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Budget Survey Results Parent & Community Members - Reduction Suggestions

What suggestions do you have for budget reductions in MDUSD?


  • Elementary school counselors
  • No free meals provided for district meetings take lunch breaks bring own waters, charge for music programs, library open 2 days in elementary schools, night custodians once a week have teacher and students or parent volunteers clean classrooms. Cut back on maintenance workers. Close a elementary school. Rent a few parking lot spaces to parents who drop off and pick up their kids at schools with extra parking. Rent out multi use rooms for events.
  • You should cut services that do not directly affect students.  The further away you work from students and the children, your job should be the least priority.  Trim the district level staff.  Stay away from the classrooms.
  • Lower teacher retirement contributions, lower admin salaries (at district level not school level)
  • Close the district offices once a week during summer, less funding for charters, teacher training money spent for long term programs, not something that will be gone in a year or two
  • Cut things like: TOSA's, I-ready, middle school sports,  music/pe in elementary, consider furlough days,  closing the district office 1 day a week over summer.
  • How about cutting all of the manager positions and extra people at Dent and Willow Creek? My son's history text book is 13 years old. You can afford to pay all of the managers but hid text books are outdated and his classes are maxed out or over in size?  The financial priorities in this District have been out of whack for years.
  • School condensation to combat reduction of student enrollment
  • Reduce unnecessary employees. Start at the Dent center. Willow Creek next. Essential staff such as teachers and administrators should be the priority.
  • Magnet schools in elementary with special Tosa’s are pricey programs.   I-ready is pricey.  Get rid of all Tosa positions and put those teachers back into a classroom. 
    Sell willow creek building, those employees can work at Loma Vista adult school  or the dent center and part of Monte Gardens.  Sell Glenbrook and  Clayton Charter  land instead of collecting rent.
  • Cut office mangers and attendance hours and work year.  Attendance clerk half day positions share sites.  Get rid of librarians and make PE a prep instead for elementary.  Parent volunteers or classified staff can run the libraries. 
  • Stop wasting $800,000+ per year on i-Ready! Another option would be to at least limit i-Ready to EL Learners (where it's actually beneficial) & not have general ed students (& even accelerated students) do i-ready. Also, eliminate some ancillary positions at the district level and keep the vice principals at the schools... Where THEY ARE NEEDED!
  • Parent volunteers in place of paid positions where possible, examples would be that extra yard duty position (look at Sequoia Middle School), instead of extra office staff have a copy club/file helpers/parent club position to help office manager.
  • Cancel sections that are not A-G requirements.
  • Reduce Staff at District level and salary reduction of senior positions.
  • Upper level district employees/administrators/supervisors  working at district office  and board members should be taking pay cuts. The people making the decisions about spending should be the ones facing the consequences of over spending, not teachers or assistants or lower level staff members- and certainly not the students that stuffer because educators can’t or don’t want to stay in our district.
  • Hire less upper admin.  Cut counseling (track data from AERIES -  gpas haven't moved in a decade).  It's cheaper to pay teachers an FTE to help with advising (scheduling classes).  Give PE credit for sports.  Drop unnecessary site based TOSAs.  If cutting electives, cut non-articulated/ non- CTE electives.  Cut CTE training personnel, pay an FTE for a teacher to fulfill grant obligation(s).  Cut credit recovery; make cyberhigh independent study (look at actual credit recovery data - very low), re-enroll kids in failed classes.  Vans instead of full buses (class-C license?).  Pay for class size overages instead of full FTE.   Make summer school cyber high (one FTE could handle twice to three times as many students) - if it's decided PE credit can be given for sports, cut PE; eliminate lab science over summer.  Partner with county on credit recovery.  Hire students PT for custodial jobs.
  • Stop wasting money on penalties and fines through your retirement system this is a very wasteful district and it always falls on the back of the employees
  • Start with admin first and leave classrooms last.  Look at big pools of spend and determine if it delivers on support student growth and development.  Travel and entertainment is an easy one to reduce with lower impact.  Delay training and Look into a consulting company like McKinsey or Bain to do a top to bottom reduction.  Give them your goals and they can help give recommendations.  Shift adult education to another entity's responsibility and focus on K-12 education.
  • Keep lobbying for more money from the State.   Push Prop 13. 
  • PE, Music.  Counseling is important to my student. 
  • Start at the top and make salary reductions there.  
  • If anything too much has been cut already. The short days on Wednesday plus all the minimum days are a joke.
  • There are currently 5 Teacher in service days and Teachers get paid for those days. 185 days of pay. It was part of the artificial raise the teachers were given in the previous contract. What looked liked a 4% raise was actually a 1.2% raise and 3 extra days of paid work. Remove all 4 of the District Controlled day leaving only the 1st day of school. It would only be acceptable IF the Teacher/staff meeting each week were mandated to end at site time (except under special circumstances like mandated training) and do not allow administration to try and move some of the stuff done on in service days to after school meetings. Remove those same 4 days for all support staff, Administration, counselors and district personnel as well. Removing 4 full days of pay for all employees should be a savings of over 5-6 million dollars.
  • Have EVERY middle school and high school ADMINISTRATOR teach a single class in their field of study. Most Administrators are out of touch with what is going on in the classroom. Most think classrooms are the same now as they were 10 years ago. Most forget what the grind of teaching feels like. They need to be a hands on part of the process. That would add 3-5 periods of classroom coverage to 14 campuses without increasing payroll at all. It would save over $800,000
  • Transition our union tradesmen employees (that do maintenance on MDUSD properties) to Apprenticeship Program Teachers. Ex: Have our union painters teaching classes on campuses that teach our students everything about painting. Instead of a group of 4 adults painting on one campus, you could have 1 person teaching 20 students a trade and those students could be painting the school everyday. Same is true for mowing and yard clean up. Same for building maintenance and construction. Teachers have been teaching students core subjects forever but trade school education in high school has declined. In our district, students learning a trade would be a huge step in the right direction and these trades could lead to careers. There is no reason students can't be taught to fix sprinklers by a union pipe fitter and then fix problems on campus... and potentially have a profession after high school. A class like auto shop could offer end of the year certifications that validate that the student certified to perform brake repair or oil changes or exhaust repair or tire repair. Have places like Big O Tires provide the certification testing at the end of the class.
  • Get rid of all testing that we pay for that is not mandated by the state. We are still paying for and taking tests that are optional.
  • Eliminate/significantly reduce summer school. Classes are packed because of student remediation. If all students only took each class a single time, class size numbers would be much better. If class size numbers improve, learning will improve. If learning improves, there will be less need for remediation. Instead of Teacher taught summer school, have all summer school moved online where a single teacher or administrator could monitor 100's of students at a time. Students could complete the work at home, at the city library or on a campus in a campus computer room.
  • Redefine the work description of campus supervisors. Their primary job should be monitoring student traffic and getting students back inside the classroom. Recognizing students that are habitually out of the classroom and developing a system that empowers administration to force those kids back into the classroom. Administration and Campus Supervisors should be empowered to discipline behavior issues. Those students that continually show conduct that is detrimental to the education of others should be forced into alternative educational setting that is not less demanding. Students seeking an education should have the right to get that education without non-compliant students stealing that right. If these students are in the classroom more they are more likely to succeed. If the non-compliant ones are removed, the borderline students are more like to succeed. The more students that are passing, the less need for remediation there is. The less need for remediation, the less expense for the district.
  • Get rid of non-essential people at the district office. Too many of them are making policy decisions with regards to curriculum that they have not dealt with in many years.
  • administrative cuts at the district level over teacher cuts
  • This district struggles to keep up currently, can’t imagine where to cut an already anemic system
  • District schools need to be given more autonomy in deciding programs and needs for their own communities.  Less bureaucratic oversight should eliminate the need for excessive administrative spending at the district level on unnecessary personnel and superfluous programs that fail to serve the needs of our diverse school communities.   
  • Cuts/downsize at the district office level, that do not affect students (NO classroom, school or on certificated employee cuts)
  • Break the district up in to smaller districts
  • Keep the cuts away from the classrooms and site level.  Eliminate positions and/or programs at the district level (For example there is no need for the Directors of Elementary and  Secondary Education, these positions never existed before. Each level has the position for the assistant superintendent, those should be sufficient).  Eliminate the assistant director positions in Student Services and Student Support Departments. 
  • Ideally none, but district office staff first, expensive programs second, coaches and training third (hopefully find other resources for those).
  • Cut principles and admin staff.
  • eliminate magnet schools and put resources into neighborhood schools
  • High top management and consultations.
  • Reduce union involvement. Union dues go to supporting unsatisfied teachers who are too lazy to transition to a different career.  An additional layer of bureaucracy  that protects ineffective staff at the cost of the tax payer.
  • Start with the salaries at the top.
  • Cut the administration.  Too many administrators,  double up their duties.
  • DO NOT make cuts in the classroom, make cuts in management and other areas away from teachers and students!  Keep class sizes low, under 25, as priority #1.
  • Need to do a review of current support staff responsibilities and restructure the staff. Introduce new technology workflows to make everyone accountable on a daily basis. District needs to become paperless.
  • Reduce district level admin. Split district into smaller districts. Cut the fat.
  • Leave admin positions unfilled
  • Reduction in district management before cutting classes, teachers, and programs.
  • Make the district smaller; unsponsored meals, books and computers should be the priority
  • District. Office. Administrators.
  • Athletic programs
  • Eliminate high paying admin district position
  • No more professional development days for teachers during the school year. Just have them be student days. ADA money.
  • Reassess the number of district-level administrators in order to keep priority on the school staff and educators.
  • Incorporate alternate learning platforms such as UC Scout for high school AP courses, reduce third party vendor costs for studies/surveys, allow supplies to be purchased for less at Amazon, Dollar Store, etc., allow electronic textbooks, eliminate spending on attendance programs i.e. Hero
  • Reduce emphasis on sports spending
  • Reduce administrative overhead in the district office
  • Cut your upper management or lower their salaries!
  • Cut administrative costs.
  • Digital payroll system. Modify bus drivers extra 2 hours of pay for no extra work. Hire more qualified Hr employees
  • Less administrators. Administrators take a pay cut. Suggest teachers near retirement retire-incentivize since they are making more than new teachers.
  • Reduce/eliminate admin personnel because they contribute zero to primary objective of teaching/training children for careers. Reduce non-math/english/science which contribute to development of useful future skill sets.
  • Eliminate teachers on special assignment and several positions at the district office.
  • Administration pay hold/ no raises until balanced budgets are approved and benefit the students and teachers.
  • Closure of schools with under performing students
  • The district should accept monetary donations from parents
  • Remove superintendents office as it is non essential to day to day running and costs unfairly high in proportion to the educators and school support staff
  • Stop spending money of frivolous technology. Kids need teachers and relationships, not big screen TV’s and chrome books;  the amount of time site and district staff spend tweeting is an embarrassment. How about focus on real relationships, community building and not as much time on self-promotion. Focus energies on on-site learning—-no need for elaborate field trips, 5th grade camp, etc. We have a wealth of resources right here in our community. PTA dollars should be spent on quality experiences.
  • Make independent study available for shorter absences so less $ lost in absences.
  • Remove the administrative staff. Stop outsourcing on line programs.
  • No salary increases for administrative staff.
  • Reduce expenses at the district level and add more relevant classes at the schools.
  • Being able to solicit external sources for contractors or repairs needed at the school.  For example, there was a lighting problem at my son’s school.  One of the parents is a licensed electrician who was willing to repair it for free.  But we were advised we must use district electrician for this. So essentially the entire bill could have been avoided.  Being able to find the best price for services makes the most sense. 
  • Implement zero-line budges going forward. Budget what is needed and reduce waste spending to "ensure we get the budget next year"  - this years budget should have zero impact on next years budget/plans. There is enough money, it is being managed poorly.
    Cap salaries, bonuses and fringe benefits for any and all paid workers (permanent, temp, contract, C-level or board members -anyone) at MDUSD to an annual maximum of $300k PA, with no more than a 3% over inflation raise in any single year.
    Do not cut teachers or any school services, cut out management and administration that is unnecessary to education of our children.
    Our school parent association is proud to tell us how many hundreds of thousands of dollars they raise for the school - I find it hard to believe those contributions (stealth tax) along with Fed and State funding do not generate enough for the schools.
  • None, CA has surplus money so why are they taking away school budgets?
  • If the district is in such a deficit, then we need to spread all the money towards all students.  That means getting rid of bilingual tracks, IB, and all the other branding of schools.  Many parents feel that only spanish speaking students are getting a focus and they feel that this is a form of racism.  THat's why they are leaving.  All the money being spent of double materials, special programs and from what I hear paying for people on retainer is costing this district money. 
  • I became aware of the math program-which there is not one in MDUSD-engage new york is not a program but I know it's free.  When I've talked to friends who teach in New york, they have ditched the program because it costs too much.  Let's spread the weath out to every single student.
  • Also there are alot of assisstant to assisstant in the district office.  Maybe it's time to get rid of some of those people. Teachers are being asked to do more and more in the classroom so people in the district office should as well.
  • Make sure all schools get equal funding. Increase taxes specifically for everyone in the district, or work with local government to reallocate funding and pass measures to do so. As a parent I would happily pay a lot more in taxes for education for the future if our community. It takes a village and we shouldn’t be fundraising for just our school or just our kids-it should be for all the kids in the district(and beyond, thinking if more state programs too).
  • Upper management pay cuts. It doesn’t seem fair to reduce the salaries or cut the of those at the bottom. It doesn’t make sense to give a step one assistant superintendent (for example) $142,000 a year and a step one teacher roughly one-third of that. If there is no value in the teachers, the office managers, the custodians that are the backbone of our school system, there is no one to pay to “run” them. Parents are taking their kids out of a failing system. A system that is failing because there is too much on the backs of the people that work the hardest.
  • MDUSD is too big, now is the time to divide into two smaller school districts during which time school closures or changes can be enacted if we have dropping enrolment that is so significant.
  • Eliminate elementary school band, eliminate elementary school garden classes, increase K-5 class sizes (they were increased many years ago, then reduced, now can be increased again).
  • Increase parent volunteerism opportunities  to reduce some of the admin costs of the schools.
  • Emrace new software services that can reduce administrative paperwork for maintenance and building management, financial programs like OpenGov.
  • Reconsider the need for principals or have part time principals. They provide the least direct impact of any position and come at a high price. Many successful schools do without a full time principals.
  • Reduce Administrative *District Office* high paying positions. Consolidate administrative services. Close schools that are at low capacity and combine campuses in close proximity.
  • can you consolidate and reduce administration costs? can you create a centralized special education hub for those children with special needs?
  • Eliminate or greatly reduce Adult Education
  • None, the conditions already appear to be at bare minimum.
  • I think we can re-evaluate how we structure our libraries in schools to deliver the same quality services at a lower cost through synergy and by eliminating superfluous services. Contra Costa County Library System is great and offers many duplicate services that our school libraries do. Librarians for elementary schools makes a lot of sense. In secondary however, many teachers cover research, which is now mostly web based. A teacher could be offered a stipend (similar to being a department chair) to be a school's library lead (mostly using databases now anyways). Everyone living in the county can get a library card and access tons of databases, we don't need to necessarily pay for our own librarians. Libraries can be converted to student academic centers. Just a streamlined and more efficient way to  offer the most valuable services of a library--access to information, quiet place to learn.
  • You can't reduce much when there is not much to reduce without jeopardizing losing staff, or losing jeopardizing the kids education.
  • All decorative lawn areas to be converted to California Natural landscape, saving thousands of dollars on watering and maintenance.
  • Demand more accountability for charter schools or get rid of them all together. Complete disaster.
  • None. The school programs have already been reduced. Encourage early retirement for teachers and staff that are 62 and older
  • Reduce program costs by eliminating expensive district-wide subscriptions like iReady.
  • Audit the work done at the district level to determine where positions can be merged. For example, do we really need 18 people in the Fiscal Services Department?
  • Reduce admin costs and compliance reporting costs with new software, go Green (grants available, Energy Star, LED bulbs, etc.), look for waste in food menu planning.
  • Cut down extra curricular activities by 10%; BYOD electronic gadgets for school work like    School supplies at the beginning of the school year.
  • anyone making over $100,000 get pay cuts or eliminate those positions
  • Reduce overhead
  • Reduce district office staff.  Technology should be adopted where possible to automate staff functions.  What is the ratio of district staff to teachers now versus 1985?
  • Remove TK programs. They were in place to fill the need with the start date transition and that is long done and the TK program is no longer required as these children can be in a preschool program the same as the other children with birthdays during the remaining nine months of the year.
  • All high level positions making over $100,000 should receive budget reductions.
  • I've been to the District office (many many times) there are entirely too many employees there just milling around. Cuts should be made at the District Office before you cut teaching staff.
  • Use student interns who can work for less pay and No benefits. Or cut retirement Contributions. That’s the main cost for the district.  In the private sector, people do not get such huge retirement pay.
  • Cutting all outside contractor bullying programs. They're expensive and don't work.
  • Downsize regulatory and leadership positions and reduce salary to conserve teaching and aid positions.
  • Eliminate administrative staff in the MDUSD main office
  • Areas other than site staffing.  I heard that Assistant Principals are on the chopping block and their roles and presence on campus for safety and other reasons are vital.  Perhaps district central office staffing cuts?  Maybe hiring a grant writer to bring in more revenue to pay for some positions with grant funding? 
  • Less office staff at district level
  • One of the items might be different kind of trainings for school employees (teachers, etc) and students. Some parents (like myself) are accredited trainers in specific areas and could potentially deliver trainings to school personnel and students as a donation and it will reduce appropriate budget.
  • Reducing salaries of top district employees, such as the superintendent
  • Forced retirement for senior teachers
  • I believe you and the board of directors should consider stepping down from your posts.
    1. The comment on having to increase contributions to CalSTRS and CalPERS impacting our children's future is barbaric. Are you all missing out on any benefits or salary due to this "impact to the general fund"? Pay the teachers the salaries they deserve and give them a retirement option or we will not have anyone that wants to train the next generation.
    2. The comment about the "financial burden of special education services" is deeply offensive on many levels. It is believed Mozart, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and many others were suffered from Autism. Keira Knightly is a diagnosed dyslexic, Micheal Phelps is diagnosed with ADHD, Steven Spielberg is dyslexic - have they been burdens on society such they didn't warrant 'special education' services? You and the rest of the Board are obviously detached from reality in your ivory towers - how many of you have/had special educational needs to get to where you are today?
    3. I believe the biggest step we can take to create budget reductions is for you and the Board to step down and let a team that actually cares about educating our future workforce lead the District.
    If the goal of MDUSD is to see every child is given opportunity, great education is what we require, not bureaucracy.
  • Advocate to the state for adequate funding now!!
  • Reduce administrative cost at Dent
  • If you have less enrollment you should look at labor and staffing just like any other entity does.  Some teachers may be reasy to retires and just need some encouragement.
  • Cut staff.  Not teachers or people who work at the school but administration.  You have fewer students it means you need fewer resources for it.  I work in the private sector and this is just a fact of life here. Or don't give raises, etc.
  • Less printed paper forms and papers coming home from school, instead utilize online electronic forms, flyers, etc.
  • personnel audit
  • Don't close no schools no layoffs
  • Executive level salary reductions.
    Negotiate with neighboring school districts for special ed services distribution and sharing.
  • Sponsorship and community/ parent  involvement for school maintenance and aids 
  • Our taxes have increased. Programs cut. Constantly asked for more money. My suggestion is to figure it out or risk losing more students. We’ve already put one in private school and the other is going next year. If I’m going to spend money I may as well get my child the best education possible. We’ve mostly had a good experience with MDUSD, but this is tiring.
  • In terms of budget reductions, look at cafeteria food options and ensure there is no waste happening. Ensure only healthy selections stay (we don't need sugary cereal and cinnamon rolls as options for children).
  • Apply for Grants and Funding, ask for contributions from the rich.
  • Cut some of the overpaid administration, especially at the top.
  • I have no idea how much is spent on textbooks and paper (photocopying, testing, etc.), but I wonder if we can go 100% digital. This might cut some cost; but I acknowledge that we'll need to put plans in place to provide access for those students/families that don't have access to computers, tablets, smartphones, etc.
  • Consolidate schools, convert real estate to a technical high school (consolidating all of the existing programs throughout the district), determine reason(s) for lower enrollment (aging community with less children, rival area districts, etc.), eliminate overlapping admin positions, let go of unnecessary admin functions, let go of legacy programs that are no longer at scale or impact, narrow the strategic focus of the district and become an employer of choice for teachers.  Growth is not a strategy - it is a result of your strategy.  Sometimes we have to contract to grow.
  • Get Chromebooks out of at least K-3 classes. Studies have shown that they have little benefit to these age groups. Put a freeze on administration salaries.  Petition the state for relief.  The state of California already does not enforce the law of mandatory art, music, and physical education in all schools.  Many neighbors and people in the community are thinking about starting a committee to get these local and state officials out of office and we are also looking at school board members and other administrators who fail to put the needs of students first.
  • Make more use of electronic communications and assignments.  I get a ridiculous amount of paper each week and 90%+ goes straight into the recycle bin because they already emailed me.  She has every work assignment printed out when it could be made available for her tablet, laptop, google docs, whatever and printed if a family doesn't have access to such.
  • Treat special needs children as all others and put them in the class with "buddies."  This is roughly how it's handled at my daughter's school and for the most part it works just fine.  If a child is violent, no school program will fix that - special-ed or not. 
  • What happened with all the solar power installations?  Did they not reduce overhead as expected? 
  • My daughter's school, has no sports, almost no music or PE, no language, no fine arts, no trade type (shop, home economics , etc.), no cafeteria, no lunch program, no ELP programs (without heavy cost), no school buses... Not much left to cut from a child focused area.
  • We are constantly being harassed to donate ("required" in excess of $1,000/year!), volunteer (if i volunteer, i don't work... if i don't work, i can't donate...), attend dine and donate (so little goes to the school... i'd rather give the $50 to the school than go eat somewhere i didn't want to eat at so the school gets $2).
  • Cut administrative positions not teachers.  Class size cannot increase due to budget shortfall.
  • Drought tolerant plants instead of normal, install all LED lighting, change HVAC compressors to R407 and phase out R22 refrigerant.
  • reduce the amounts allocated for the multiple sports programs currently available & allocate those funds toward teachers & classes
  • Evaluate if elementary schools can be closed and consolidated?
    Close Sequoia Middle?
    If it’s legal to shrink District boundaries, eliminate Bay Point students from MDUSD and close Mt Diablo HS?
    If there is a legal way to eliminate Summit HS-;close it and send the students to Olympic?
    Try to get a bond measure passed to make up funds?
    Not sure any of the above ideas are realistic or palatable.
    The only other option is to encourage retirements, keep wages static, or cut staff
  • Have the teachers be way more mindful about cooling and heating, many times I walk passed the classrooms with doors wide open with AC or heating belting out. On a related note have teachers work on computers in one classroom after class ends. They all have their utilities on cranked in the early afternoon when costs can be at the highest with one person in a large room. Have them go to the computer room and heat /cool one room instead of 30.
  • Combine schools, lower salaries or use contract teachers,
  • Review for where you can centralize administrative services
  • Stop subsidizing free daycare centers. Reuse text books, use notepads to do class and homework
  • Starts with your biggest liability pension reform and reduction, then teachers/staff, then students
  • Cut education programs that are not being utilized by the school sites. There are programs that are funded and not used-look at the utilization in classrooms and cut these programs.
    Better utilize Title 1/2 funds to support programs. Reduced classified positions at the DO. I understand everyone in that office plays a huge role but the bottom line is the kids suffer when their teachers are laid off and find other jobs. Then MDUSD get the "late hires" which ultimately impact our students in the classroom. It isn't fair to them or our hard working teachers.
  • If one of the problem is the number of students, close classes (or even schools) that don't have enough students - Lay off bad teachers (I'm sure there are) & Reward good ones - Lower salaries of management (a superintendent earns $240,910,, do we need one if they ask what to do to parents?)
    Invest in solar energy in every building of MDUSD, if not already, and renew the buildings, I'm sure they are aging and far from energy-efficient. It's an investment (could issue a bond for that?). I know most schools are solar powered in WC.
  • Pensions must become portable 401K like the rest of the community.
  • Reduce litigation expenses. All pending litigation should be resolved swiftly due to the high expense and uncertainty in case outcomes. Settlements are always cheaper. Taxpayers do not want to see tax dollars taken out of the classroom to be paid to lawyers.
  • Enhance efficiencies to reduce administrative staff. School offices that I have visited appear to have a lot of office staff and they don’t look particularly busy.
  • Enhance safety programs to reduce workers’ compensation expenses.
  • Non-classroom expenses.
  • Don’t replace the small kids desks in the schools that have not yet gotten them.  The tables they got in our school are more modern but ultimately hopeless and do not allow kids to store their essential stuff in one place. Every time they want to get a pencil or an eraser they have to get up and go to somewhere in the room and for young kids this is only leads to inevitable distractions. If it works and is not broken keep it!! 
  • Donation from parents and community business to inform them to get involved in financial situation
  • If student enrollment is on the decline, would it make sense to consolidate schools where enrollment is very low? Is it even an option to close a school?
  • Variable costs should track student enrollment, so not much to do there.  Some fixed costs will need to be reduced / eliminated.  Without knowing what all the fixed costs are, I can't suggest exactly what these will be.
  • Have parent/student rebiews of teachers, and keep the best, not the most tenured/highest paid.
  • Reduce administration staff. Centralize admin functions for the district. Get rid of teachers who don't like their jobs. They are causing more harm than good. Reduce school hours. Start at 9am, end at 1pm. Utilize more online classes. Get rid of textbooks. Don't build tennis courts.
  • There is nowhere to cut except at the true root of the problem which we all knoq is the required payments to the pension funds.
  • Focus on declining enrollment- kids leaving to attend private school.  Conduct root cause analysis rather than treat the symptoms.  Revenue does not increase by reducing costs.  If the school district was of higher quality, if anyone had asked parents how they felt about Common Core, if the application of state funds was allocated equally, this might not be an issue.
  • Move new teachers to 401K plans, pensions are a thing of the past and should not be offered going forward. I dare say the teachers could manage their own retirement better than the pension fund managers if they are hitting a short fall when the stock market is at record highs.
  • Reduce redundancy at administrative level
  • Reduce upper levels pay increases for levels above teachers.
    Be transparent on where money is being allocated.
  • Reduce administrative positions and overhead, eliminate contracts with unnecessary third parties
  • Is there any way to reduce overhead?  LIke lower rents, utilities, power costs?  Just brainstorming.  The teachers/staff are already underpaid as it is. 
  • 1.  Reduce the number of administrative positions that are not directly involved in the delivering educational material.
    2.  Increase outsourcing to nonprofit organizations to provide supportive services to students.
  • This question is irrelevant to ask me. But since the question was asked, please review school board salaries and Super Intendent salaries.
  • There should be a closer look at programs being paid for at school level which might be more effectively financed through master services agreements across the district. For example, our school is paying nearly $10K for licenses to the HERO program for tardy students. It is in use at other MDUSD schools. The district is in a unique position to bargain and negotiate much better pricing for commonly used items and should do so to free up more resource discretion at the school level. You should also think about outsourcing all maintenance contracts to third parties and removing union maintenance personnel, as that work can be done at a much better price point through third parties.
  • - Allow parent volunteers to help with trades backlog and school improvements and beautification. Prioritize and execute, quit wasting time. We've had paint jobs, heater repairs, light fixture repairs, etc on the books for months - qualified parents could have executed and completed by now relieving workers to do proactive maintenance in other areas...
    - Provide more 21st century communication training to teachers so we can eliminate more hardcopy
    - Allow parents to provide their own devices (chromebooks) for students if they can afford, to relieve capital and maintenance responsibility of MDUSD
    - Quit paying for high price independent consultant contracts like architects for full school redesign we know wont happen, program consultants that bash our programs, etc.
    - Find ways to pull parents in more. We spend a lot of $$ in REactive mode, but maybe PROactive $$ would be less
  • Reducing waste around textbooks that aren't utilized and testing programs. Reducing district administrative positions before teachers and disrupting student instruction
  • Stand up to the teacher’s union and demand real concessions from them
  • Remove "school of choice" designation from schools thereby removing the administrative overhead of the special handling of those schools. Automate any business processes
     such as payroll, billing, or maintenance requests.
  • Work smarter and get rid of ineffective administrators and teachers.  Make sure administrators adhere to financial guidelines and do not waste funds on frivolous, non-essentials that do not help our students' education. Look at the effectiveness of programs and the 'bang for the buck' - are you getting the desired outcomes from AVID, Hero contracts, other programs that have large financial outlays to external, for-profit companies?
  • Close schools and move students to other schools.
  • Salary reductions for superintendent and other highly paid district adminstrators
  • Educators in our schools are extremely important to our children and the future. Rather than considering cutting educators in the schools you need to look at other options such as supplies in corporate offices, find ways for corporate employees to work remotely to save cost.
  • I believe that the schools have to use union contractors for some services like painting.  I think there are times when getting quotes from outside businesses would be more cost effective but it is my understanding that is not allowed.  Being able to price compare would help save the district money.
  • Hold off on purchasing any new textbooks or curriculum. 
  • Reduction of board member salaries and/or bonuses if they receive it. Start from the top.
  • Focus on why enrollment is low instead of where to cut corners financially
  • Reduce salaries of all non-classroom facing resources.   Reduce salaries of all "management scale" resources to level no greater than teachers.   Eliminate secretarial support for all management personnel.  Tie salary increases to budget shortfall is eliminated.  BALANCE your budget.   Don't spend money you don't have...... DON'T mortgage our children's future by relying on bond measures....Audit where $$ are being spent.  If 95% of budget isn't DIRECTLY going to in classroom/student benefit - cut it.
  • Review your pension obligations, reduce pension compensation for new members.
  • Get rid of computer based teaching and iPad use at lower grade levels. Children often need assurance that teachers can not provide given their class size.
  • office people,
  • Look at removing/consolidating Assistant Superintendents. Superfluous positions within the  District Admin.
  • Be stricter about how you grant testing and reviews for 504s and IEPs in grades 6 on. If no teacher or parent observed learning issues in K-5, the chances of these requests being motivated by parents looking to create advantages or their student greatly increases. This may shave a bit off of the massive Special Ed budget requirements.
  • Increase competence at the District Office particularly in Fiscal and Human Resources. Mistakes made are costly. Reorganization when attrition occurs.
  • I would rather have a reduction in enrichment type programs rather than academic programs.  We need to stay committed to the bilingual education we have begun.
  • Have Part Time Teachers for Music, Gardening etc. and combine classes where needed.
  • For P.E. and Sports combine younger and elder classes and have elder kids help/ teach/ monitor the younger ones. Provide credit incentive for doing so.
  • For Library, collaborations can be made with the local libraries to use their older books.
  • Have staff work school days only. No overtime/comp time. Allow volunteers to clean up campuses.
  • Why is there a needs for 2 assistant superintendent, 1 Exec. Director, 2 directors, 1 assist director, 2 curriculum specialist, 2 DMA confidential and 2 clericals?
  • Start cutting from the top
  • How well are you leveraging purchasing & supply chain behaviors?  Standardization, e-Procurement, bid requirements to drive down costs, etc.
  • Can you consolidate High Schools and/or divide them into 9/10th grade & 11th/12th grade to streamline delivery of curriculum and centralize common age populations?
  • Do the current labor contracts provide for any outsourcing/contracting for non-academic services (i.e. janitorial, foodservice, maintenance, etc.) to reduce overhead/costs associated with CalPRS payments?
  • How can the district implement on-line/internet based learning to reduce operating overhead?
  • stop new construction and building improvements.
  • Reduce administrative staff
  • Consolidate schools. Consolidate with other surrounding districts.
  • If student enrollment is decreasing, I am assuming class sizes are getting smaller? If so, can classes be reconsolidated? I don't think cutting down on teachers is a solution.
  • What if we made an Amazon wishlist for the district or maybe each school that parents or local businesses could donate to?  Big and small items.  District Office needs a new printer, 20 packs of copy paper, or even just a pack of pens, that way everyone could be in on it at the level they are able.
  • Let parents help with facilities maintenance and projects.  Decrease janitorial staff. and allow parents to pitch in.
  • Staff who are due to retire take early retirement.
    Librarian staff made redundant. Utilize librarians from Contra costa library to speak to students about library resources.  Parent volunteers to run the library. Music teachers to be made redundant. Have floating music teachers that visit mdusd schools. Utilize shadelands community art for music.
  • Possibly reduce spending on schools where parents are able to raise a great deal of money and continue spending on schools where that’s not possible. Look into grants and free programs that could give schools resources.
  • Review the efficiencies in the master schedules at all school sites and determine whether or not schools are staffed appropriately.
    Remove excess staffing based on contract language, and look at the possible need to close sites if needed.
    Review the functionality of various positions to determine whether the true needs of STUDENTS are being met. Make changes where needed in order to ensure that the right services are being provided.
    Hold sites accountable for spending their money appropriately. Centralize funds when needed,  ensure the LCAP truly reflects the places where the money needs to be spent.
  • If enrollments are down, wouldn't reduction of staff be the natural response? Maybe this has occurred but clarifying this would be good information.
  • Keep teachers
  • Keeping good teachers should be a priority.  Keeping the number of students per class down should be a priority. Close examination of monies spent on external systems such as AR and similar programs should be done --this includes cost of test taking and evaluation systems. Scrutiny of the actual value of these programs to students is important --focus on the students. I don't know if there is a cost to AR for example, but I personally see little value to it for students who already good readers, and I know several educators who agree.
  • Stop spending money on reading programs and technology that are not backed by research as effective.  Also, if you don't know where you can cut costs, then there needs to be an independent audit
  • Restrict retirement.  Eliminate and reduce pensions (cap to at least 40% of pay).
  • Monitor how well those funds are being used throughout the year.
  • Fewer administrators.  Economy of scale, perhaps double up similar and geographically close schools that can be run very  similar or the same. Fewer principals and VP’s and the like.  If reductions are on the horizon, reduced the people who aren’t directly involved in working with the customers (students). 
  • It's hard to cut an already tight budget.  Some little things that could help and add up:
    1. Not allowing teachers to have mini fridges and/or microwaves in their own classrooms, just 1 per grade level or one per school site (to save on electrical bills).
    2. Planning and preparing ahead to eliminate waste (ie. back to back copies, layouts that use less paper)
    3. Using individual white boards (or erasable laminated paper) more and paper copies less.  Teachers can use a running record for formative assessments and less paper, copies and packets.
    4. Simplify and make processes more efficient and stream-lined.
  • Look at the system as a whole.  With guaranteed income and revenue stream, these problems shouldn’t be so constant and reoccurring.
  • I wouldn’t know without a thorough review of current spending. Are you offering to open your books?
  • Cut the salaries of Senior Management unbelievable what they are paying them then look at our teachers salaries and lack of funds to non section 8 schools ! Stop giving all our $$ to illegal immigrants that require smaller class sizes and multi one one English.  What abt middle class students
  • High & retain staff based on merit and performance Evals, not just seniority
  • Make cuts at the District level, NOT at the school level!!! MDUSD is heavy in administrative support roles... there are more administrative staff then there are administrators!
  • Our experience has been that the school district has a pretty lean budget already.  Increasing revenue would be helpful.  See below.
  • Make cuts in administration/management.
    Look into the costs of iReady: I still hear a lot of mixed messages about this supposedly very expensive program.
    Look into the tech support: Yes, you loaded the schools with electronics, and now you are paying pretty $ to all those IT guys managing all of it. They earn more than double than an Instructional Assistant, and I see some of them just sitting in their little rooms, not interacting with the students or teachers at all, having no clue how the technology they are implementing is actually being used.
    Last but not least, if low enrollment really is an issue, close and combine neighboring schools where possible and retain the BEST personal. (Although I know this isn't possible because the district's human resource politics is being dictated by the unions.)
  • Cut the district office employees in half.  Cut TOSA positions.  Cut Vice Principals except in high schools.  Do away with magnet programs, elementary PE teachers, and instrumental music. Parents Pay for sports, no bussing, and shorten school year Labor Day to Memorial day, save on energy cost.  Cut attendance secretary hours 4 per day.  Close willow creek.  Sell willow creek, glenbrook, abd clayton vslley buildings and close an Elementary school with low attendance.  Make some schools K-8 or K-6 so you can close schools to sell buildings.
  • Cut unnecessary positions in the district office.
  • At my daughter's school, much work is put on hold waiting until the union shops finally send someone to fix what is broken. I suggest hiring the contractors based on who is effective, cost efficient and quick. But I see the district beholden to the unions to whom political favors are due, paying the inflated prices and then complaining about being broke.
  • cut Overheads, cut vice principal,  raise fees from on campus daycare centers. Less field trips. Close  a school if needed.
  • Reduce administrator/administration costs and reduce contracts to 3rd parties - especially technology companies.
  • The teachers should pay their own 401k or pensions just like every other non union profession.
  • My suggestion would be to cut at least 10% of  board members pay and cut all extra payments to senior management including bonuses. They have to do more than talking.
  • Reduce usage/purchase of chrome books/some technology - I think my son’s teacher uses them more than it’s appropriate. Use textbooks longer - who cares if they get worn out?!
  • Do away with TK.  My son was able to attend and it was wonderful. But it really isn't fair to all the other children who don't get that extra year.
  • keep class sizes small what ever it takes, days off
  • Prioritize students, period. You should take a deep look at seats available and enrollment opportunities - you should consider innovation so that people want to stay or come to your school district - think about how you could innovate high schools so you dont lose scholars. You likely need to look closely at what enrollment looks like in the MDUSD schools that sit in Walnut Creek areas, higher income parents tend to take their students out of public and put them in private. What can the district do to increase enrollment in schools that have open seats? Are there community partnerships that you have looked at to increase dollars coming into the district for general budget. The issues are Special Education seem to be an honest breech of civil rights both for students differently able and the general population - that is a story you need to tell on a national level.
  • reduce salary for the superintendent and other higher ups
  • District leadership salary freeze - projects with contracts put on hold, reviewed by outside committee of stakeholders, volunteers used for labor if possible
  • get classe Sizes figured out and to what is mandated
  • Get rid of the school psychologist
  • Declutter, new direction for management.
  • cut down your administrative staff at the District Office.
  • decreasing district administrative salaries.
  • Pay the admin staff less. Teachers more
  • Reduce salaries of top administrators
  • Close low performing schools while adding slots to in demand schools in order to attract families away from private schools
  • 1-Reduce salaries of high level positions in the district such as superintendents, assistant superintendants and principals.  2-Replace and install greener/safer and more energy efficient lighting such as replacing flourescent tubes and CFLs in district/school offices, pods, and classrooms with LED lighting such as businesses are doing.  3-Send less staff to workshops/trainings that cost money and require substitutes and have those who attend share/train teachers at their school. 4-Utilize more early release student days for teacher collaborative meetings so that less substitutes are required. 5-Look for and use the most economical gardening and construction companies available who do a good job
  • Minimize or cut all together money for administrators to go to trainings or conferences especially if these include travel and hotel. Priority for money spent on professional development should be for newer teachers who need it and are directly working with students. Cut in areas that are farthest from students.
  • In my home PG&E has increased tremendously, I can only imagine what the schools cost for this has become. Cutting back on electricity would be a great place to save for our school.  Making sure that all equipment is turned off school and utilizing natural light when ever possible are just a couple of ways to cut back.  How much does each classroom use in paper alone?  I noticed in my sons classroom there are bins and cubby's full of wasted paper. Copies made of the same packet that will most probably never even be used.  Going green and teaching the students to as well.
  • work with the union to allow willing parent should to take on larger maintenance tasks like painting portions of the school vs. cutting critical roles like librarians - that is a rediculous consideration.
  • Look at where the enrollment is declining. can programs be combined? Unfortunately some staff reductions?
  • Have PE once a week
  • require students to pay for materials and books
  • There is a lot of money to be saved in waste services from what I have gathered. We are working at Bancroft elementary to reduce the amount of landfill disposal and increase the compost and recycling. This has the potential to save thousands per school per month if applied District wide. Not to mention the added benefit of helping a little more to feed hungry children when standardized and applied across the District.   I know this will not fix the entire budget shortfall but wouldn’t we all rather cut from this “waste” than from educational services?     
  • Stop buying new computers
  • Eliminate positions at the top of the pyramid (superintendent assistants, secretaries to superintendent assistants, etc.)  Cut back on unnecessary expenses related to sports, wasteful purchases, and such.
  • I don’t know enough about how the budget is allocated to suggest areas that could lend themselves to cost cutting without sacrificing the quality of our kids’ education.
  • Share office resources (I.e. personnel) with other schools in the district and reduce headcount. Enforce earlier mandatory retirement of tenured teachers and hire new teachers to backfill. After accelerated probationary term, new teachers are given tenure/job protection until mandatory retirement date. Increase said new teacher salary by 15% over initial starting teacher salary w/o tenure but slow down rate of salary increases. Start a review process that stack ranks non-teaching personnel and eliminate bottom 10% performers annually. Redistribute 50% of the recovered wages to other non-teaching staff. Apply remaining saved wages to general fund
  • Are there energy cost reductions possible by converting to solar at all campuses?
  • Cut salaries and or jobs for the high level management personnel
  • Remove Valentine's Day school closure. Stop renaming schools and spending money on such. Freeze salaries for anyone making more than $150k. Cut out anything that doesn't make sense - see my first 2 sentences.
  • make special ed more efficient by not changing program managers in the summer, which means a new person for every IEP and parental confusion at the beginning of every school year
  • Close schools in areas experiencing the greatest reductions in student enrollment
  • There is a lot of food waste. The portions are too big and majority of children complain that the food tastes bad and throw away most of it, creating a lot of trash on a daily basis! Please consider offering small and large serving sizes and food that tastes good and Even adults are encouraged to purchase!
  • Administration costs are always the highest and most wasted.  Company cars are a huge expense and unnecessary.  High salary at that level is more than enough to account for the cost of owning and maintaining ones vehicle.  It does not benefit the children in any way so why is it a part of a school budget? 
  • Cut administrative positions and salaries which are not directly serving student needs.  Cut funding to ESL and ELL programs.
  • Cut some hours as you did before
  • Cut the vacant positions in the DO, and Sites.  Then eliminate the consultants and contractors that are not needed.  Rearrange the staff in the DO from departments that need people. 
  • Reduce the superintendent’s salary and streamline district staff. Do not take any funding away from individual schools or staff, they barely have anything as is.
  • Allow PE credits for students who are in sports or in choir.  My daughter did much more physical activity in volleyball and in show choir than she did in PE.  While this might cut some PE teachers, there will be layoffs regardless and as a parent, I would like to see cuts that are in the best interest of students.
  • Take a look at the district office and see where jobs can be consilidated. Make surevyou are not asking just the schools to make sacrifices.
  • I believe any further cuts to spending would only deteriorate the already low quality of education.
  • Consolidate alternative education sites
    Eliminate Summit
    Eliminate college and career advisors and give responsibilities to counselors
    Eliminate librarians (they are hardly on campus as it is)
    Reduce the number of Assistant Superintendents
    More cuts at the district level
    Eliminate AVID
    Eliminate IB program (so few students take advantage)
    Do not fill vacant positions
    Allow sports and marching band to count as PE
    Eliminate equity team
    Eliminate middle school sports
    Eliminate Elementary school music programs
    Reduce registrar/office manager to 11 months
    Eliminate Naviance
  • I think we should eliminate some of the programming we currently offer (avid, IB programs, Naviance and Summit.
  • There should be more cuts at the district level.
  • We should expand what counts as physical education (include sports, marching band, etc.)
  • The current vacant positions should be kept empty for now.
  • There needs to be extra space and facilities for students who have special needs (an extra campus, specialized classrooms, specialized teachers/therapists).
  • Reduce non-core non-graduation requirement classes such as choir.
  • I would recommend cutting at least one third of all district administrators.  I would recommend clearing the many unfilled jobs on the books and free up that money source.  I would recommend cutting all extra curricular school costs.  I know that is tough but if it is as bad as you say, the cuts need to stay away from pure academic K-12.
  • There is nothing we can do without. Quite the contrary, we have many areas that need additional funding.
  • Look carefully at all of our programs, determine which are effective with hard data to support success. Eliminate all non essential programs that cost money- AVID, PBIS, IB , iready are possibilities.are these costly initiatives helping students?   Look at departments and number of employees, such as Equity, do we need a full time director, 2-3 counselors and admin support?  What is the dashboard telling us? Where do we need to improve, Use lower cost teacher leaders for curriculum and instruction work,trained tosas can lead these efforts in concert with C and I director.  Work to retain students, learn why they leave the district . Close schools if necessary,
  • Cut administrative salaries before eliminating teaching positions!
  • Consolidate schools in areas with too few students (which sure isn’t Pleasant Hill and Martinez). Divide MDUSD into five separate school districts so that schools can be managed more efficiently.
  • 1) This is not going to be easy. Make sure to include diverse perspectives when looking at all the options; including people who disagree. 
  • 2) Reach out to rural school districts for ideas. Many rural school districts have met the community needs while dealing with declining attendance for decades. They can help with lessons learned, and ideas around school consolidation.
  • 3) Honestly assess birth rates in our district and the human migration patterns for the state. Use this to help forecast future needs. Then, start conversations about where we need to consider school closures. Don’t “surprise” the community with what may seem like a last minute decision.
  • 4) Start talking with the Unions about the future of Public Pension Funds. The outlook seems grim, and many people are worried about future funding. Most community stakeholders are genuine concerned about these pensions; including those who are not in the public sector.
  • Split schedule for kindergarten.
  • Reduce the books & supplies expenditures - the difference between the original budget and adopted budget for books & supplies (both restricted & unrestricted general fund) grew by 250% in FY20.  If you are operating in a deficit, with using reserves to balance the budget, why would you dramatically increase expenditures.
  • Set realistic expectations for capital outlay - in FY20 (unrestricted and restricted GF summary), your capital outlay increased by 3057% from original budget to adopted budget.  $9 million of that is to be used on building and improvements.  I would love to see the districts plan to spend $9 million on building improvements in one fiscal year.
  • If a known deficit is occurring, which is why you are conducting this survey, the district should be scrubbing its non-personnel lines first.  Examine your carry-overs from previous years.  If you can't spend your current year budget fully, then you shouldn't need the unspent from the prior year PLUS your current years budget.  Budget what you actually think you will spend or have the capacity to spend.  Otherwise, it looks like you're squirreling money away so you can't provide it to teachers, or to hire more teachers.
  • Reduce administrative staff and salaries - your high level district staff do not inspire confidence and unfortunately that impression trickles down to all administrative employees.
  • Increase transparency to the public by showing year over year actual expenses in all funds, by category, in an easy to read and easy to find document.
  • Merge schools where enrollment is decreased, so that less schools are requiring the overhead of non-student related supporr
  • Less assistants and less extracurricular activities that can be abused. Just eliminate things that are experimental, all a school needs is teachers, a principal, counselors, cafeteria and a couple of police officers. If you have the extra money for fun stuff then go for it but if you have to start cutting people you should look at barebones foundation as I mentioned above, lock it in and then start evaluating things from the inside out. The less critical it is for the school to run correctly the higher likelihood it should be removed. After school programs were always more fun than beneficial for my development. Teachers to teach, principals/office to do their thing, counselors to hold it all together, anything else is just a luxury. Even in my old high school we had to cut budget so they actually just cut a lot of cafeteria stuff and after school programs and we didn't really feel it in a negative way. 
  • If your enrollment is down you need to right size staffing.  Possibly even close and consolidate schools.
  • reduce CalSTRS and CalPERS contribution
  • Have the state budget and allocate their funds better. We're the 5th largest economy in the world, how do we not have enough money to pay for the best schooling!
  • Let outside contractors come in and do work at the schools for less money or for donations to the schools.  We have wanted to make improvements only to have this nixed by union labor.  Union labor should be held to the same costs or outside groups should be entertained where costs can be cut or removed altogether as there are many contractors out there willing to donate time and resources to improving school sites if allowed.  This is a big hindrance to your budget
  • Eliminate waste/inefficiency in the district office!
  • 1. Cut iReady - it's not getting results and is actually probably causing social, emotional, and psychological problems. My daughter has been at the same level for 2 years (testing at early 2nd grade from the start of 1st grade to mid-3rd grade, and I'm here to tell you she's made progress), because she was tested at the start of 1st grade and the test went so long due to its adaptive methodology, and after 3 giant chunks of testing, she now has test anxiety and refuses to try hard on tests (check Defending the Early Years for all the research on how testing this young is highly problematic for kids' mental health). And now she complains about the improper level of instruction she gets weekly on a computer and went from loving math to hating it. My son who is probably a late-2nd grade math (if not 3rd grade, and his teacher is trying to give his advanced math because he's so bored) just tested at early Kinder because he said he was tired. He is now hating school too. Another friend's kid just tested at the 1st percentile and she demanded a retest and he tested in the average range. Give back those 90 minutes of weekly instructional time, and additional testing time to the teachers who are getting paid to teach my children. I'd rather my kids get art or music or free time rather than iReady. And even though the company's marketing is strong, you should look at the history of the founders - they are about derailing public education (and it's working). So this will save you about $1 million from what I understand (not to mention how much money you'll save in the long run by preventing mental health challenges in the children and burnout in teachers who feel disrespected when you tell them you think a computer program is better at teaching than they are).  And I'm all about developmentally appropriate progress monitoring, but this test and what it creates is not helping this district - and many of my school psych colleagues report not liking this tool as well. Pick something better and cheaper.
    2. Streamline transportation and change school start times to later. There is no reason children should have the levels of tardies they have at my children's elementary school. And even once kids show up, many of them are so tired because it's hard to get enough sleep with a 7:40 start time. So now again the school is trying to get kids to learn when they haven't had their basic needs met. Maslow before Bloom. Get them a time that will let them sleep, and then have the full capacity to learn.
    3. Don't waste money on non-sustainable programs. I'm all about Social and Emotional Learning, but spending money on programs like Soul Shoppe or Playworks that require you to pay them every single year for services is just a total waste. Instead, pick programs that give teachers tools that they can do in their classrooms as a Tier 1 intervention forever. Pay for them to have things that stick around without ongoing need for outside folks to come in. My faves are Kimochis (which is heavily used at Rocketship schools FYI), Zones of Regulation, and Toolbox. Ruler is good too. These allow you to buy the program and have it forever.
    4. Look for experts in the local community to provide professional development workshops for free and accept when there are free offerings. I have offered over $6800 in free training and consultation and have never been taken up on it by administration (despite teachers telling me they want it). I am not alone. I have several colleagues who are local professors who have offered free training and have been turned down. I understand that any program or support has to be aligned with any given school's mission, vision, and goals - and I'm here to say that I keep seeing schools buying programs that are not getting them what they want and not sustainable. So, instead, schools should take people up on these offers of free services that are in fact solid and sustainable!
    5. Look to partner with local universities on research projects. Other nearby districts participate in research that allows them to receive tons of free materials and support as part of the investigation. We should be actively seeking these types of partnerships.
    6. Give teachers more support in teaching reading in an evidence-based fashion. Google the news about how the Lucy Caulkins program (which seems to be commonly used in this district, based on what I've seen and teachers I've spoken with) is not at all aligned with the science of reading. This is leaving countless children behind in reading skills, which then leaves them struggling through the remainder of school (read UC Berkeley's Anne Cunningham's research or Keith Stanovich's research on how late 1st grade reading is a huge determinant of how well kids are still doing in 11th grade). This district needs to do better. 
    7. Consider the golden retirement thing that allows the district to have teachers near retirement retire early, so you can cut their high salaries, and get new teachers with lower salaries.
    8. Avoid having so much money go toward special ed lawsuits, but more adequately funding school psychologists, and create Multi-Tiered Systems of Support and other programs that better prevent problems in the first place (and leave enough funds to actually meet the special needs of the students with disabilities). Did you know that for every $1 invested in high-quality Social and Emotional Learning, you get $11 return on investment (yes, some of this is at the societal level down the road, but some of that savings is during the schooling period). And for every $1 invested in high-quality early childhood education, you get about $7 return on investment. All of these things reduce special education, retention rates, dropout rates, behavioral problems, crime rates, etc. And Tier 1 support is not referring to counselors going in to classrooms. We need teachers doing this work (and given adequate training to do so). And we need specialists - such as School Psychs - running progress monitoring and having a plan for Tier 2 interventions. I could go on an on - in a nutshell, this district needs much better systems.
    9. Cut down on electricity costs by doing an electricity audit. At another district I consulted in, they had someone make a plan to reduce costs here and had significant savings. There were signs in places like the bathroom that reminded people to turn lights off. You could also check that there aren't things like mini-fridges or microwaves in individual teacher rooms (unless needed for health reasons).
    10. Create a system of sister schools. So often small schools are reinventing the wheel when you could save costs - for example, for a PD that you wanted to bring in, you could have two (or more) schools all get together and do the PD to only have the 1 cost.
    11. Survey teachers and parents to find out which administrators they actually find helpful, and which ones they find to not be a good use of the district's money. Cut the administrators who are not doing their jobs good enough - and it's easy at the top level to think that people are doing well, when down in the trenches, people see something very different - people who are trying to respect the chain of command so the memo doesn't get to the top.
    12. Offer more support in terms of teacher (and other educator) well-being to reduce absences, burnout, and quitting on the part of teachers.
    13. More actively recruit subs from local universities (go to job fairs and explain that people just need a CBEST and a bachelors) so we have enough subs, and we don't need to separate kids and pay teachers extra to have a day of an overcrowded, minimal-learning classroom for the day.
    14. Help PTA and PFC groups connect with each other better, so they can know which problematic programs out there are just trying to get their money and aren't great, and which ones work well and are worth the money (and maybe even split costs for parent night speakers, for example, or negotiate lower rates for coming to both schools, etc.)...and then some PFCs might have extra money to help at schools where budgets are being cut (or perhaps they could even be generous and adopt a less fortunate school in the district to contribute to).
    15. Consider getting rid of your math instructional coaches or making the system better. When I’ve mentioned coaches to teachers I know, they tell me they’ve never been supported by a math coach in the district. How are you measuring if these people are doing their jobs well and being effective? In general, the district needs to better survey/measure what is going well or not, and respond accordingly.
  • Please do not reduce any school nurse and health related positions.  School nurses are already short staffed and MDUSD needs more credentialed school nurses in order to keep our children safe.  The number of student's with health issues continues to rise every year.  Credentialed school nurses help reduce chronic absenteeism and help our kids stay healthy so they can learn. 
  • Consolidate alternative education sites.
  • Reduction in administrative positions (large salaries); Closing schools if possible and leasing building; If teaching positions are eliminated, it may be possible to increase class size and hire a teaching assistant for the larger class, as opposed to paying a teacher salary (not that I want teachers to lose jobs). Speak to local employers about offering incentives to employees who volunteer in their child's school.
  • Shorten school days, allow for more parent support in upper grades to offset possible support staff layouts, decrease administrator salaries, create better communication between PTA and administration to discuss possible support to be offered, reduce reading lab days, increase parent education/teacher communication to reduce need for special services.
  • IReady and programs that cost lots of money. As well as any positions from the top that are not needed. Keep cute away from the classroom!
  • Eliminate or consolidate positions at the higher level
  • - Look for alternative ways to provide snack/lunch that doesn't require overhead - staff, cafeteria/cooking equipment and supplies, food that goes unused and is perishable.
    - Eliminate TK; families can enroll in preschool through public city programs or private childcare.
    - Decrease the number of zone exemptions so attendance per school is more predictable and resources/staff is maximized at each facility.
    - Encourage parents, students and the community to get involved, be vocal and lobby for education to state representatives.
  • Get rid of the IB curriculum
  • Reduce all non teacher administrators
  • Pay freeze. Larger class size. Furloughs. Eliminate stipends.
  • Cancel IB Programs
    Do more district-level cost cutting
    Less Assistant Superintendents
    Think twice about filling open positions
    Allow students to get PE credit for extra curricular activities
    No more AVID
    Cut Librarians
    Cut equity team
  • Classroom sizes are too big. Do not cut teachers or salary. You have to do much better at how you bid your projects and reduce the overruns due to poor project management.
  • Stop promising pensions that are unsustainable and focus on students.
  • If you pay someone to clean trash "litter" left by students (outside of janitor duties) I recommend to be included in philanthropy class. They can take pride in keeping campus clean. They might think twice about littering after cleaning up after kids who litter. Life skill.
  • There is a lot of food waste. The portions are too big and majority of children complain that the food tastes bad and throw away most of it, creating a lot of trash on a daily basis! Please consider offering small and large serving sizes and food that tastes good and Even adults are encouraged to purchase!
  • Eliminate anything that does not directly support students. There seems to be a lot of extra people at the top.
  • It is pretty hard to determine reductions, as I do not know what the budget looks like.  Generally I would say that maybe some MDUSD office payroll could be cut.  I believe the schools would be fine given a little more responsibility with less overhead.  Try not to take away directly from the student’s learning environment.
  • Go through the us get line by line and see what vendor contracts can be renegotiated or dropped for better prices. Look at the median (not average) pay for administrative roles and see where that can be reduced.
  • Cut the extras and the fun stuff. Any kind of "enrichment". Bye Bye 5th grade camp, if necessary. Put off replacement or expansion of playgrounds and other facilities. Make ANY cuts anywhere, that are not detrimental to anyone. But NO CUTS to math, reading, or meals for low income. And definitely NO CUTS to services for the most vulnerable (SPED) students. Honor FAPE, yes. But shift the financial burden to individual households for anything considered an "extra".
  • Make the kids clean up the classroom before they are dismissed
  • Close schools with low enrollment.  Seek to potentially sell excess school property. 
  • Require a minimum enrollment payment for your child to attend school. Or require a minimum of volunteer hours to the school.
  • Increase melrose tax from $67 (I believe to)  to $150 per year.
  • Cut frivolous And extra positions
    Spending on non essential learning resources
  • It was mentioned that enrollment has been declining.  Perhaps schools can be combined where there is lower attendance.
  • Reduce district office personnel, incentivize early retirement to replace with  teachers or interns lower on the salary scale, reduce consumable costs (ie the Amount of paper my 2 kids bring home is literally more than an entire grade level at my school, which I am the principal of), and look at classified personnel over certificated emoloyees as a way to reduce costs, reduce busing costs. If there is truly a huge trend over time of decreased enrollment, look at closing certain schools which woild be a hige cost savings. Bargain larger class sizes in the upper grades which can significantly impact costs as the majority of costs in a district are for employees.
  • get rid of HERO program! 
  • Reduce need for  substitutes by not allowing teachers to take vacation during school days.   Way to many weekend trips.  
    Lobby/shame private schools to accept kids with disabilities as well.   
    Push back on teachers unions.  Teachers have a good deal, more generous and flexible than most other occupations, with retirement, sick leave and two months off.  
  • Reduce salaries on any MDUSD staff who are making over $100,000
  • Tell parents what we need to say to our elected officials to get you more funds
    Make sure lower income schools are funded best as parents in higher SES areas such as MDES and Highlands can fundraise to supplement.
  • Keep them away from the classrooms. Elementary schools need a counselor!
  • Streamline district office personnel
    Incentives for early retirement/hire new, young teachers
  • Reduce administration sallaries
  • Please do not increase class size or get rid of teachers. This will be hurt our children. See what reductions can be made in clerical support first at the district office. Also, look at ways to renegotiate contracts for services provided,. Maybe reduce after hour programs where it is required to pay overtime for janitorial, if it means keeping our classrooms at a good size.  Provide a more inclusive model for special education where maybe the need for paraprofessionals are lowered.  A co teaching model where students in special education are mainstreamed and you have a general ed and special ed teacher on he classroom. This would benefit all students, and if there is a need to have slightly larger class sizes at least there are two credentialed teachers that are able to provide instruction in small groups.
  • Remove the TK program
  • Cut some of the ridiculously high admin salaries.
  • End TK classes for the small population of students who qualify. Most families are providing children with private preschool and there is no reason why a small group of children with birthdays in a three month window should get an extra year of free public education while their peers continue to pay for private preschool, only to meet back with their peers in Kindergarten where they all start fresh anyway. Additionally, more cuts need to happen at the district level and our classroom budgets need to remain top priority and should not receive any additional cuts. The more cuts that continue to be made at the classroom level, the more students will leave the district. The district needs to show its families that the children and quality of education they receive remain the highest value.
  • Administrators are overpaid. Freeze salary increases.
  • cut AP classes because the District has College Now and DVC summer classes, so students can take classes and pass with a "C" for credit. AP tests only help College Board generate income. Educate the parents about this.
  • Switch to 401k programs
  • Food services. Families in our district can provide food for their kids or get help from other programs.
    Close underperforming schools.
  • Cut some electives,
  • Lower salaries of top school “officials”, combine any low enrollment schools in the outskirts of the district. Walnut Creek schools are impacted so what schools possibly have low enrollment??
  • My perception is that the District Office is bloated with non-essential support positions 1. Prioritize the core mission (the classroom) and significantly reduce the FTE of non-essential support positions at the District Office. 2. Offer District staff with teaching credentials, the opportunity to return to the classroom 3. Recruit volunteers (i.e. parents) to fill District Office functions and divert resources back to the classroom. 4. Conduct a feasibility study to evaluate cost/benefits of this large district - including an alternative to seriously consider breaking up the District by city or reasonable geographic boundaries. 5. Use tools like Lean Sigma to imagine creative means to more efficiently use existing resources and to eliminate waste.
  • Reduce spending at the district level by cutting so many district administrators. Our students need teacher librarians, and nurses.
  • We contribute substantial additional donation dollars on top of taxes to support the school. What is the district doing to cut unnecessary or discretionary spending/expense? 
  • eliminate iReady.
  • Higher paid Administrators take a pay cut.
  • Close some schools, decision should be made on performance not location.
  • The superintendent should take a pay cut to help with the budget issues.
  • Cut district jobs that are redundant, cut Full Day Kindergarten
  • Reduce top heavy administration
  • Negotiatiate with the teachers union to 1). Allow volunteers to do deferred maintenance work that the current staff does not have time to do. Each school can organize parent volunteers to complete jobs further down on the to do list that are not urgent and the current staff does not have time to do . It won’t take away from union jobs but should reduce future expenses by solving problems before they become big expenses. For example, painting doors and facia that are cracking and warping now will prevent us from spending more money replacing them when they become unuasable from neglect. 2). Allow parent organizations at each school to pay for needs they feel are not being met - for example hiring an extra teacher. Currently, PTA’s are restricted to paying for things the district does not. We can pay for a teachers assistant but can’t pay for a full time teacher.
  • Reduce upper level "management" that saps funds from teachers and classrooms
  • It's absolutely crazy that the CA Department of Education is pushing CalSTRS and CalPERS costs to the district. And that it then comes from a fund that is normally intended for general education programs and staffing. This cost needs to be pushed back to the state. Same goes with special education services. I know you are faced with an immediate need, but I wish the district could help to educate and inform the community about these costs so that we can lobby the state.
  • Consolidate district level positions. Take on more responsibilities as schools have to do when they get cuts.
  • Reduce at the district office first!
    Consolidate district level positions. Why so many directors and Assistant Sups???
    If teachers and counselors have to take on additional duties and students so should district people. Consolidate!!!
  • Let Certificated High School Counselors take over College and Career-
    Start cutting at the top district level
    Reduce classified school office workers hours and months
    Cut Avid
    Cut Elementary and middle music programs
  • Save energy. Make sure that classroom lights are off when not in use. Possibly make them motion censored. Take advantage of natural light that comes through the classroom. Get the heating systems regularly checked for maintenance to avoid having to replace any large expensive utility down the line. Continue to invest in the teachers and staff. If they go to work with proper compensation, then they will worry less about how to pay for their own classroom material. Almost all teachers invest their own money, but never get reimbursed. This way they can focus on teaching in different ways, using a variety of materials, and will be able to reach all students. My child is a hands on learner, but without manipulative to help him, he will fall behind in some areas and won’t absorb the material like his fellow classmates.
  • More fund raising at school level (high school's especially)/ reduce wages for office members
  • It seems there are too many schools in the district. If some schools have special offering it might attract enrollment. Poor school ratings and non performing schools lead to enrollment elsewhere.  Field trips and outings while fun, it seems require more than the benefit they provide.
  • While I am truly grateful for and enjoy seeing the large assortment of enriching programs that MDUSD has to offer, such as school gardens, the International Baccalaureate program and a large number of Advanced Placement (AP) courses, in the end, I see these as "extras" that we might have to cut back on, in order to cover the District's obligations to provide at least the  basic educational requirements for all children. One of my own children currently benefits from taking an AP course. I am glad that she gets to do this as she finds the class exciting and highly rewarding.  However, my personal opinion is that she only needs to take 1-2 of these each year, from Sophomore to Senior year. Also, I would not mind if the AP options were limited to the very basic subjects-Math (Calculus), English, Social Studies (World and American) and Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics). I believe the current AP course offerings at many high schools in MDUSD are quite extensive (way beyond these options) and can be quite expensive to fund--since it is hard to find the teachers to teach them (especially STEM), and as they have a high "drop out rate," which would make them expensive to run, if there are not enough students to justify the cost, etc. 
  • Eliminate the Wednesday half days to perhaps reduce operating costs by consolidating days of instruction.
  • Close schools with low headcounts
  • There are too many administrators. As a parent to a child with special needs, I have hear if "program specialists" but in real life, parents have no idea who these folks are and they don't add value. Also tons of secretarial support that could be taken on by other staff.
  • Cut administrator and higher salaries
  • Less staff in Central Office , schools are working with less adults and they need more staff at schools than central office
  • Do not cut more principals and vice principals! I have three kids at three schools and they cut VPs last year and we can tell the difference! My son is at middle school and they cut a VP and at the high school as well. We need these positions back!  If you need to cut, please make sure that all teachers have full classes and work with the master schedule to make sure that all teachers are being utilized!