About 10 days ago, Las Virgenes Unified School District announced that it was able to avoid making many of the preliminary layoff notices permanent — and therefore, of the 55+ positions at risk, only 6.8 of those layoffs remained in place (as of May 10th). This was accomplished through a variety of means. With the single largest item being community response, there was also substantial support from a couple of cities, the water district, and a bit of restoration of funds for services required by the state.

In all, as of May 10th when the Board of Education voted, the District has been able to put together $1,155,500 of revenues, contributions and savings. Since May 10th, SOS contributions have continued to rise another 17% to $421,400 (as of this writing) for a total of $1,218,900. Below are the major contributions making up this $1.1-1.2 million.

Major Revenues and Savings Changes

When last visited in March in time for preliminary layoff notices (required by law), LVUSD needed to create new revenues or savings of $4.6 million. As of May 10th, that has been reached through:

$2,600,000 Reduction in Calendar (5 instrl days + 3 other)
$200,000 Secondary Counseling Reduction (formula 500:1)
$120,000 HS Class Size Reduction Eliminated in Math & English
$96,000 HS Staffing Reduction (4 sections lost per school)
$116,000 K-3 Staffing Reduction (24:1 ratio, net of penalties)
$100,000 Centralized Management Reduction
$200,000 Maint/Grounds/Operations Reduction (4 positions)
$15,000 Special Ed Instr. Specialists- reduce calendar

In addition to the the above, there has been a significant amount contributed through community efforts, and new revenues.

$50,000 City of Westlake Village
$7,000 City of Hidden Hills, increase in contribution
$88,500 Water District 4/5 Science
$66,000 Preschool Lease
$236,000 Retirement Incentive Savings
$250,000 Mental Health Funding (10/11)
$100,000 Special Ed Legal Reductions
$421,400 SOS Campaign (as of May 20, was $358,000 on May 10)

$1,218,900 TOTAL (as of May 20, $1,155,500 as of May 10)

As a brief description of these, the City of Westlake Village has committed to a $50,000 per year contribution for five years. The City of Hidden Hills is planning on contributing an additional $7,000 for 2010-11 from unused grant funds, making a total of $24,000 of contribution from Hidden Hills. The cities of Agoura Hills and Calabasas have not yet committed to any contribution from each city to the school district’s general fund, but discussions are underway. The Las Virgenes Metropolitan Water District has expanded its direct support by $88,500 to help restore the LVUSD Grades 4/5 science program. The City of Westlake Village has agreed to allow LVUSD to rent the old Buttercup site at Russell Ranch park to a preschool and collect $66,000 per year in revenues. The LVEA (aka “teacher’s union”) has assisted in a program to incentivize early retirement. This netted a savings of $236,000.

In the area of Special Education, there were two forms of significant savings. First, the State of California requires certain mental health services costing the District about $2.5 million per year. In the last couple of years, the funding for these state mandated services was defunded, but the requirements remained. The State has now approved a one time $250,000 funding allocation to assist with the requirements, but it’s not clear how or if additional dollars will flow next year. In addition, the District had funds set aside for law suits that have been since settled and are no longer on the books, yielding $100,000 in freed up funds.

The “Save Our Schools” (S.O.S.) Campaign has raised $421,400 as of May 20, 2011. See or for information on this program. Those interested may still donate and in all likelihood, those funds would help to save the remaining layoffs and restore some of the cut services (such as school days).

Some layoffs happen because relief in one area of service may not help in another area. For example, layoffs are for particular kinds of services (PKS) and as a result for one person to be moved from one area to another, they need to have the right kinds of credentials. This makes things complex, and less flexible, and prevents some of the simpler (and seemingly more sensible) solutions from being able to happen.

As a result, the remaining spots currently being laid off are primarily in counseling (2.5 counselors in secondary schools), with the balance being in larger class sizes in elementary schools (e.g., going from 22 students to 24 per teacher), as well as increases to class sizes in high school.