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FUHSD cuts to affect: Jobs, Class sizes, Summer school, Busing, Technology

 

Last updated 2/7/2008 at Noon



In a sobering presentation by Assistant Superintendent Chet Gannett on January 28, the Fallbrook Union High School District (FUHSD) school board learned the district faces the loss of 10 full-time teachers, staff reductions in administration and classified staff, funding cuts to technology, travel and conference attendance and elimination of a bus route.

Further decreases include omitting all summer school courses except core classes and canceling some home to school transportation for students enrolled in summer school.

These recommendations will minimize midyear funding reductions and provide for an anticipated 2008-2009 loss of revenue as a result of Governor Schwarzenegger’s January 10 cuts in education.

While all schools in Fallbrook are experiencing a drop in enrollment, which affects Average Daily Attendance (ADA) funding, and a slowdown in local home building development has dried up developer fee contributions, the FUHSD further incurred additional losses as a result of the buyout of its former superintendent.

Even so, district administrators did not anticipate the dramatic midyear correction brought on by a drop in California’s economy.

With an eye on the Governor’s anticipated May budget revision, which might change cuts to education, Gannett is not optimistic.

According to “Quality Counts 2008,” a report published by Education Week newspaper, California ranked 37th in state expenditures on K-12 schooling as a percent of state taxable resources nationwide in 2005 when the state’s economic factors were positive.

This at a time when California Legislative Analyst’s Office reported, “The Governor’s [education] budget includes a total of $58 billion in operational funding from state, local and federal sources for K-12 schools for 2005-06. This is an increase of $1.6 billion, or 2.9 percent, from estimated appropriations in the current year.”

Contrasting the 2005 outlook with the Governor’s current midyear proposed $360 million in “unspecified reductions” and loss of $4 billion in 2008-2009 to K-12 schools, it may mean that education spending in California falls to dead last.

Because the budget cuts hit special education and materials purchases such as textbooks particularly hard, school districts have to make up difference. Yet another unexpected hit to dwindling resources.

Special education carries legal mandates that cannot be changed and the cost of materials looms larger than its state funding allotment. For example, the state gives a district $65 for a textbook, but the book costs anywhere from $75 to $100, leaving a significant deficit – and books must be in a student’s hand 24 months after adoption by the State Board of Education.

Further, and this worries Gannett the most, the Governor proposes moving the June apportionment, or funds to schools, to September. It will make the state appear more fiscally healthy but leaves school administrators scrambling to see what they can, or cannot, afford after school has started.

Now faced with a 2007-2008 budget showing a revenue loss of $1,059,864, saying goodbye to teachers is on the horizon, capital outlay spending stops and come August students will have fewer course choices, many classes will grow to 35 members and even sharper cuts may come.

 

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