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Showing posts from January, 2010

For public schools it's back to basics

The yearly budget cuts season is now in full swing in Redwood City, and everywhere else in our beleaguered California school system. Budget cuts have been a yearly occurrence, with Redwood City making cuts in 8 of the last 9 years. But this year is special: the usual reduction in funds from the State of California is combined with the lack of a new stimulus from the Federal Government. Last year's stimulus funds allowed our district to save half of the programs slated to be cut. The district had made a long prioritized list of everything that could conceivably be cut, totaling around 10 million dollars, and around half of the items were saved by the stimulus. This year, no stimulus and even less money from Sacramento means we're facing cuts between 5 and 10 million dollars.

This last week I attended one of the parent meetings with district officials. Jan Christensen, our superintendent, tellingly started the presentation by describing what schools were like in the eighteen hund…

Welcome to the 2010 School Budget Cuts Season!

Another year, another round of potentially devastating budget cuts for our Redwood City public schools. This just in, from the School District:
Dear Parent Leaders,
Last year the Redwood City School District faced the worst budget cuts in many decades. Due to the state budget crisis, the district was forced to cut $5.5 million from the 2009-10 budget, including administrators, teachers, counselors, and clerical staff.  Class sizes increased at the K-3 level, and library hours were reduced.  About $5 million more would have been cut, but the federal stimulus package allowed the district to save a number of programs including instrumental music, and the Gifted and Talented Program (GATE), and a number of important staff positions.
The news from Sacramento remains grim.  The state's Legislative Analyst's Office projects a state budget shortfall of $6.3 billion for 2009-2010, and a $14.7 billion shortfall for 2010-11.  We do not yet know the full extent of the impact on our district …