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February 25, 2009 > School district considers cuts

School district considers cuts

Submitted By Rick LaPlante

Forced to deal with the local impact of California's financial crisis even without agreement on a state budget, the New Haven Unified School District Board of Education accepted a recommendation for $5.9 million in reductions in the proposed budgets for 2009-10 and 2010-11.

As school districts throughout the state waited for the Legislature to act on Governor Schwarzenegger's budget proposal, which includes another huge cut to public education, New Haven has been forced to adjust its budget to account for the loss of $4 million in the current school year, $1.7 million in 2009-10 and $2.2 million in 2010-11 - on top of a $7 million hit last year.

The board approved sufficient reductions to cover $1.5 million in internal borrowing necessary to balance the 2008-09 budget and an additional $4.4 million previously budgeted for 2009-10 and 2010-11. Recommendations were made with input from staff, parents, students and other community members, through site leadership, in School Site Council meetings, and through the New Haven Community Forum and the Student Senate at James Logan High School.

Superintendent Kari McVeigh and Chief Business Officer Ted Hood both noted all of the items are considered critical to the District's mission. In formulating the recommendation, however, cuts that the community indicated it least wants to see - such as class-size reduction, co-curricular activities and transportation - were delayed to 2010-11 to give the district as much time as possible to find alternative funding.

Reductions for 2009-10 included eliminating Staff Development Days (three days at the start of the school year when teachers are paid if they choose to take additional training); staffing middle school and high school classes at a 30:1 ratio instead of 29:1; reducing classified positions (pending consultation with the local leadership of the California School Employees Association); eliminating eight counseling positions; reducing reliance on outside agencies for some Special
Education services; reducing administrative staffing by three more positions (director of K-8 leadership, data analyst and administrative assistant); and replacing a technology manager with a technician.

Reductions for 2010-11 will include eliminating K-3 class-size reduction; eliminating 9th grade class-size reduction; eliminating co-curricular activities and activity/athletic directors; eliminating K-8 home-to-school transportation; eliminating the district's share of funding for Union City Police officers assigned to James Logan and Conley-Caraballo high schools; closing one elementary school; and eliminating Opportunity School (an alternative program for middle school students).

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