Santa Monica-Malibu : School Budget Cuts Weighed

The Santa Monica-Malibu school board has targeted $2.5 million worth of jobs and services for possible elimination to prepare a balanced budget for the 1992-93 school year.

The recommended cuts, which include losing physical education teachers and requiring payment for bus transportation, will be incorporated into a draft budget early next month. A final budget for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District must be approved by the end of June.

The cuts are necessary because state funding has not kept up with the cost of doing business, school board member Mary Kay Kamath said at Tuesday's board meeting. The cuts are divided into three phases, with the last phase being implemented only if the first two don't do the job.

The first phase calls for keeping vacant about nine full-time positions, including five elementary physical education posts. Elementary schoolteachers will be asked to teach physical education. Also included are half a teaching position, half a counseling position, two maintenance posts, and a language specialist.

Youths who take the bus to school may be charged up to $195 a year for the service, if RTD student rates are used.

The second phase involves savings on health and welfare benefits that may come from employee union negotiations, which are underway.

Phase three cuts received the most discussion Tuesday. They include increasing the average class size by one pupil throughout the district and vacating 3.5 assistant principal posts. After considerable debate, the board removed from the phase three list the elementary instrumental music program, high school English tutors, library clerks and nurses.

The budget's projected general fund expenditures for the 1991-92 school year are $35.3 million.

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