School board members voted this week to cut nearly $820,000 in
district operating expenses for the coming fiscal year, but still
must trim an additional $2.5 million by the end of the month to
balance the budget.
The board, which approved the cuts Tuesday night, got some good
news when it was learned that the district will pay nearly $1 million
less than anticipated for employee health care benefits because of
lower CalPERS costs, said Debbie Kukta, chairwoman of the
superintendent’s budget committee.
“Part of the projections we were making were based on a 33%
increase of CalPERS medical,” Kukta said. “It actually went up only
16%. That’s $700,000 we didn’t need to take off.”
Acting on recommendations by the committee, the board voted
Tuesday to eliminate the equivalent of two assistant principal
positions at John Muir, Luther Burbank and Jordan middle schools, a
savings of $216,018. The board also cut the equivalent of one
assistant principal position at Jefferson and Miller elementary
schools to save $100,012.
Other board-approved cuts include eliminating transportation on
Saturdays and vacations for middle and high school athletic events,
for a savings of $29,438.
Efforts to produce a balanced budget for the 2003-04 fiscal year
are coming down to the wire. District administrators must submit a
final budget by June 30 to satisfy state requirements.
“We are moving slowly to where we need to get,” board President
Trish Burnett said. “It’s a difficult process.”
The committee’s recommendations for facilities maintenance and
operations, including custodial services, have yet to be reviewed.
Board members will consider cuts in these areas at the meeting 6 p.m.
Tuesday in the district administration building boardroom, located at
1900 W. Olive Ave.