Negotiations continued this week between the Santa Barbara School District and the Santa Barbara Teachers Association as the two sides looked to iron out the details of a tentatively approved series of budget-minded furlough days for next school year that have the potential to shrink both the school year (by five days) and teachers’ salaries (by 5.4 percent). According to the district’s deputy superintendent, the talks—which were supposed to conclude on 3/24—remain “productive” despite the overtime. The 10 proposed furlough days in question were part of the path toward some $10 million in budget cuts approved by the school board last month as the district prepared for a “worst case scenario” in Sacramento.
Unfortunately, one half of the scenario came true this week as Governor Jerry Brown announced on 3/28 that across-the-aisle negotiations on the budget had broken down. As a result, a potential special June election that would have looked to extend certain state taxes and thus helped kick some much-needed cash back to public school districts is off the table. In fact, if the tax extensions had passed, S.B. School Board members had already gone on the record as saying the first thing they would have helped restore would have been the furlough days.