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Measure A and the future

When items like class size reduction and small schools were on the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District’s chopping block last May, parents and school staff came out by the hundreds to decry the possibility of losing such important programs.

Though the programs were saved by the school board, hundreds of parents were upset that the district had not engaged the community more during the process of choosing what could be cut ” and rightfully so.

This time around, school district officials have done a commendable job getting some of those concerned people on the budget review committee, a group of parents, school staff, administrators and community members charged with giving the superintendent recommendations on what cuts should be made to the 2005-06 budget.

However, when this committee meets there is one glaring absence: the public’s presence in the audience.

We hope this is not because people are not paying attention. We hope that they are following the process through their school site representatives. We hope that they are reading about the process in the newspaper.

Though the picture for the 2005-06 budget year is looking a bit brighter than years past because of higher-than-expected property tax revenues in the county, there could still be a dark spot on the horizon.

If Measure A ” a seven-year $98 annual parcel tax ” doesn’t pass on the March 8 ballot, local schools will lose $3 million each year. Schools are not funded at the level they should be by the state, and Measure A fills in those gaps.

At its next meeting, the budget review committee will look at the “what ifs.” What if Measure A isn’t approved by two-thirds of the voters? What will the school district look like without Measure A? What programs wouldn’t be around next year?

So here’s a hint: If there’s something you care about in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, now is the time to start listening up.

If you are a parent, community member or student concerned about the future of the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, mark your calendar for the next budget review committee meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. at the school district office. The meeting is open to the public and there are plenty of empty seats in the room.

If you can’t make the meeting, seek information from your site representative or principal, or read about it in this newspaper.


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