San Luis Coastal's budget deficit puts 43 jobs at risk

acornejo@thetribunenews.comApril 8, 2013 

San Luis Coastal Unified School District could cut more than 43 jobs, eliminate bus transportation for high school students and postpone installing Wi-Fi capabilities at its high schools.

The grim cuts are being proposed by Superintendent Eric Prater to save about $4.2 million as the district faces a $6 million deficit.

The budget proposal will be presented to the trustees Tuesday night, but a final decision will not be made until April 23.

In preparation for the tightening, the school district in mid-March sent preliminary layoff notices to certificated employees — teachers, counselors and librarians — for the 2013-14 school year.

Employees receiving those notices include 10 elementary counselors equaling eight positions (some are part time), three middle and high school counselors, four librarians and a handful of instructional coaches, English-language-learner teachers and other supplemental teaching positions.

Now added to the list of jobs to be purged are five bus drivers and additional transportation support positions, such as dispatch and a driver trainer; two custodians; a district administrator; and 10 part-time special education para-educators.

Bus routes will be reduced from 28 routes to 16, and parents will be asked to pay double what they pay now for elementary and middle schools students to ride the bus.

Schools will also see their budgets reduced by 20 percent. Funding for school resource officers at Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo High Schools will be slashed in half, less money will be spent on teacher training and summer school has been nixed for elementary and middle schools students in 2013.

The cuts equate to $1.9 million in teaching staff, $911,633 in other personnel and about $1.4 million in programs.

The district anticipates $72 million in revenue for the 2013-14 budget, but it will spend $80 million. Administrators identified $2 million in cuts that have already been made, leaving $6 million that must be slashed.

The passage of Proposition 30 in November will lead to an additional $200 per student in funding — reducing the structural deficit to $4.5 million.

This is the second round of major cuts that the district has made in recent years.

San Luis Coastal trustees cut more than $4.5 million from the budget in May, changing the way elementary music is taught, altering the way specialized instruction is given to English learners and trimming special education.

The district has been using reserve funds to offset a structural deficit for the past three years.

“None of the options are good,” Prater said. “But we have to align our resources with our goals.”

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