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Mid-Year State Budget Cuts Less Drastic For Schools Than Expected

For the New Haven Unified School District, the cuts translate into another $500,000 in cuts this year.

A $1 billion midyear budget cut ordered by Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday is less than what New Haven Unified School District officials predicted.

The midyear cut, which takes effect on Jan. 1, means approximately $500,000 less for New Haven, according to district spokesman Rick La Plante. The reduction includes $150,000 in general funding cuts, which translates to roughly $11 less per student, and the loss of a $350,000 residual payment for school-to-home transportation.

Tuesday’s cuts reflect a state revenue shortfall of about $2.2 billion, according to the Associated Press.

The hardest hits will be in higher education, services for the disabled and childcare, according to several published reports. Brown plans to cut $102 million from community colleges and $100 million each from the California State University and University of California systems. K-12 schools will see a small hit – about $248 million – a far cry from $1.5 billion cut schools could have faced.

In mid-November, the Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report predicting that under the $88.5 billion initially projected in . That shortfall could have triggered up to $2.5 million in cuts to the local school district, La Plante said.

While some districts are relieved that the cuts aren’t as severe as projected, La Plante isn’t happy about Tuesday’s news.

“What people are forgetting is it’s still a cut, and it’s a cut that’s coming on top of cut after cut after cut,” he said. “There’s no joy over here.”

New Haven has already made during the 2011-2012 school year, which came on top of about $10 million in cuts made over the past three years. Those cuts resulted in larger class sizes in K-3 classrooms, a number of layoffs to teaching staff, reduced hours for school libraries and six furlough days, which shortened the school year from 180 to 175 days.

The district may be forced to add two more furlough days to the calendar this spring due to the mid-year cuts, La Plante said. Officials have started preliminary discussions and will continue when school resumes after the winter break.

“All these numbers came down yesterday,” La Plante said. “Nothing’s final.”

On Tuesday night, the New Haven Board of Education also approved its first interim report on the 2011-12 budget and projections for the next two school years. The district plans to cut three days from the student calendar and increase K-3 class sizes to 30-to-1 in the 2012-13 school year. One of the furlough days will be recovered in 2013-14.

While the 2011-12 mid-year reduction will not cripple New Haven, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said the cuts are not what children deserve in California.

“It’s a sad day for California. Taking hundreds of millions of dollars from our schools—on top of the $18 billion in cuts they have already suffered—will only make life harder for students in California’s chronically underfunded schools,” Torlakson said in a statement.

He added, “Mothballing school bus fleets across the state will mean many rural, disabled, and low-income students literally will have no safe way to get to school. Children will lose child care, students will lose the opportunity for a college education, and our overcrowded classrooms will continue to be jammed with 35 to 40 students.”

Timothy Swenson December 14, 2011 at 08:25 PM
Can you post that information in a public place? Facebook requires a account to see that info.
Tina Nishihira December 14, 2011 at 08:59 PM
This news is like a double edged sword...on the one end, I am grateful that the cuts are not as steep as first thought but on the other end, I wish there were no cuts at all. The public schools can't take many more cuts. The kids are already suffering.
Tim December 15, 2011 at 07:18 AM
"What people are forgetting is it’s still a cut, and it’s a cut that’s coming on top of cut after cut after cut,” he said. “There’s no joy over here.” Welcome to the economy we live in. Learn to live within your means. Reign in the teachers union and stop propping them up. Why is it they give nothing back while the tax payers suffer and we're told we need to spend more because it's "for the kids"
TruthOverDare December 15, 2011 at 08:00 AM
if the school district can find 200,000 in the budget to pay for a special election for parcel tax without any problem then how much could they be hurting? Anyone else here got 200k lying around in their budget?
TruthOverDare December 17, 2011 at 02:46 PM
hi Tina. Could you please elaborate on how the kids are "suffering"? Thanks.

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