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February 25, 2011 > New Haven Unified School Board report

New Haven Unified School Board report

Submitted By Rick La Plante

The Board of Education, on February 15, received a presentation on proposed budget reductions for 2011-12. It reflects Governor Brown's state budget proposal and various scenarios, depending on whether District voters approve Measure B and/or the Governor's request for tax extensions.

Chief Business Officer Akur Varadarajan told the Board that he is preparing the second interim budget -- which will be presented March 15 -- to include $5.3 million in new reductions, on top of $4.9 million in reductions approved by the Board at the first interim. At that time, the Board approved increasing K-3 class sizes to 30-to-1 (from 20-to-1 in kindergarten and 25-to-1 in first through third grades); reducing the work year by three student days and two non-student days; eliminating stipends for co-curricular and extra-curricular activities; and reducing the counseling staff and media specialists, among other cuts.

Cutting the additional $5.3 million would entail the following, Mr. Varadarajan said, emphasizing that these are only proposals:

Further reducing the work year, by two additional student days and two additional non-student days,
Eliminating: the adult education program, four assistant/vice principal positions, one at each of the high schools and middle schools;
Closing the print shop;
Reducing the budget for instructional materials by $400,000, maintenance, technology and transportation budgets by a total of $394,000, site allocations by $80,000 and also the BTSA (beginning teacher support) budget by $50,000.

If Measure B passes, Mr. Varadarajan told the Board, the cuts approved in the first-interim budget would be mitigated as follows: the increase in kindergarten class sizes would be reduced to 25-to-1 and first- through third-grade classes would remain at 25-to-1; the three student days would be restored to the work year; and extra-curricular and co-curricular stipends would be maintained.

Measure B, which would raise approximately $3 million through $180 parcel tax, is the subject of a special vote-by-mail election this spring. Ballots will be mailed beginning April 4 and voters may cast their ballots through Election Day on May. 3.

In addition, Gov. Brown has asked the Legislature to allow state voters to decide in a June election the fate of a series of taxes that are set to expire. If the tax extensions are passed, Mr. Varadarajan told the Board, the District would address the proposed second-interim cuts as follows: restoring the two student days and two non-student days to the work year; restoring 50 percent of the adult education program; and retaining the high school and middle school positions.

Also, the Board:
Adopted a resolution urging the Legislature to approve Gov. Brown's call to place the tax extensions on the June ballot;
Voted for four Board members from neighboring districts -- Valerie Arkin of Pleasanton Unified, David Haubert of Dublin Unified, Dianna Prola of San Leandro Unified and Nancy Thomas of Newark Unified -- as representatives to the California School Boards Association.

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