District offers ideas for budget cuts | SierraSun.com

District offers ideas for budget cuts

TRUCKEE “-Administrators for the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Friday met with the School District board and presented lists potential cuts in the hopes of saving money, since the School District announced they are facing a $3 million budget deficit in the upcoming fiscal year.

Among them were large items such as maximizing special education case loads, combining librarians from separate school sites, combining school sites themselves, utilizing Sierra College for more high school electives and evaluating staffing to service ratios as it pertains to students to teachers, custodians to square footage and secretaries to students.

Layoffs, said Board Member Bill Kraus, were inevitable in this process. Small items included closing high school campuses for lunch, removing personal appliances from teacher’s classrooms and increasing rental fees for district facilities.

Administrators presented the possible cuts to the school board for consideration and possible action at a later date.

“I’d add that none of these are recommendations,” said Superintendent Steve Jennings. “We’re just putting items on the table as possibilities.”

Some of the options didn’t carry as much savings as there may be perceived, though.

Budget items like the School District’s utilities spending could be improved, said Assistant Superintendent Stephen Dickinson, but he cautioned that reducing energy expenditures won’t magically clear the budget situation.

“We spend about $1.5 million each year on basic utilities,” Dickinson said. “There is a common misperception that we could reduce our spending and have $3 million, that just isn’t the case.”

Another item raised was shortening the school year to 175 days from the current length of 180 days.

The only benefits to be found there, said Assistant Superintendent David Inns, are simply a savings in not opening the school facilities those days. Inns said the School District would still be obligated to pay teachers since those days are factored into the union contract. The only way to make it a considerable cost savings would be to negotiate with the union to remove those days from the contract, Inns said.

Jennings said these and more options would be mulled as the administrators and board figure out how to cut $3 million from the budget.

The board next meets 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 4, at Sierra Mountain Community Education Center.

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