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Newhall District Considers Budget Cuts

At least $2.2M must be slashed.

Posted: February 21, 2008 4:23 p.m.
Updated: April 23, 2008 5:04 a.m.
 

The Newhall School District governing board discussed ways to slash its budget Tuesday in reaction to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposed state budget cuts in funding for education.

"We are looking at about a $1.1 million in cuts on the district general fund side and another $1 to $1.5 million to come from the schools - we don't know yet from where," said Superintendent Marc Winger.

The cuts Winger recommended to the board that will affect individual schools include a 10 percent reduction in office staff; a reduction in custodial services; less money for materials, supplies, conferences and consultants; the loss of one yard duty supervisor per school site; and a return to a 30:2 student/teacher ratio at five district kindergarten programs.

"Office staff hours will be cut, which will affect people, but I don't know if they will lose jobs or just hours. That will be up to the principals," Winger said.

At the district level, certain overtime and substitute work will be eliminated; health benefit costs for management will be frozen; and spending on materials, supplies and conferences will be reduced. The elimination of a clerical position in instructional services has already taken place, as that employee left for another job. Winger's recommendations also include reductions in areas that may not be sustainable "due to emergency or unforeseen circumstances."

"I'm gonna slash the budget, but one special education case could cost us $100,000 in legal fees," Winger said. "If that does happen, we would have to cover those fees, so some of these reductions might not work out."

The recommendations came as no surprise to board members who were well aware that cuts would have to be made.

"We had a very good discussion. We talked about the importance of trying not to eliminate administrators, teachers and classified staff, to the best of our ability," said Board Member Bob Jensen. "We're doing the best we can to make as few cutbacks as possible, and still balance the budget."

The budget cuts will be part of the second interim budget revision for the 2007-08 school year, on which the board will vote in March, and the budget for the 2008-09 school year, on which the board will vote in June, Jensen said.

"The cuts that we're going to make need to be implemented by August 2008," Jensen said.



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