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CUSD budget axe aimed at $3.3 million lop
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Education cuts in the finally-adopted state budget have sent officials of the Ceres Unified School District to begin the process of trimming $3.3 million from the current budget and $4.2 million in the 2009-10 fiscal year budget.

CUSD officials will be recommending that the School Board take budget-cutting action, including the issuance of 14 layoff notices as well as a reduction of positions through attrition.

The new state budget allows school districts in California to free up restricted funds to compensate for reduced funding. CUSD is utilizing this flexibility mechanism to maintain needed funding in classrooms and preserve critical programs and jobs.

"The district is doing as much as possible to reduce spending in areas that least impact student learning," said Deputy Superintendent Scott Siegel.

Adhering to the district's strategic plan, the cuts for the 2009-10 school year are targeted to include:

• New textbooks/library books, $700,000+

• Maintenance/repairs, $1,100,000;

• Administrative services, $300,000;

• Professional development (one day) $200,000;

• Elementary P.E. services, $300,000;

• 9th grade class-size reduction, $200,000;

• General spending reductions, $500,000.

Siegel said the federal stimulus package is expected to provide some relief through increased special education funding of approximately $500,000 which, in conjunction with the above reductions and other spending adjustments, reaches the necessary $4.2 million in savings.

"The human impact is extremely difficult," said CUSD Superintendent Dr. Walt Hanline. "We recognize that even the prospect of layoff disrupts the lives of employees and their families; however, we are hopeful that, through attrition, some or all of these 14 individuals will still be working with us next year."

The Ceres School Board is expected to consider the proposed cuts at a special Study Session planned for Friday.