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Regarding Unified's budget reported deficit, consider:

1. Unified mostly bemoans shortfalls in projected revenues. Unified enrollment has been falling for years. Decreased enrollment automatically leads to decreased state aid. No surprises.

2. Why did Unified “nervously” adopt "an extraordinarily tight budget" (in Financial Officer Duff's words), with inadequate contingencies? The administration and board made those risky decisions. They practically invited the budget deficit.

3. If the budget projected savings from unfilled staff positions, then why did human resources fill the positions and eliminate the savings? Why weren't the positions eliminated?

4. Regarding the $500,000 shortfall in anticipated special education aid from the state, did Unified screw up in either projecting or pursuing the aid?

5. Officials do not report a single cost savings effort implemented over the last year. Really? Officials now talk about finally looking into yet unidentified cost savings. Aren't we past time to actually implement cost savings?

6. Unified employee benefits are a huge and growing expense. How much did they rise this year? More than projected? What is their impact on the deficit? Benefits should be itemized and assigned their share of responsibility for deficits. The board has authority to adjust benefits.

7. Superintendent Gaillen says "at some point we need to right size the district to adjust for the decrease in enrollment." Aren't we at or even past that point? Enrollment dropped 13 percent since the 2009-10 school year.

8. The board is fiscally irresponsible now to promote an increased teacher pay scale before fixing the deficits.

Tom Van Beckum

Mount Pleasant

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