Committee preps to shave $1.5 M more from school budget
For its first meeting, the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District budget review committee took a lesson in “school finance 101.”A group of parents, community members and school employees charged with the task of shaving $1.5 million from the school district’s $33 million budget met for the first time Wednesday night. The committee will meet three or four more times during the school year to try and come to a consensus on what will be cut and reallocated.”I thank you for being a part of this,” Superintendent Dennis Williams said. “We have a difficult challenge ahead of us.”Williams set the tone for what should be a taxing venture for the committee: Cutting 6 percent from a budget that has already been reduced by more than $3 million in the past two years.The budget review committee is convening sooner than usual this year, in part because of the possibility of mid-year cuts in the district. The early cuts are possible because the school board cut its reserve in half in June – from 3 to 1.5 percent – to cover part of a $1.5 million shortfall last year. Next year, the state has required school districts to restore reserves to 3 percent.Unlike last year when it was criticized by parents for not seeking input on cuts, committee members have said they will have a stronger focus on communication and transparency with the public. In June, parents blasted the school district for not announcing $1.5 million in budget reductions until the last minute.”Communication is critical,” Williams told the committee. “I challenge you to take information [from these meetings] back to your school or school site council and bring questions back from your sites.”At the meeting, Ralph Johnson, assistant superintendent of business services, went over the 2004-05 budget and past reductions.Budget review committee meetings are open to the public. The next meeting will be Jan. 12 at 6 p.m. at the school district office.Check it outMark your calendar for upcoming school district meetingsTransportation workshop• Board, public to discuss a possible transportation fee for school district buses• Also under discussion: Truckee High field maintenance• Nov. 17, 6:30 p.m.• School district office, 11839 Donner Pass RoadFirst interim budget report• Find out if this year’s school district budget is on target• Dec. 8, 6:30 p.m.• School district office, 11839 Donner Pass RoadBudget review committee meeting No. 2• Committee to begin discussing possible budget reductions• Jan. 12, 6 8 p.m.• School district office, 11839 Donner Pass Road
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