April 17, 2010 in Washington Voices

Budget surveys discussed

CV district chief presents community suggestions to school board
By The Spokesman-Review
 

When facing budget cuts, Central Valley School District community members would rather find other reductions before eliminating classroom teachers, librarians and school resource officers.

CVSD Superintendent Ben Small announced the results of the community workshops regarding possible budget cuts at a school board meeting Tuesday.

The workshops were held in preparation for anticipated major cuts in state funding. Although Small believes the cuts won’t be as severe as he originally thought, the district will still need to make up for a loss of more than $1 million.

He reminded the board that the district put aside $1 million in reserves from levy moneys last year. The board must decide whether to reduce budget deficits using that entire sum, to distribute those funds piecemeal over the next couple of years or to keep it all in reserves.

Small gave the board the list of 28 district programs for proposed budget reductions and other possible ways to save the district funds for next year. The board had seen the list before, but this time it had been organized according to the responses community members gave during district workshops. Small was quick to point out that the community supplied “responses” and not “votes.” The board will receive a list of Small’s recommendations at its next meeting and the board has the final say about budget cuts.

The list of programs was organized as having a minor impact on students to having a critical impact.

Among the choices the community felt had a minor impact were CV Days on the Mall, reducing the summer work crews at the facilities in the district, eliminating the elementary strings program and a reduction in funding of $50,000 in the nutrition services program.

Critical impacts included cutting two full-time librarian positions, cutting 10 full-time teaching positions and eliminating two safety resource officer positions.

Now that the district isn’t facing as drastic a budget challenge as anticipated, the board must rethink plans for the upcoming school year. Board member Debra Long said she hoped the district would be looking for ways to find efficiencies, such as nutrition services. The board subsidizes those services but Long said she hopes the program will someday be self-sustaining.

The board will hear Small’s recommendations at its next meeting.


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