19 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 11, 2020 at 6:19 pm
10 people like this

Local, I think you should think satire to my above comment.

I really can't feel very concerned for them. Their expenses are way lower, they are still being funded from our property taxes, and with no students on campuses as well as no summer school and no camps there will be much less maintenance as a result.

I just can't take their concerns seriously, particularly as their solution will be to ask PA residents for more money. They can't pull the wool over my eyes.


Paly Teacher
Palo Alto High School
on May 11, 2020 at 7:03 pm
Paly Teacher, Palo Alto High School
on May 11, 2020 at 7:03 pm
21 people like this

OK let's slow down everyone. Lots of info on the board packet: Web Link. Go to Meetings -> May 12, 2020 -> View the Agenda -> Item 7A

@Budget Reality: Not sure where your name came from. Opinion like "I think just maybe with proper management" isn't reality.

Yes, it's a $3MM shortfall...for this school year. This is without tapping into the district's reserve which is at least five times that amount. The district is trying to cover the shortfall without tapping into reserves. They should be recognized for doing this, not told that "the board and the managers should all be fired." Such hyperbole might make some people feel good and mighty but it's not productive.

Also, the district is considering plans to cut either $3.7MM or $5.7MM for the next school year.

@neighbor: Being frugal is important, but I want to point out that a majority of it was paid by the Peery Foundation (Web Link)

@Resident: I think we need to have cleaning supplies in case school resumes in the fall. Not sure the district should try their hand at arbitrage.

@LocalFan: Thank you for your points. Unfortunately, some teachers will not be coming back next year. In addition, instructional leaders will be losing a prep period. They do a lot more than one prep period's worth and as a result many quality ones won't continue in that role next year. Some departments are even talking about boycotting the position, leaving the duties of ILs to administrators. My personal opinion: this is a huge mistake by the district.

@Resident, second post: Yes, some expenses are lower (est. $445,000, see board packet in first link), but there are larger cuts in revenue. For example, this year the district is estimating a loss of $800,000 in facility rentals. Next year that could jump to a best-case estimate of $2.1MM or a worse-cast estimate of $7.3MM.

tl;dr: Please read the board packet to make informed comments. Off-the-cuff remarks might make you feel better but otherwise they're not helpful and can be hurtful.


Hmm
Palo Alto High School
on May 11, 2020 at 7:10 pm
Hmm, Palo Alto High School
on May 11, 2020 at 7:10 pm
45 people like this

I've been involved in the PTSA for many years and can tell you that government always wastes money. [Portion removed.] In PTSA, there is overspending too. Whenever people are spending others' money, they don't care about prices. I'm not voting for another tax increase for education. Our regular lane teachers are not even spending time teaching our students during lockdown. We have 12 classes and nearly zero homework. Going C/NC helped the teachers more than the students.


Budget Reality
Downtown North
on May 11, 2020 at 7:32 pm
Budget Reality, Downtown North
on May 11, 2020 at 7:32 pm
45 people like this

@Teacher -- The numbers are bizarre. It's a quarter of a billion dollars for something like 12,500 kids.

We are over $21,000 per year per kid and somehow still over budget. Meanwhile, no one is raving about the PAUSD school experiences like they used to. To the contrary.

That's a pretty stark reality.

I stand by my statement that we need new board and district leadership. That's not hyperbole. It's accountability.


Don't do anything extra
Downtown North
on May 11, 2020 at 8:46 pm
Don't do anything extra, Downtown North
on May 11, 2020 at 8:46 pm
19 people like this

Seems like they can absorb the losses...how about cutting labor, since enrollment has DECLINED.

But gives them a new narrative for the parcel tax. No.


Resident
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 11, 2020 at 10:10 pm
Resident, Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 11, 2020 at 10:10 pm
14 people like this

I know actually reading the article is a hardship, but try it - it helps understand what's going on. They didn't "overspend" - the school closure cost them about $3M in revenue (facilities rentals and lunch sales mostly), with off-setting cost reductions of $0.5 million. They have ample reserves to cover it.

They are planning to make cuts for next year - two proposals are in the presentation. Revenue is dropping - from the state, from the city, from facilities rentals, from donations - so they are cutting staff to close the gap. The major thing for the board to decide is how much to cut vs. how much to take from reserves.

Reserves are about $27 million according to the presentation. I doubt there are many school districts anywhere that have 10% of their annual expenses in reserves. That's a credit to boards and managers in the past, who socked money away instead of spending it, and gives them flexibility in how to manage things now.


Independent
Esther Clark Park
on May 11, 2020 at 10:52 pm
Independent, Esther Clark Park
on May 11, 2020 at 10:52 pm
28 people like this

Excuse me? What's this?

"Meanwhile, adjusting operations to the coronavirus has cost the district about $1 million, including developing distance learning, providing resources for remote working conditions,..."

Paying for teachers home wifi, or? We've had little instruction, just some assignments.


What about that bridge?
Adobe-Meadow
on May 12, 2020 at 7:10 am
What about that bridge?, Adobe-Meadow
on May 12, 2020 at 7:10 am
8 people like this

Comment was removed because, I image, the point was too close to home for snowflake moderation team.

If we can build that bridge in North Palo Alto, seems we can find the 3M to make up for the shortfall.

That thing will service like 10 homes and the locals don’t even want it.

Redirect that money, problem solved...


Member
College Terrace
on May 12, 2020 at 8:39 am
Member, College Terrace
on May 12, 2020 at 8:39 am
30 people like this

Very disappointed with the remote learning that PAUSD put together. The quality of education at the PAUSD schools are all time low. I am not sure where school is spending all the money. I am not voting for any additional tax increase. Every country reopened the school in 6 weeks and we after 8 weeks of lock down and 3 months away from fall classes can’t figure out how to open the schools and economy - REALLY!


S_mom
Community Center
on May 12, 2020 at 8:55 am
S_mom, Community Center
on May 12, 2020 at 8:55 am
14 people like this

I would also be interested to know what the $1M related to distance learning was spent on. We haven't had a great experience either but I am hopeful it may improve in the fall. I do wonder how they spent $1M -- zoom licenses (though were those free?), chromebooks to distribute to students, maybe installing internet for low-income students, training (I hope we aren't seeing the post-training outcome), what else? It's kind of hard to imagine what could bring the total to $1M...


Budget Reality
Downtown North
on May 12, 2020 at 9:24 am
Budget Reality, Downtown North
on May 12, 2020 at 9:24 am
23 people like this

@S_mom -- The district could give every kid a new MacBook Air every year and still have $20,000 per kid per year left to spend. Give, not lend.

Bureaucracies always have a litany of reasons they need more cash. They always pretend that if you criticize them (in this case their astonishing inefficiency) then you must be against children, rainbows, and hugs.

They never see the extreme damage done through that inefficiency. It is too close to their interests for honest eyes.

For example of the harm, the amount of this "overage" is the equivalent of what the Chicago Public Schools would have to fully educate about 700 kids. Giving more to PAUSD's dysfunction at this point actually hurts.


Anon
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 12, 2020 at 10:17 am
Anon, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 12, 2020 at 10:17 am
8 people like this

Posted by What about that bridge?, a resident of Adobe-Meadow

>> Comment was removed because, I image, the point was too close to home for snowflake moderation team.

Perhaps because it was off-topic? I didn't see it.

>> If we can build that bridge in North Palo Alto, seems we can find the 3M to make up for the shortfall.

I will just jump in here and comment that I guess you are not familiar with California's school governance and finance system? I know that in many states, city schools are actually part of the city government. That is not true in California. In California, there is a completely separate governance structure for schools. Not just city/district boundaries, but, everything. Every county has its own education office. School districts have their own boundaries, funding, you name it. Sometimes, cities quietly subsidize school districts that they reside within... Also, school districts get the lion's share of property taxes, too.

PAUSD is "pretty well funded", too, although, IMHO, it pays administrators way too much. But, I guess they figure that since administrators have so much hostility directed at them at times, they should get extra for dealing with all the abuse ...

Back to bridges, etc. Different government, different funding, different everything. As far as PAUSD is concerned, the bridge you refer to might as well be in Nevada.


Samuel L.
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 12, 2020 at 11:20 am
Samuel L., Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 12, 2020 at 11:20 am
32 people like this

I have a couple questions on added expenditures:
1) What is the additional $200K for "essential workers"? How is this an added expense? Were these workers that would not have worked without the closure?

2) Nearly $200K on "additional site security"? Are the schools less secure due to the closure? Why the need for added security?

3) Has the district been paying all employees during the entire closure? Does that include bus drivers, custodians, coaches, maintenance workers, etc...? There must be some delta in the budget vs. actual on these types of employees. Bus drivers are only paid when they drive, so the budgeted amounts are unlikely to match exactly what was paid. I haven't seen many custodians on the campuses I've been to, nor have I seen maintenance workers. And coaches cannot be working.

If the school is only predicting a $3M shortfall off of a $260M budget, and they have $25M+ in reserves, they're doing just fine. Let's talk when the reserve is gone and administrators are given a pay cut.

Only when it hits the people in charge will it be considered concerning.




Fellow teacher
College Terrace
on May 12, 2020 at 12:03 pm
Fellow teacher, College Terrace
on May 12, 2020 at 12:03 pm
29 people like this

Hey paly teacher I am also a paly teacher and I think you couldn't be farther from reality. Pausd has 18 million bucks in the bank why don't they spend it now;it's a pandemic.. exactly how would you define the purpose of a rainy day fund if it's not for something like a global pandemic


cmarg
Palo Alto High School
on May 12, 2020 at 12:24 pm
cmarg, Palo Alto High School
on May 12, 2020 at 12:24 pm
12 people like this

What about a salary cut? The health care professionals, who are on the front lines, have taken a 20% pay cut. Why can't at least the PAUSD administration, and possibly the teachers, take a pay cut?

There are so many people out of work. I think those who have jobs should realize how fortunate they are and suffer like the rest of us who have challenges and lack of work.

Companies like HP did that many years ago when the economy was in bad shape. It was a blessing to have a job and everyone preferred to have a job even when it meant a little less money.

I think asking the community for fund more measures is really not thinking about others at all.


Resident
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 12, 2020 at 12:25 pm
Resident, Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 12, 2020 at 12:25 pm
6 people like this

@Fellow teacher - yes, it is a good time to use the rainy day fund. But the "rainy day" may well last for years, in terms of economic slump and lower revenue. So the question is how much of the reserves to use now vs. next year vs. the year after? Because when they are gone, the only option to balance the budget is severe cuts.


Anon
Charleston Gardens
on May 12, 2020 at 2:12 pm
Anon, Charleston Gardens
on May 12, 2020 at 2:12 pm
5 people like this

Cuts

Inservice days college counseling support . Advisory

A good credentialed registrar veep should be able to send out the power points and deadlines. Counselors should be advising.

The notices have been almost exactly the same for 7 years. The last one still had the 2019 one posted and was almost identical .

College counseling was of no use and no responsive and often the forms and date reminders were too close to deadlines

Cut these before cutting the arts.


Be calm and don’t make changes
Mayfield
on May 12, 2020 at 2:28 pm
Be calm and don’t make changes, Mayfield
on May 12, 2020 at 2:28 pm
2 people like this

Cuts should not be made the same way they made gpa decisions because staff needs to leave their other agendas out now instead of slipping them in as if they are urgent The Covid virus is not a fast pass ticket fir individuals with subjective ideas families may or mat not agree with. Try to keep things as similar as possible. Now is not the time for portfolio learning as it takes training and that time needs to be given to online learning plans .

Career tech ed should have more support as jobs and college will be different. Skill sets will be more valued and honestly if every kid had one to fall back that would good. So many college grads will not be hired. Medical tech construction, pharmacy , vet tech. all good and can be just part time jobs in college or jobs to build on. This program needs to be bigger and hooked into foothill college Foothill also has excellent counseling. Ugh

Ca Ed code is still in place and should be adhered to


Relax SEL
Gunn High School
on May 12, 2020 at 3:08 pm
Relax SEL, Gunn High School
on May 12, 2020 at 3:08 pm
18 people like this

Hey all, I've been having a hard time finding an itemized budget for PAUSD, but I have heard that a quite handsome amount of money is spent on the SELF program at Gunn.

I would encourage the district to take a critical look at where the money is going for SEL. As a current junior, we've had so many focus groups and surveys about the program over the last 3 years, but continued student dissatisfaction with the program which takes up one of our two weekly Flex periods.

We buy pre-made SEL content and curriculum, usually dry slideshows, which are universally disliked by students. Meanwhile, we have 2 instructional leads for the program who are experienced and respected staff, and I think they would do a better job producing content for the program. The district can save money AND improve the experience for students.


him
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 12, 2020 at 3:46 pm
him, Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 12, 2020 at 3:46 pm
11 people like this

wellness.

generally the staff is standing alone in a large room. counselors refer students. kids resent the daily saccharine wellnes reminders telling them they are not ok


Hmm
Palo Alto High School
on May 12, 2020 at 4:10 pm
Hmm, Palo Alto High School
on May 12, 2020 at 4:10 pm
8 people like this

Why was a portion of my posting removed? Okay, instead of opinion, here is the news from Palo Alto Online, people can make their own conclusions:

Sept. 1, 2018: PAUSD Chief Business Officer began job Web Link

March 4, 2019 article, New school business official advises 'judicious' spending approach: "Given salaries and benefits make up 86 percent of the district's $251 million budget, Novak suggested looking more critically at staffing ratios, including combining classes with low enrollment and adjusting staffing to match enrollment levels, to cut down on overstaffing. . . 'I believe there are so many practices that we can do better in this district and free up money,' Novak said." Web Link

Apr 25, 2019: School district to lose chief business officer, Jim Novak plans on retiring June 30 Web Link


Samuel L.
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 12, 2020 at 4:46 pm
Samuel L., Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 12, 2020 at 4:46 pm
17 people like this

$200+M is in salaries and benefits. Take out benefits for now, you're looking at $150M for salaries. Every 1% pay reduction gets you $1.5M in savings (plus a little bit in benefits savings). A 5% pay cut saves $7.5M right off the bat and is not detrimental to most anyone. If you want to make it hit the rich the most, which is usually the case around here, start with a 10% cut on anyone making over $175K and taper it down to a smaller percentage as it approaches $115K. Or, something similar.

There's enough there to cut out millions without hurting (too much) programs or employees.

Doubtful that this will last forever, which means that everything will bounce back fairly soon, including housing prices which fund most of the budget.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 12, 2020 at 4:54 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 12, 2020 at 4:54 pm
10 people like this

It should be noted that last night's council meeting wasted time discussing and making it mandatory to wear face coverings while we are at businesses, etc. in Palo Alto. This is something the council admits it does not have the money/ability to enforce.

This is exactly the useless, feel good, virtue signalling waste of time Palo Alto is excellent at and one of the reasons there is going to be a budget problem.

Palo Alto sees a non-problem, makes lots of noise, passes a local law, doesn't enforce it, possibly hires someone to oversee, or study, or set up a committee, and nothing happens. It is not good enough. In the case of the masks, most businesses are already requiring a face covering. In the case of the masks, why bother? San Mateo county has done the same thing, Santa Clara county states that they cannot enforce it but recommend it. Businesses can require them. So why does Palo Alto have to be "better" than what the county strongly recommends and most businesses already require? Why does Palo Alto have to be able to brag their superiority to say Mountain View?

This is one of the reasons we have all the problems in Palo Alto. Our council only pays attention to being ahead of the curve, better than everyone else, making a bigger statement, have a bigger, better, more important ego to show off. We have been waiting for a bridge to replace the Adobe tunnel for over a decade. We can't build a bridge and with lack of funds we must might not get one for another decade if we believe how bad the budget is. Really??? We still will not get a bridge? Incompetence to the highest degree.

Now we the residents will suffer the lack of ability of a council who actually makes fiscally irresponsible calls and does nothing other than aim to be better than our neighboring communities. No surprise why we are called Shallow Alto. We will suffer the pecuniary poor calls as we lose amenities.

Instead of being negative, Palo Alto needs to help and introduce ways to get the local economy up and running. No more roadblocks, no more bans, no more laws that will not be enforced. Instead, give us some financially responsible leaders who can lead and balance the books by getting rid of unnecessary pen pushers who earn big bucks to do nothing.


rsmithjr
Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 12, 2020 at 5:09 pm
rsmithjr, Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 12, 2020 at 5:09 pm
7 people like this

I am puzzled by why the PAUSD is so concerned about the losses they have incurred. These seem minimal and can easily be dealt with I would think.


Paly Teacher
Palo Alto High School
on May 12, 2020 at 5:11 pm
Paly Teacher, Palo Alto High School
on May 12, 2020 at 5:11 pm
8 people like this

@Fellow teacher: No offense, but I'd like to think a real Paly teacher wouldn't use your level of diction. Still, to address your point, I don't think I advocated that the district shouldn't tap into its reserves all. I think a balanced approach of cutting costs if possible and using some reserves is the way to go. If you lost 1% of your income, you'd probably cut on some costs like eating out instead of directly go to your savings, right?

@Hmm: Jim Novak moved to a higher paid position with the County Office of Education


Samuel L.
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 12, 2020 at 5:53 pm
Samuel L., Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on May 12, 2020 at 5:53 pm
9 people like this

@Paly Teacher - Had to be more than a higher salary to make Novak move. The difference in pay was only a $15K increase on his PAUSD salary of $265K. After taxes and factoring in future raises/benefits, doubt money was the sole motivator. In addition, Novak stated he was leaving due to "health reasons". Why not just say he was leaving for the money?


m2grs
Midtown
on May 12, 2020 at 6:14 pm
m2grs, Midtown
on May 12, 2020 at 6:14 pm
5 people like this

Why focus on the $2M???

The shortfall in next school year will be astronomical!

State government will have a $54B deficit. The cuts to education will be the deepest in history.

PAUSD will face a financial abyss. $2M is so comical.

Federal, State, County, City, School District, will all have to raise taxes and fees of various kinds. Possibly to the level of asset confiscation.

Everyone should wake up. The future is coming.


hmmm
St. Claire Gardens
on May 12, 2020 at 6:36 pm
hmmm, St. Claire Gardens
on May 12, 2020 at 6:36 pm
8 people like this

[Post removed.]


Edward
Menlo Park
on May 12, 2020 at 9:29 pm
Edward, Menlo Park
on May 12, 2020 at 9:29 pm
4 people like this

Is anyone who commented listening to the meeting right now? They seem to be addressing all the speculation and issues brought up in the comments. The budget presentation was especially detailed.


Parent
Mayfield
on May 12, 2020 at 10:22 pm
Parent, Mayfield
on May 12, 2020 at 10:22 pm
8 people like this

I agree with the other commenter who asked about across the board 10% cut in salaries. If the we want to prioritize saving jobs and want to prioritize the kids then this seems like a no brainer.

If we need to actually make teacher staff reductions, we should use teacher engagement and performance on Zoom as a criteria to make cuts. We may very well be in the situation with remote learning for the next 6-18 month and the ability to keep kids and engaged and learning online is now a critical job requirement.

Of course, none of this can probably happen without agreement of the Teachers Union <sarcasm> whose main goal is protecting the kids </sarcasm>, but unprecedented circumstances require unprecedented solutions.


Hmm
Palo Alto High School
on May 12, 2020 at 11:38 pm
Hmm, Palo Alto High School
on May 12, 2020 at 11:38 pm
7 people like this

@Samuel L: Nice sleuthing, it's clear that he was preaching to deaf ears.


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