PORT HUENEME : School District Must Make $1-Million Cut

The Hueneme Elementary School District must cut nearly $1 million from its budget, eliminating at least nine jobs next school year to maintain the minimum amount recommended by the state in its emergency reserve, district officials said.

"Our estimate is we're $966,000 separated from where we need to be," Jeffrey Baarstad, administrative assistant for management, business and educational services, said Wednesday.

The shortfall in the 7,200-student district would be caused primarily by steep increases in the cost of providing health and medical benefits and by the state's withholding of a cost-of-living increase for the 1991-92 school year, as Gov. Pete Wilson has proposed in his preliminary budget, Baarstad said.

In a report to the school board Tuesday, district officials presented two levels of possible layoffs that would be necessary to maintain a reserve of 3%, or $875,000. The recommendations involve making cuts from the top down. Cuts to classroom programs would be a last resort, Baarstad said.

Baarstad said the district may be able to avoid some layoffs by not filling positions of employees who leave or retire.

The board must decide by its meeting Monday whether to send layoff notices to some district employees in time to meet a March 15 notification deadline, Baarstad said.

A public hearing on the possible cuts will be held March 25. The deadline for passing a final budget is June 30.

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