School district prepared for state cuts
The Laguna Beach Unified School District reported that it reserved funds in anticipation of low state revenues and cuts, which went into effect last week under Gov. Jerry Brown.
When the state Legislature adopted the budget in July, it anticipated higher revenues than came to pass, said district Assistant Supt. of Business Services Norma Shelton.
Initially, it looked like the state was going to pull $189 per student, but enough revenue was generated to reduce the deficit to $13 per student, Shelton said.
The state also pulled home-to-school transportation funding.
The cuts to Laguna Beach schools add up to $225,000.
However, Shelton said all school districts planned for major cuts.
"We had anticipated that this would occur because we monitored on a monthly basis how the state was collecting revenue," she said.
The state's budget will be proposed again in January.
"Everyone is just waiting to see how the economy bounces back," she said.
Local company donates to Boys & Girls Club
Don and Summer Meek, founders of The SOUL Project, donated $500 to the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach last month.
The SOUL Project is an apparel company that started in Laguna Beach this summer and partners with local charities. One dollar from each of its Laguna products sold goes to the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach and the South Orange County chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.
"Our idea in launching The SOUL Project is to protect the future of each of these places by supporting groups that work on the future — kids and the environment — in a grass-roots way," Summer Meek said in a statement. "We designated the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach as our kids' charity and are so glad to be able to make this donation today."
SOUL Project items can be purchased at soulproject.com, Hobie Sports and Laguna Surf & Sport.
For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, visit http://www.bgclagunbeach.org.
Preschoolers receive holiday cheer
Children of the Even Start Preschool Program at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach experienced some holiday cheer in the last couple weeks, with surprising donations and a visit by Santa Claus.
The preschool is a free program for 3- and 4-year-olds from low-income households.
On Dec. 6, Thurston Middle School students in Peer Assistance Leadership (PAL) came with doughnuts, hot chocolate and gifts for the toddlers. The following week, Lisa Fredette and her daughter Sydney brought 80 Build-A-Bears for the Even Start children and their families.
Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus made a visit to the school and to the La Playa Center, an English as a Second Language (ESL) program for adults, bringing gifts and good cheer.
The children passed on the good cheer for others, singing to seniors at the Susi Q Senior Center, followed by a luncheon on Dec. 15.
The finale was Dec. 16, when police officers donated gifts for each child. Parents of the kids arrived with food to enjoy with the officers.
Hobie Sports also worked with the club, donating gifts to 25 of their low-income club members. The club itself sponsored 15 families this season.
"This has been an exceptionally difficult year for our families due to the economic challenges facing our country," preschool director Terry Anne Barman said in a statement. "It has been wonderful to see how people have reached out to help others in need. It is the true spirit of Christmas at work."
Thurston students donate 200 toys
Thurston Middle School students collected nearly 200 toys for the Spark of Love Toy Drive, which donates gifts to local children. Working with the Laguna Beach Fire Department, the students organized the schoolwide drive and showed their commitment to community service.
"Leadership by definition is the ability to lead, which is exactly what Thurston's leadership class is doing this time of year. The leadership class continues to provide our students with opportunities that contribute to the reason for the season," Principal Jennifer Salberg said in a statement. "Under their lead, we gathered gifts and gave true meaning to this holiday season. I am so very proud of our Thurston leadership students and appreciate all of their hard work."
The Fire Department will collect the donations and distribute them to children.