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Districts Prepare for Budget Cuts

Posted: January 31, 2008 2:38 a.m.
Updated: April 2, 2008 2:02 a.m.
The Hart district is not the only local district facing the challenge of reducing its budget to meet the governor's proposed cuts to state education funding.

Representatives from the William S. Hart Union High School District, Saugus Union School District, Sulphur Springs Union School District, Newhall School District and the Castaic Union School District attended a workshop offered by a lobbying firm employed by the districts last week. The purpose: Brainstorm ideas to dodge the budget bullet.
Like the Hart district, Sulphur Springs has put a moratorium on staff development conferences unless they have already been approved or the fee has already been paid.
"We're going to curtail expenditures wherever possible between now and the end of the year in order to build a reserve," said Sulphur Springs Superintendent Robert Nolet. "At the same time, we are going to be looking at how to augment revenue in order to weather next year's storm."
Administrators at the Newhall School District are just beginning the process of identifying possible budget reductions that can be made, but a list will be presented to the board at Tuesday's meeting showing areas where cuts could be made, according to Superintendent Marc Winger.
"We've created a pretty comprehensive list where we need to look for money, but it's just a beginning discussion of all the possible places to cut," Winger said.
"Just because something is on the list certainly doesn't mean it's going to be cut."
If the governor's proposed cuts remain in place, it will mean a $4.1 million budget reduction for the Saugus Union School District, according to Superintendent Judy Fish.
Fish plans to seek input from the teachers' union, the classified staff's union and her management team before making recommendations to the school board.
"We will get input from each of these entities, and then it's the board who makes the decision," Fish said.
"We will continue to keep all of our options open, and we don't have anything definitive at this time."
The Castaic Union School District immediately froze major expenditures and all hirings upon hearing the governor's proposed cuts in the state education budget, said Superintendent Jim Gibson.
"So we are down three positions right now, and we are keeping those open or using substitutes," Gibson said. "We are starting to come up with different solutions as to what programs we can cut."
According to Gibson, the Castaic district budget is sufficient for this year and next, but the 2009-10 budget could have a $1.5 million deficit if no changes are made to the governor's proposals.


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