BREA : School Employees, Programs Spared

Library aides, technology coordinators and the Brea Olinda High School boys sophomore basketball team will be spared the chopping block. And a controversial plan to charge parents for busing children to school will not be implemented this year.

Instead, five new teachers will be hired to reduce class size and one gardener is expected to be rehired because the Brea Olinda Unified School District is better off financially than anticipated, officials said Monday.

"There will be no further cuts this year," Supt. Edgar Z. Seal said.

Gary Goff, assistant superintendent for business services, said the district is left with essentially the same money as last year after the state cuts.

He said the district gets $3,206 per student from the state. The proposed cuts in technology coordinators, reduced hours for library aides and the boys basketball team were part of a secondary list of possible cuts the board could have made had the state budget cuts been more severe.

Those proposed cuts would have saved the district $102,300, while the bus fee would have generated $50,000.

Under the bus fee plan, parents would have to pay as much as $225 for three or more children using the bus. It generated strong protests from many parents.

"The board may have to look at (the bus plan) next school year," Seal said.

Goff said a combination of cuts and fee hikes, which the school board initiated in June, raised $1 million, which is now "parked" in a deficit reserve account.

From this reserve fund, about $200,000 will be used to hire the new teachers and the gardener, Goff said.

With the new teachers, Goff said, class size in the elementary level will go down to 30 or 31.5 from the projected 32 at the start of the school year. In high school, class size will also go down, to an average 34.5 from the projected 36.

Goff said the district receives about $1.5 million from the state to be used specifically for 12 programs, including class-size reduction, school improvement programs, staff development and regional occupational centers and programs. He said the district expects to lose as much as 20% of that money, except money for special education.

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