Wednesday, May 16, 2012 | 12:12 p.m.
A year ago this month, the School Board unanimously approved a fiscal 2012 budget that bridged a $407 million shortfall by calling for the layoff of more than 1,800 school district employees, or about 10 percent of the workforce.
However, layoffs were averted at the last minute because the state allocated $250 million in additional education funding, mainly by extending taxes that were due to expire.
Still the School District faced a $150 million budget deficit over fiscal 2012 and 2013. Last year – in order to plug the budget gap – the district eliminated 200 bus driver positions, slashed textbook and supply budgets in half and cut a number of English Language Learner teachers and literacy specialists. The district’s central office was also cut about 20 percent.
Shortly thereafter, the School District began negotiating concessions with its teachers union, which was resolved by an arbitration ruling earlier this month. Since 2007, when growth began to stall, the School District has cut $500 million from its operating budget.