Dozens of parents, school board members and teachers shuffled into the Monday for the first of two community forums to address $2.588 million in district budget cuts.
(The Tuesday night meeting attracted over 100 people.)
Furlough days, sports programs, programs for teen mothers and bus routes are all on the district's potential chopping block.
See the full list of potential cuts here. Watch the district's power point presentation at right.
"The news got worse over the summer, due to taxes coming in lower than expected," said Deputy Superintendent Justin Frese. Instead of dropping by just two percent, total revenues dropped to three percent, he said.
"We're much less confident that next year is going to be a growth year," he told the crowd.
The lower tax revenue was compounded by the state's new 'fair share' policy, which appropriates money from school districts to the state level. As a Basic Aid district, Sonoma Valley Unified School District is able to keep tax revenue, above the state's set amount per student, in district, explained Frese.
Now, the state wants $2.5 million from the SVUSD – almost three-quarters of the district's current $3.8 million deficit – in a new program called 'fair share.' The state will request additional 'fair share' payments each year, of a to-be-determined amount.
The district is still waiting until January to hear on their 'worst case scenario," said Frese, when the state may funnel an additional $1.5 million in cuts to the district, and end home to school transfer throughout the state.
Though Frese called the $2.58 million in cuts "pretty aggressive," he also noted that it's the bare minimum required for the district to stay financially viable.
Parents, for the most part, had a unified message for district officials: keep class sizes small. One of the proposed budget cuts would increase class sizes in grades K-3 to 30 students per teacher.
"Class size reduction: that's the foundation of everyone's future," said one parent. "How much is that gonna cost us in the future of these kids?"
Another parent, who teaches in Napa, where class sizes already bloomed to the 30-students per-teacher max told officials: "It's not pretty."
"While we don't want to eliminate any of these programs, obviously, so when we say eliminate funding, we're open to the possibility of finding funding from another organization," said Superintendent Louann Carlomagno.
Officials are hoping that attendees, and other parents and residents, will give the district more feedback in what programs they consider essential – and what can end up on the chopping block.
"Pick your numbers and come back with how you'd come up with the $2.58 million," said Frese.
Give your imput to the on how you'd balance the district's budget. Review the list of potential budget cuts here and email your thoughts to Superintendent Louann Carlomagno or Deputy Superintendent Justin Frese. Keep an eye out to the district's website, where more clarifying information will be posted regarding budget cuts. We'll post to Patch when something shows up.