Parents want input on school budget
Many parents and teachers were angry that they had a little more than one week to respond to budget cuts suggested by the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District budget review committee.
Phebe Bell, a parent of two children at Truckee Elementary School, brought to the school board a stack of 1,000 parent signatures, supporting a more open budget process.
“My strong plea is that we’d find a process that captures the opinion of . . . the people who are truly invested in our students,” Bell said.
The 2004-05 budget review committee, comprised of school district administrators and department heads, created a list of two dozen potential budget cuts, including increased class size in the district’s elementary, middle and high schools.
The school board made $1.4 million in cuts and avoided making class-size increases by cutting the district’s general fund reserve in half.
In the days before Wednesday night’s meeting, parents and teachers flooded the district office with calls and e-mails, making pleas for items they didn’t want on the cutting-room floor and making suggestions to help balance the budget.
School board trustee Karen Van Epps suggested that administration ask for more public input in future budget planning.
Parents and teachers also asked that the school board make reductions in the district office rather than in the classroom, athletics or other school programs.
Reading from a prepared statement signed by Glenshire Elementary faculty, teacher Suzie Dailey said “… we feel strongly that some of our budget problems are due to the increase in salaries by a few of our highest administrators.”
In the past year, the school board has authorized $13,739 in administrative salary increases, which the school board maintains were necessary due to increased work loads and levels of seniority in administrative positions.
One Truckee parent, Marlys Zusy, commented on the way the district has dealt with its issues, saying “everything has been reactive and not proactive in this district.”
Zusy continued by saying she has been in the schools for 10 years, and has “never seen morale so low with the teachers at my school.”
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