The Irvine Unified School District, once threatened with insolvency by the Orange County bankruptcy, will spend $471,000 to hire new district office staff members, a move that prompted two school board members to vote against adoption of the tentative budget.
Trustees Hank Adler and Tom Burnham said they could not support the $107-million operating budget because of the lack of public discussion about the expenditure, along with an additional $1 million set aside for district reserves.
“I’m disappointed once again in the process because there should be a lot of people getting engaged in where these funds are being spent,” Burnham said Tuesday night.
Board members will review the budget again Aug. 27, with final adoption expected Sept. 3.
Both Adler and Burnham said they generally support the financial plan, which represents a turnaround for the 21,700-student school district.
“I just philosophically would be doing it differently,” Adler said. “But these proposals are certainly not off the wall, an outrage or anything anybody should be running around the community condemning the people that vote for it.”
Supt. Dennis M. Smith said the additional staff members will bring administrative operations to a “minimum” level. The district had to suspend purchasing at one point during the current school year because the only employee in that department was sick.