Budget woes, performance gap key issues at SLO County's annual 'education forecast'

San Luis Obispo County schools will battle significant budget hurdles in the coming year as a result of continued declining enrollment and a projected $8.6 million cut to schools countywide as part of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s current budget proposal for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

And while county students score above state and national norms on performance assessments, school officials still face an “achievement gap” between the leading students and those living in poverty, still learning English, or those with a learning disability.

Those topics dominated county schools Superintendent Julian Crocker’s annual “education forecast” for San Luis Obispo County on Wednesday.

“I really chafe when I hear about cutting (money) to education,” Crocker said. “It’s not an expense, it’s an investment.”

The Governor’s proposal would mean a loss of $6,250 per classroom, he said.

-Cynthia Lambert