FUSD Preparing for Budget Cuts

November 12, 2008 7:41:00 PM PST
The governor's budget proposal is not getting much support from those in education. Schwarzenegger wants to slash 2-point-5 billion dollars in additional mid-year cuts to schools across the state. For Fresno Unified the cuts could mean dipping into their emergency reserves, but staying clear of the classroom."Mid-year cuts are the worst type of cuts-- much of the budget year has already been expended, planning has already occurred," said State superintendent Jack O'Connell, who made a brief stop in Fresno today, but stayed long enough to blast the governor's new proposed cuts to education. "An additional 2.5 billion dollar hit on top of the 3 billion dollar hit when the budget was passed in September would just be devastating to public education... "

For Fresno Unified, the cuts could translate to a reduction in funding of approximately 20-million dollars.

"We will not have those adjustments affect our classrooms, our programs that are currently in place, our teachers, our classified staff-- we will find other ways to deal with those adjustments." Chief financial officer, Ruth Quinto says the district anticipated additional cuts-- so they set aside 9 million dollars of state funding when the budget was approved in September, so those 20 million dollars in possible cuts-- would be reduced to 11 million. "We have prepared ourselves well financially to withstand any mid-year cuts that are currently under consideration ... "

The district was forced to make cuts to administration last year and had to dip into its reserves-- which currently stand at a healthy 40 million dollars. It's from those reserves that the district would take from again--first-- if necessary.

Quinto: "The cushion that we've given ourselves are one-time resources ... So if this situation goes on for any number of years-- we could be looking at a significant change to our service delivery."

The district could be affected even more seriously if current funding is delayed or deferred by the state. The governor has asked the Legislature to act on his proposal by December first.

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