Santa Paula Union High School District facing big cuts

April 22, 2009
Santa Paula High School

The Santa Paula Union High School District is facing budget cuts of a half-million dollars for the upcoming fiscal year.

By Brian D. WilsonSanta Paula TimesThe Santa Paula Union High School District is facing budget cuts of a half-million dollars for the upcoming fiscal year.District Superintendent Dr. David Gomez said they tried very hard to keep the cuts away from the classroom as much as possible and added that the board of trustees feels bad but they had no choice. “We minimized the impact on our instructional and classified staff,” he said. “The cuts were done in areas outside of the classrooms.”The district is terminating bus transportation next year, which impacts about 50 to 70 students. “We wish we could but we just can’t continue to have a bus service,” Dr. Gomez added. Another area of cuts is in health benefits to employees. District workers will be contributing more towards health coverage. They’re also minimizing the amount of maintenance and will focus on high priority items. Another place where cuts are being made is in the area of new textbooks. They’ve frozen the adoption of new textbooks for at least one year. Dr. Gomez said they’re also ,looking at other ways to cut costs through such things as energy savings, minimizing travel, keeping classes full, not offering everything they have offered in the past, just core curriculum with some electives.
He noted that they’re hoping the stimulus money will help. He said they should be receiving $140,000 in Title One money over the next two years. “that would help tremendously, not to hire more staff, but to backfill some of the programs that we’ve reduced,” he said.He said terminating bus service is the biggest cut they’re making. This will especially affect students who come from the area around Limoniera, outside the West end of the city. He foresees more carpooling by parents and more kids walking to school.He’s concerned that if the initiatives on next month’s ballot don’t pass they’ll have to come back at the drawing table in the next few months. “Those initiatives do affect school funding,” he noted. “If they don’t pass we will have to make more cuts and I don’t know where the cuts are going to come.”They have been reducing programs. One area is Summer school, which will be reduced this year. “Our approach was not to eliminate programs other than transportation, but to reduce programs,” he said. “As monies come back in the next few years hopefully, we can just ramp them up again.” He said transportation costs for athletic teams has been paid for with community support for some time. He added that they don’t plan on cutting the sports program other than transportation.

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