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March 18, 2009 > School district mulls parcel tax

School district mulls parcel tax

Submitted By Rick LaPlante

New Haven Unified School District will not have to lay off teachers due to state budget cuts. To balance the 2009-10 budget however, the Board of Education says it needs to:
* give up 8.5 extra counselors hired two years ago,
* lay off three administrative staff,
* replace a technology manager with a technician, and
* re-assign four elementary school assistant principals.

The board will vote on the proposals at its next meeting and consider the feasibility of a parcel tax to avoid further reductions.

Pending consultation with the local leadership of the California School Employees Association regarding the possibility of a furlough program, the district may also:
* eliminate some classified positions,
* cut three staff development days, and
* staff middle and high school classes at a ratio of 30:1 instead of 29:1.

Last month, the state legislature agreed on a budget that included $7.4 billion in decreased funding to education.

The board postponed class-size reductions, and resulting teacher layoffs, until the 2010-11 school year. They also decided to wait until 2010 to cut home-to-school transportation and eliminate co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, "to give us time to try to find funding alternatives," Superintendent Kari McVeigh said.

"If Sacramento is going to continue to cut funding to education, it's imperative for local districts to identify new sources of revenues, to help us maintain smaller class sizes and to pay for things like transportation and extra activities," she added. "We've begun to actively investigate the possibilities for a parcel tax - how much voters would be willing to support, how much it would raise, when we should request an election - so we can avoid having to make these cuts year after year."

As is annual practice, all temporary and intern teachers will be released until enrollment stabilizes, and some provisional and probationary teachers will be released without cause.

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