HAYWARD — On Wednesday morning, schoolyards were decorated with empty chairs to symbolize teachers who would be lost because of $18 million in cuts the district needs to make to avoid state oversight.
But according to the superintendent's plan presented later that day, an accurate depiction would have looked more like a rummage sale.
Under the plan: There won't be funding for elementary-school music programs; children would take longer hikes to school because of fewer buses; facilities won't be painted nor carpeting replaced; psychologists, counselors, nurses and campus supervisors would be trimmed; and the adult school's funding would be slashed by nearly 60 percent.
And those chairs can be put back in the classroom but facing the other way — class sizes will grow to the maximum allowed, up to 32 students per teacher in elementary schools, 37 in higher grades.
Increasing class sizes will be the largest single source of cuts, amounting to $2.6 million. That's a loss of between 36 and 45 teachers, with the majority coming from kindergarten through third grade. Fewer than 10 positions will be taken from middle and high schools, according to the district.
With all the suggested cuts, the district still would fall nearly $6 million short of its goal. It is unclear where that money will come from, but district officials have stated that support from bargaining units will be necessary.
The district has a $180 million budget, with $120 million in the general fund.
The district is the only one in Alameda County that has been appointed county fiscal advisers. In addition, because of the way money is distributed by the state, it has a looming cash shortfall and will need to shuffle money within the district to make payroll come June.
The Alameda County Board of Education must approve such a loan, and will only do so if the district can show it will be able to replace the funds without an emergency loan from the state.
If such a loan is needed, the state will take control of the district, and interim Superintendent Janis Duran said takeover should not be considered an option.
"It would be a total takeover," she said. "Financially, and in terms of educational programs as well. Decisions would be made by an individual who may not know Hayward or recognize the needs of the community."
Duran said that cuts wouldn't be up for negotiation and that they likely would be done on broader terms, with little finesse. For example, she said a district in Southern California that was taken over had its music and athletic programs cut to nearly nothing, and bus service were eliminated entirely.
In addition, the cost of the state adviser and staff would be borne by the district.
Interim trustee Jesus Armas told the audience at this week's meeting that the board would like to hear any ideas the community may have regarding where money can be saved. He urged that time is running out for such input and statements made to the board on decision day don't leave much opportunity for consideration.
Suggestions or comments may be made to the district's budget hot line at 510-784-6974 or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on the cuts and budget process is available at www.husd.k12.ca.us.
The matter will go before the board at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Hayward City Hall, 777 B St.
Eric Kurhi covers Hayward. Contact him at 510-293-2473. Read our blog and discuss the cuts at www.ibabuzz.com/hayword.