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The wheels on the bus come off

Submitted by on 1, January 28, 2009 – 9:00 amNo Comment

The Alameda Unified School District’s finance chief laid out the impacts of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget proposal for next year, and they are grim. Under the proposal, the district could lose more than $4 million in state funding for the current year and 2009-2010. And that’s not counting the $650,000 it will lose when the new Nea Community Learning Center charter school opens next year, taking an anticipated 250 students off the district’s rolls.

If the governor’s plan were to be enacted, the district could face layoffs and even the loss of five days of the school year, district chief financial officer TimRahill said, though it could allow the district to take money out of “categorical” programs – money that is designated for specific programs that can’t be used for any other purpose.

Declining enrollment and increasing costs – Rahill said worker’s compensation costs, for example, will probably rise – will also impact the district’s budget.

“Alameda is facing a state budget crisis. We are facing the opening of a charter school. Also, we’re experiencing declining enrollment,”Rahill said.

He said parcel tax dollars generated by the passage of Measure H could also be used to help cover the cuts, if the board wishes to use those. This year, the district is slated to get $4 million in Measure H tax funds, and it has only budgeted $1.2 million of that.

Schwarzenegger has proposed a number of additional taxes to bridge $31.3 billion in budget shortfalls between the 2007-08 and 2009-10 fiscal years.

The district wants your input on its budget situation. They’ve scheduled budget workshops for February 11 and April 2. We’ll update you when times and locations are available.

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