Board of Education members are meeting at 3 p.m. Tuesday to decide on $3.5 million in possible cuts for the 2013-14 school year as the district prepares to submit its budget to the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE).
The cuts represent roughly 7 percent of the annual Beverly Hills Unified School District budget of about $51.5 million. The reductions are needed in order to show a balanced budget to LACOE. They come despite last week’s passage of California's Proposition 30, which seeks funding for public schools.
“BHUSD will be funded below the level of funding it received in 2009-10, and the district will be forced to make expenditure reductions, as much as $6 million, to maintain a balanced budget,” the district states in a fact sheet posted on its website.
In an email sent last week to district staff, Superintendent Gary Woods spelled out a range of cuts being considered, dividing the cuts into two categories.
“As we work to restore items on this list through fundraising and other means, ‘category 1’ items are intended to be restored first followed by ‘category 2’ items,” he wrote. “This is a worst-case scenario list. I am confident we will be successful in restoring many items on this reduction plan.”
The category one cuts would eliminate half the district’s K-8 music teachers and all K-8 librarians. The cuts would combine lower grade levels to eliminate three teacher positions and also eliminate several secretaries at the high school. The category one cuts total more than $1.2 million.
The category two cuts include items like eliminating the current guarantee that K-5 students can attend the Beverly Hills school closest to their homes. Under the category two budget cuts, seventh and eighth graders would see their day reduced to six periods from the present eight periods, eliminating electives in those grades.
The category two cuts, which total about $2.3 million, would also mandate a 5 percent salary cut for top BHUSD administrators.
“We will be working with our Board of Education and numerous stakeholder groups to finalize a campaign intended to help us restore items on our list,” Woods wrote.
The public is invited to attend the budget study session at the BHUSD district office.
Later in the evening, the board will hold its regularly-scheduled board meeting. According to the agenda posted on the district website, members will vote on a proposal from board President Brian Goldberg to put a parcel tax on the March 2013 ballot. As Patch reported in August, Goldberg believes such a tax is the best way to provide secure funding for BHUSD.