Valley Schools Preparing for Cuts

May 20, 2009 6:32:46 PM PDT
California's education system may face steep cuts to bridge the state budget gap. And local educators are bracing for the worst.School district leaders say these are some of the worst cuts they have ever seen. Many were not surprised with special election results and say they are prepared to make the deep cuts necessary.

With California voters rejecting the state ballot measures Tuesday, local educators are now bracing for big cuts to their budgets.

Fresno County Schools Superintendent Larry Powell said, "The places that are going to get hurt are sports, art, drama, dance and music." Powell says Fresno County's 34 school districts will need to cut an additional 250 to 750 dollars per child. "Fresno Unified is looking at about 52 million that can be cut," said Powell.

Fresno Unified Chief Financial Officer Ruthie Quinto says this will be the third round of cuts this year adding up to nearly 100 million dollars. "Unfortunately we are taking an additional five percent in our central administrative offices," said Quinto.

While Fresno Unified has not laid off any teachers or permanent staff Quinto says the failure of the propositions may change that.

But Powell says districts may be able to break even this year and next school year with the help of federal stimulus money.

Central Unified Superintendent Marilou Ryder said, "We're prepared to move forward." Superintendent Ryder says Central Unified will cut an additional three million dollars from it's budget, but they will survive thanks to federal funding. "We will be receiving about 3.6 million dollars that will go into unrestricted accounts that will help us so that's going to be a god-send for our district," said Ryder.

That stimulus money is only available this year and next year. Educators say it's the 2011 ? 2012 school year that will be extremely difficult. Now they are waiting for May 28th when administrators find out exactly how much the state will ask them to cut.

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