BARSTOW • Increasing class sizes, cutting teachers and possibly shutting down another school will be some of the topics of discussion at Barstow Unified School District's special board meeting Tuesday.
The BUSD Board of Trustees and district administrators will be meeting to plan out how to make $1.5 million in ongoing cuts for the next three school years due to public education cuts from the state.
According to Assistant Superintendent of Business Tony Wardell, a budget committee will not be assembled to face this round of cuts because of a pressing timeline. The board will likely be voting on approving or denying the cuts on Sept. 8, which is also the first day of school.
"Our challenge is to implement as quickly as possible," Wardell said.
The public can comment on the proposed cuts at tonight's special board meeting, which will be held at 6 p.m. in the district office's staff development center. No action will be taken at the meeting.
District officials have already suggested several budget reduction options. Some cuts are proposed to start in the 2009-10 school year and others could start in 2010-11.
The district proposes taking restricted funds unused from previous years and rolling them over to the following years. Some items include sweeping funds away from programs like English as second language for parents, instructional materials and grants for music and art, and use them instead for employee salaries.
Other reduction ideas for the upcoming year include cutting transportation for Barstow High School and Barstow Junior High School by $20,000.
According to Teresa Healy, assistant superintendent of education, that might mean that teams, bands, and other student groups may each have to chose to attend one less competition or event, or opt to travel to closer events.
Some of the deeper cuts are proposed to take place in 2010-11, including possibly closing an elementary school, increasing kindergarten and first grade class size from about 24 students to 30 students per class — which would eliminate eight teachers — and cutting five high school or junior high school teachers.
Wardell noted that if, in the coming weeks, the board decides to close a school, a committee will form to discuss changing school boundaries.
Tuesday's meeting will include a presentation with updated information on the state budget's ever-changing status of education cuts, Wardell said.
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What's on the table for discussion
Possible cuts starting in 2009-10:
• One technology administrative assistant position: $40,000.
• Reducing activity transportation for Barstow High School and Barstow Junior High School: $20,000.
• One speech paraeducator position: $7,500.
Possible cuts starting in 2010-11:
• Closing one elementary school: $250,000.
• Eight kindergarten/first grade teachers: $440,000.
• Five high school/junior high school teachers: $275,000.
• One elementary band teacher: $55,000.
• One psychologist: $100,000.
Source: Barstow Unified School District.