Ballooning retirement costs have Coast Unified School District looking to community members for suggestions on how to deal with a looming budget crunch.
Coast Union Superintendent Vicki Schumacher told district trustees at their monthly meeting Thursday, Oct. 9, that the district faces fiscal challenges in five areas, four of which will affect districts statewide.
Retirement costs that are expected to cost the district an additional $400,000 to $500,000 by the 2029-30 school year, and Coast Unified also faces:
▪ The loss of federal funding for such things as Interet access and phone service.
▪ An end to “several hundred thousand dollars” worth of technical education grant funding.
▪ Rising minimum wage expenses.
▪ The potential loss of $1.6 million in funding if Cayucos students attend school elsewhere.
“This is going to be as fun, if not more fun than the budget cuts of 2007,” board President Del Clegg said.
Administrative staff will bring ideas to the board in January but is looking for community feedback in the meantime. Those interested in submitting suggestions may do so via email at email@example.com.
Also at Thursday’s meeting, Coast Union Principal Scott Ferguson urged community members to support the high school’s athletics program.
Ferguson said the school had just 87 paid attendees at its recent CIF volleyball playoff game, which was just enough to cover the road team’s travel expenses. (Thirty-two of those in the crowd were students, and about 20 were adults from the visiting school, meaning just about 25 local adults attended.)
“We’ve got to get the word out,” Ferguson said. “We need some help. We need to boost that attendance. We made no money hosting that CIF game.”
Ferguson said Coast Union athletics “has to be a priority.”
“We must win,” he said. “We’ve got to win to have a positive culture. I’m not a win-at-all-costs guy … (but) if we build a winning culture with our sports teams, students want to be part of that.”
He added, however, that building character must be an even bigger priority, and that coaches play a key role by serving as role models and motivators. “We’re trying to instill that character: build character, then win,” he said. “Character comes first.”
In her report at the meeting, Cambria Grammar School Principal Jill Southern reported on a program called Reflex Math, which has increased student fluency in mathematics significantly in third through fifth grades “not even a third of the way through the year.”
She said the program “involves gaming as well as math at the same time, so it’s highly engaging.”
It was employed as a pilot program last year in the third grade, and third-graders’ math test scores surpassed their English/language arts test scores, while the other grade levels had the opposite result.