School board cuts $1.4M from budget |

School board cuts $1.4M from budget

In the most emotionally charged and well-attended school board meeting since the school district shut down Prosser Creek Charter School, the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District chose its budget cuts for the 2004-05 school year Wednesday night.

The board agreed to cut more than $1.4 million from next year’s $34 million general fund budget, which will both balance the district’s general fund budget and pay for employee contracts.

In a surprise move, the school board cut its reserve from 3 to 1.5 percent instead of increasing class sizes, which faced strong opposition from parents and teachers.

The reserve is a percentage of the district’s general fund and saved for times of economic uncertainty. The law requires a district the size of Tahoe Truckee Unified to maintain a reserve of 3 percent, but the state waived the requirement until next school year because of the state budget crisis.

The soonest the district will know the state’s public education budget is the end of the summer, but TTUSD must present a balanced budget to the county office of education by the end of June. If the district must dip below the 1.5 percent reserve requirement based on the state budget, mid-year budget cuts will be necessary, said Superintendent Dennis Williams.

The reserve must be restored to at least 3 percent in 2004-05.

Two of the district’s alternative programs also made the cut. Donner Trail School, a site on Donner Summit that serves 60 students, faced closure but will remain open. Creekside Magnet School will remain at the Rideout campus on the west shore of Tahoe and won’t be moved to Tahoe Lake School, as suggested by the budget review committee.

The school board also decided to staff classrooms based on past January student enrollment numbers rather than October numbers, which tend to be greater. This will likely result in cutting three, full-time equivalent educator positions and larger class sizes at the beginning of next school year.

Other cuts from the district’s nearly $35 million budget include

– Staff schools based on past January student enrollment numbers, rather than October numbers, which tend to be greater – $194,000 savings

– Home-to-school transportation budget reduced by 10 percent – $160,000 savings

– Last year’s School Improvement Program funds carried over from the state go to general fund rather than school sites – $92,484 savings

– Middle school athletics cut by 25 percent – $4,700 savings

– High school athletics cut by 25 percent – $68,898

– One full-time custodial support position cut – $34,500 savings

– Reduced support programs in district office – $136,500 savings

– Post retirement benefits charged to other funds – $42,000 savings

– Overtime budget cut in half – $76,701 savings

– Cell phone expense reduction – $10,000 savings

– Halting use of 12 modular classrooms – $12,000 savings

– Discounted rate on phone and Internet bills – $42,329

Total cuts : $1,424,158

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