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Los Gatos Union Slashes $1.2M

Trustees OK cuts to district's maintenance and operations, administration and music instruction in kindergarten through second grade, among other reductions.

A school resource officer, art and technology mentor positions, several curriculum consultants and custodial and administrative services were slashed Tuesday evening as trustees plugged a $1.2 million deficit in their 2012-13 fiscal year budget.

During a packed meeting at , trustees approved the following cuts: 

  • Maintenance and operations, $195,000
  • Administration, $302,000
  • Program administration, $186,700
  • Elementary school, $301,000
  • Middle school, $250,000

According to Leslie Paulides, LGUSD assistant superintendent of business services, maintenance and operations cuts would amount to reducing custodial staff.

Administrative cuts would include a reorganization of the district office, but she was short on specifics.

Elementary schools would decrease music instruction for kindergarten through second grade and eliminate positions for a science mentor and technology specialist, Paulides added.

Elementary schools and Fisher Middle School would also lose state discretionary monies to fund counseling, school improvement and library block grants, professional development for teachers, art and GATE programs, according to Superintendent Diana Abbati.   

Even with the drastic cuts, a new parcel tax will be needed after the current one expires in June of 2014, said Paulides. The current parcel tax contributes approximately $2.6 million to the district's annual budget.

To help ease the reductions, the will contribute an estimated $500,000 to the 2012-13 fiscal year budget through grants based on a conservative estimate, Paulides added. 

This year, LGED has raised more than $813,000 as of Feb. 28, according to the LGEF Board in a letter sent to parents this week. The LGEF fundraising campaign is ongoing and hopes to raise $1 million, according

She talked about the district’s strategic goals, its budget planning process, the current financial landscape, the proposed deficit-reduction plan and future possible scenarios.

Paulides repeated the same message that Abbati has been sending to district parents in emails and her blog: the state has significantly slashed the district’s budget, local property taxes are not enough, and the district started the school year with a deficit.  

She also said that with the proposed cuts, class sizes will remain at 24 children per classroom for kindergarten through third grade and 29 children per classroom for fourth and fifth grade and at 29 for sixth through eighth-grade core classes. 

Paulides said the reductions are farthest away from the core classes which are English, language arts, math, science and social studies and “ farthest away from the kids.”  

Everyone in our district will be touched by these decisions.” 

She encouraged parents to attend the meeting and they listened. More than 30 addressed the trustees about the budget issue.

They spoke passionately about the importance of music education, maintaining small class sizes and good communication between the district and parents. 

Abbati said she had read all the comments written by parents in the recent annual parent/teacher survey and took them into consideration while making budget decisions.

 

 

 

 

Jesse Ducker February 29, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Tough, tough, tough cuts to make, but the school district is kind of boxed in a corner considering all of the chaos and disorder present in Sacramento. Local districts have been left holding the bag for the state for years now.
Brian Hickman February 29, 2012 at 09:24 PM
Much of what is being lost can be made up by increased volunteerism. My wife provided free music instruction for our daughter's entire Elementary School for a few years. The school let each teacher decide whether to opt-in for Music, and a large percentage of them simply opted-out. Art is not as easily replaced, because of the cost of materials. In addition to volunteerism, we need to cut overhead outside the classroom before resources in the classroom.
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz February 29, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Everything today is going to be "Pricey", with this economy crisis we are going through. If we have the Funds, then do it. If we don't, get creative. Don't waste money on putting a "Band aid" so to speak. So that later it will cost us twice as much!
Dyan Chan March 01, 2012 at 12:33 AM
Isn't this a "first-round" budget that can and will still be tweaked several more times before any changes take effect? Also, does the LGEF get to direct its funding specifically to areas it chooses to target, or can the district redirect those funds as it wishes?
Bonnie Westman March 01, 2012 at 05:23 PM
Thanks for your comment Dyan. This is the first round of budget decisions that had to be made now because notices must be given to affected staff in March. My understanding is that LGEF funds grants based on grant requests which have specifics as to how the monies will be spent.

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