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Sulphur Springs to increase class sizes

Posted: June 25, 2009 9:05 p.m.
Updated: June 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Sulphur Springs School District will increase class sizes in kindergarten and third grades next school year in a bid to meet reduced state revenue, a district official said Thursday.

Enrollment caps for the two grade levels will increase from 20 students to 24 students, said Vicky Myers, assistant superintendent of business services.

Caps for first grade and second grade will remain at 20 students, she said.

The larger class sizes will save the district $350,000.

Even with the increased enrollment caps, the district will fall far below the typical classroom size of 30 to 32 students, Myers said.

The decision Wednesday night was part of a $45.6 million budget approved by school board members to meet a June 30 deadline.

Cuts were based on projected revenues from the state, although the state Legislature has not yet passed its own spending plan.

"I think that we've done a very good job as far as keeping our cuts as far away from the classroom as we can," Myers said.

Most of the cuts have come from custodial and administration funds, she said.

"Our superintendent has had a keen eye for working with the trustees to make sure (the classroom) is always the focus," she said.

To meet the $1.6 million budget reduction for the upcoming fiscal year, the district has eliminated two assistant principal positions, reduced a classified supervisor position in the maintenance and operation department, reduced custodial work and eliminated field trips for students and conferences for district employees, she said.

The district had already eliminated field trips for students in the 2008-09 school year, she said.

A retirement-incentive program for classified and certificated district employees allowed for seven teaching positions to be eliminated, she said.

As part of the adopted budget, passed by board members Wednesday, the district will keep a balanced budget for the 2009-10 fiscal year but anticipates "some major difficulties" in the year after, Myers said.

The district is coming up with additional potential cuts to be discussed during the July 15 board meeting.

"We need to make up quite a bit of money before the year 2010-11," she said.

As with all the other local school districts, Sulphur Springs based its budget on the governor's May revision of California's budget.

Even if a state budget is passed, more cuts to education could still be on the way.

"We are by no means out of the woods," Myers said.

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