School district takes budget cuts to parents
Tahoe Truckee Unified School District officials estimate they must cut their general fund budget by approximately $1.5 million for the 2004-05 school year.
The cuts are needed to balance the district’s general fund – while maintaining a 3 percent reserve – and accommodate district faculty and staff contracts, said Superintendent Dennis Williams. The district’s 2003-04 budget was approximately $34 million.
This week, district officials presented a list of 24 items, adding up to $2.1 million in possible cuts and revenue sources, in two budget information meetings in Truckee and Tahoe City. The list was created by a budget review committee comprised of site administrators and department heads.
At the meetings, parents and teachers decried salary increases for the district’s top three administrators in the past year.
At the meeting at North Tahoe High School, one teacher stood to read a letter on behalf of his colleagues. He suggested “temporary suspension of administrative salary increases or a return to levels when teachers last got a pay increase.”
The list of suggested cuts and revenue sources run the gamut from the unemotional – reducing cell phone expenses, for example – to the sensitive – like increasing class size in middle school and high school.
Other suggested cuts would put pressure on individual departments. For example, the district’s general fund budget would realize $42,000 in savings if individual departments, such as the cafeteria department, pay post-retirement benefits. Such a move would put pressure on those departments to find ways to make their own budgets pencil out.
The committee also suggested closing Donner Trail School, an elementary magnet program on Donner Summit that serves 60 students. The closure of Donner Trail would save the district $79,000. But because shutting down the elementary school would have a large impact on students, the budget review committee ranked the item low on its list of possible cuts.
The budget review committee also suggested the school district generate $216,000 next school year by charging for home-to-school transportation.
Other items on the list included:
– Reducing the transportation budget by 10 percent.
– Eliminating the vice principal position at Truckee Elementary.
– Moving Creekside Magnet School from Rideout to Tahoe Lake School.
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