• PG School Board nears the bottom line

    With a little more than a week before “pink slips” have to go out for certified personnel, Pacific Grove School Board members have examined the budget assumptions, revenue, and expenditure projections for the 2009/10 budget, prepared by school district staff and presented by Robin Blakely, Assistant Superintendent.
    There were few changes from the budget assumptions of February. Blakely pointed out that state revenues are still in question, even though the state budget has passed. Property tax revenue amounts are still in question as well, and that is the source of much of the school district’s funding as a basic aid district. Special education costs are still up in the air, and there are, as yet, no firm numbers for retiring personnel and other staff openings which might arise and reduce the need for staff cuts.
    Board members repeated their preference to keep staff employed wherever possible, and made a few suggestions as to priorities for the chopping block, such as transportation.
    But the people holding certain positions will receive, by March 15, notices of potential layoff, as required by law. They will know by May whether those “potentials” become “certainties.”
    Decisions as to the positions cut were based on the number of students served and on students’ needs. For example, half a Full Time Equivalent (FTE) position for a vocal music teacher may be eliminated, because there were only five students signed up at the high school level. But the teacher at the elementary level was the most recent hire, so likely will be the position cut. Other teachers will move to lower grades.
    Half a position in Special Education may be cut at the elementary level as well.
    At the Middle School, there was low enrollment in 6th grade Industrial Arts and in Home Economics, so each will probably lose .2 FTE positions.
    The same is true of Fire Science and Sports Medicine at the high school level.
    In some cases, though a position is eliminated, the students will still find sections available, such as Algebra I at the high school level: Principal Matt Bell reported that there were 60 students and five sections in the current year, but they expect to lose 20 students next year so the school will be able to retain smaller class sizes.
    Half a FTE for a counselor at the Secondary level will also receive a “pink slip.” This position, and that of .5 FTE for the Career Tech counselor are serious concerns for Board members as well, who expressed dismay.
    Final decisions have yet to be made, however, and the Board has directed staff to look at some other alternatives in the interim before decisions have to be finalized.

    posted to Cedar Street Times on March 8, 2009

    Topics: Current Edition, Front PG News

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