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School board to get rundown on governor’s budget proposal

Submitted by on 1, May 25, 2010 – 4:50 amNo Comment

Alameda’s schools could face about $2.4 million in state funding cuts for the 2010-2011 school year under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s most recent budget proposal, school district officials are set to tell the Board of Education tonight. And they said they’ll be asking the school board to consider an additional $300,000 in cuts for next year as a result.

In January, Schwarzenegger proposed cuts that would cost the district about $2.1 million. But his latest budget proposal – dubbed the “May revise” – adds another $289,775 to that figure.

Earlier this month, Schwarzenegger unveiled a budget proposal that would eliminate CalWORKS, the state’s welfare program for families, and would implement deep cuts to a host of other social services, including state-funded child care, mental health services and in-home supportive services for the disabled and elderly. The cuts are part of Schwarzenegger’s plan to close a $19.1 billion deficit.

Under Schwarzenegger’s “May revise,” schools would be asked to absorb a 3.85 percent cut in the per-student funding they get to cover general educational expenses. In addition to those cuts, the governor has proposed a negative cost of living adjustment.

School districts would, however, be able to continue to use “categorical” funds typically tied to specific programs to help balance their budgets under the May budget proposal. And they would also be able to shorten the school year and increase class sizes.

Alameda Unified used categorical funds to balance its budget this year, and the district plans to increase K-3 and ninth grade class sizes in 2010-2011. The district could also cut five days from the school year if it fails to secure passage of the Measure E parcel tax.

The governor’s proposed education budget is similar to the one he released in January, a district presentation to be offered Tuesday says. But it is subject to change by state legislators.

In other budget matters, the board will decide whether to allow the district to go out for more than $10 million in revenue anticipation notes that district officials have said they need to request in order to cover the district’s operating expenses.

The district’s chief business officer, Robert Shemwell, has said the district needs the money because the state has been deferring its payments to school districts. Shemwell has said that processing the notes could cost the district around $31,000.

The board holds its public session at 6:30 p.m. today in council chambers at City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue.

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