Public debate set on school cuts
A concern that pay raises for administrators in the midst of deep budget cuts will divert desperately needed money away from student programs and teachers has prompted the call for a town meeting Monday night.
Representatives from the Nevada Joint Union High School District Action Committee are up in arms over a decision by the school board, requested by Superintendent Joe Boeckx, to redirect $6,900 per year to an un-named district level administrator.
During a time of crisis in the California educational system, lack of priority is being given to student programs and teachers in the local school district, according a column endorsed by Action Committee members and published in The Union Thursday.
“The allocation of funds to high level administrative staff does nothing to alleviate the fact that classrooms are overcrowded, budgets for purchasing supplies are frozen and programs that support kids are being threatened,” the column said.
Looking for money to backfill a projected $34 billion budget deficit, Gov. Gray Davis proposed slashing $2 billion from education this year.
While the trickle-down effect on local schools is subject to change, Boeckx said the Nevada Joint Union High School District is looking at an approximately $600,000 cut at midyear this year and $1.5 million in cuts next year.
Boeckx said the budget crisis is being treated very seriously by the joint district and that dealing with the cuts requires a collaborative effort.
“We’re very much interested in the community’s input and staff and teacher input,” Boeckx said.
Parents and teachers, according to the Action Committee column, are alarmed that student programs, most notably sports programs, may be drastically reduced or eliminated altogether.
While school officials say nothing is set in stone yet, Nevada Union High School is looking for places to cut $50,000 from next year’s athletics budget.
Due to the state budget crisis, Boeckx said, the joint district’s budget team is looking at cuts not just in athletics, but across the board.
The joint district will make recommendations to the board of trustees, probably in June, that ensures a balanced budget, Boeckx said. “Our main focus is to preserve as many student programs as we can within our funding limitations.”
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