Paso Robles school leaders officially cut about $2.1 million from next year’s budget — and some previously outlined reductions escaped the final chopping block.
School board trustees on Tuesday night voted to approve the cuts, which include early retirement incentives for 30 teachers, the elimination of three management positions and various program and contract reductions.
Officials must make the total $2,150,006 in cuts to salvage the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District finances, which are facing a $3 million shortfall during the next two years.
The school board voted in December to approve a commitment to fiscal solvency, as required by the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education.
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That commitment requires the district to make $2 million in cuts during the 2019-20 school year and another $800,000 in reductions during 2020-21.
Rethinking arts program cuts
A previous list of expenditure reductions included about $300,000 in arts programming cuts, but officials were able to whittle that amount down to $222,502.
The district had planned to save $101,620 by reducing the number of music teachers from three to two and offering instruction only to grades 3 through 5.
Now, plans to leave vacant an already-open music position will continue, which will save $26,620.
The early teacher retirements gave the district some flexibility in terms of how to fill open positions, which made it easier to rethink previously planned cuts, said Brad Pawlowski, chief business officer.
The district will now be able to continue funding three music teachers and offer instruction for students in kindergarten through fifth grade, said Carol Kenyon, chief academic officer.
“We were really pleased we were able to make that adjustment,” she said.