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School District Faces Deficit Spending If Enrollment Rate Slows

May 04, 1989|MARTHA L. WILLMAN | Times Staff Writer

The Glendale Unified School District may face deficit spending beginning next year unless the present rapid growth in student enrollment continues, generating increased state revenues to offset the cost of projected pay raises, according to a report released Tuesday.

The informational report, prepared by the district's business office, was presented to the Board of Education just three days before a union representing teachers and district officials are scheduled to meet with a state-appointed mediator over salary negotiations.

The union declared an impasse with the district in March after it rejected the district's final contract offer, which would provide an increase of 22.7% in wages and benefits over three years. The three other unions representing employees in the district have accepted the offer.

The initial session with a mediator on April 21 ended without progress. Teachers have since picketed at board meetings and at schools to draw attention to their demands. A large group of teachers marched Tuesday in front of Glendale City Hall.

Teachers, who have been working without a contract since June, are demanding, among other things, that fourth- through sixth-grade teachers be given time during the school day to grade papers and prepare lessons, just as all other teachers in the district. The union also is seeking to restructure salaries to give better pay raises to longtime teachers and to increase retirement benefits.

In his report to the board, David M. Kanthak, assistant superintendent of business, projected that the district will incur deficits of $3.7 million next year, $1.8 million in 1991 and $1.1 million in 1992 as a result of pay raises throughout the district.

The projected deficits are based on an assumption that district enrollment will increase only 2% a year. A greater growth rate, similar to that of the last three years, would result in more state money and offset the higher costs of teacher benefits, Kanthak said.

While the growth rate has been 4% a year, Kanthak predicts that rate will slow as a result of a building moratorium and other growth-control factors.

However, teachers argue that the district's enrollment projections and revenue estimates are far too low. They are asking district officials to grant greater benefits on the assumption that enrollment increases, and therefore state revenues to the district, will continue at the same pace.

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