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CUSD budget in limbo as state delays
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Ceres Unified Assistant Superintendent Scott Siegel presented new information on the state budget and the potential impact on the district to the Ceres School Board on Feb. 5.

Siegel will unveil a plan of action for review on Thursday and submit it for approval on March 5.

"The problem is very large and is going to require many solutions," he said. "We're not taking drastic action right now. We're kind of in a waiting game."

CUSD will face midyear cuts amounting to $3.5 million - $5,000 for every classroom - for the current school year according to Siegel. He said the district will dip into its savings and not fill vacant positions to help offset the reduction in state funding.

"The bottom line is we can't solve this year's problem without going into our reserves," Siegel said. "We set $1.4 million aside last year."

Ceres Unified is anticipating $4.5-5 million in cuts - $8,000 per classroom - for the 2009-10 school year.

The district is considering laying off certificated employees to meet the shortfall. The state-mandated deadline for notification is March 15.

"The problem's so large we can't avoid that at this point," Siegel said. "I can't tell you how big it's going to be."

Four administrative positions that will be open next year will not be filled as well.

Ceres Unified was also forced to make cuts in 2002-03 and 2003-04 to deal with the state-budget crisis.

California's budget deficit is expected to surge past $42 billion over the next 18 months.

"None of us got into education to do some of this stuff," Siegel said.