BHUSD Officials Plan $3.5M in Cuts for Next School Year

The school board meets Tuesday afternoon to discuss possible reductions needed to maintain a balanced budget.

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.

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Andrea Fine November 13, 2012 at 06:42 PM
This is shocking to hear that the District under the leadership of Brian Goldberg and Lisa Korbatov would be willing to shear off all the programs that make BHUSD so special like music and library services. Where are your proposed budget cuts for your favorite million dollar lawyers and lobbyists and PR firms like Venerable and Hill Ferrar Law Firm. I am most disappointed in Vice President Jake Manaster for allowing the district to eviscerate academics and curriculum offerings for the failed lawyer, lobbying, PR extravaganzas you have spent on the losing subway effort. I expect Lisa K to never give up on paying for subway lobbyists and PR firms even at the expense of curriculum offerings but for Jake Manaster to go along with this is shocking. Step up Jake and take some leadership here. I voted for you believing your commitment to my kids and their classmates.
Larry Miller November 13, 2012 at 07:36 PM
I totally agree with the point that this Board has thrown away millions of dollars on their absurd fight over the subway to the detriment of the overall district budget. I am a 27 year resident and all three of my kids went through the school system and have always voted for the parcel tax and bond measures but this Board cannot be trusted with more tax money as long as they are obsessed with the subway.
Myra Lurie November 13, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Having spent 8 years on the School Board, I can sympathize with today's Board's difficult task of cutting the budget. When faced with those decisions, the former Board always tried to keep the cuts as far away from the kids as possible. Today, according to the agenda, the District will consider cutting our children's music, middle school electives, foreign language, 2 periods of middle school class time, health aides, librarians, psychologists and counselors. Interestingly, the District is NOT considering reducing its exorbitant legal, lobbyist and consultant fees which, in the last 5 months alone, accounted for $441,311 of GENERAL FUND DOLLARS that could have gone to educating our students. Wouldn't our children be better served with more teachers and fewer lobbyists? I hope they will do the right thing for our students.
John Mirisch November 13, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Hey, folks, how about taking aim at all the wasteful spending which occurs at all levels of government? If we cut unsustainable entitlements and the goodie bags of pensions and benefits that some public employees receive (and I am NOT referring to teachers here), not to mention other wasteful spending, we could more than afford to support our schools at the level they deserve. Protecting the long-term viability of the High School is important and we all have ample reason to be upset about the money the District is spending on legal fees, etc. But anger at the current Board is misplaced: blame for the money the District has had to waste on legal fees, etc. needs to be placed firmly at the foot of Metro, a massive governmental behemoth which steadfastly refuses to listen to the communities it is supposed to serve, whether it be BH, Boyle Heights, or our own BH. We have heard just how bad it is through our joint efforts to defeat Measure J, particularly Metro's blatant disregard for social justice and civil rights. Fighting for good government is never easy, but it is the right thing to do. I would support the City's stepping in to help our schools. If we took serious aim and cut wasteful spending at City Hall, right-sizing expense levels and staffing in some areas and provided better value-for-money, we would have plenty of room to do so much more for our residents, including helping our schools even more. Time to open our eyes and look at the bigger picture, folks.
Brian David Goldberg, PhD November 13, 2012 at 09:18 PM
The Board is not voting tonight to do any of the things you listed. The Board has a study session tonight with major stake holders to discuss how to generate more revenue. Please read the agenda and attend these important study sessions.
Brian David Goldberg, PhD November 13, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Yes you served for eight years and your record to vote for increased class sizes along with your yes vote to fight a tunnel under the High School are all part of your record. As a former Board member you should understand the agenda better than the average citizen and know that a study session is just that a study session. I would encourage the community to attend tonight and listen to the discussion and attend our Board meeting on the 27th when the proposed budget is up for discussion.
Brian David Goldberg, PhD November 13, 2012 at 09:45 PM
My votes are my record I would encourage you to look at my actual record. It is a problem that we have not done a better job explaining to the community the MTA and how their actions forced the district to spend millions proving we do not have active faults under BHHS and El Rodeo school. I wish we could discuss in greater detail our legal strategy and how we expect to recoup all the funds spent but what I can point to is the fact I have a record collecting money. While other board members advocated settlement and paying criminals off I stood firm and we collected we will have recouped almost 3.5 million dollars for the general fund by end of the calendar year which has been used to maintain all the programs mentioned above. Tonight we will discuss how to generate revenue to maintain these programs. This has all been written about on Patch.com and in our local papers. For more background visit www.goldberg4bhusd.com for more facts and less verbal attacks. Still proud of my record.
Brian David Goldberg, PhD November 13, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Good government should be everyone's concern. We have worked hard to bring to light the years of mismanagement that squandered millions of dollars of tax payers fund that was suppose to be used in our classrooms. We have made progress but much work remains to be done. I will continue to work with my colleagues, staff and the community to identify and fix these problems.
Alexander Hollywood-Man November 13, 2012 at 11:21 PM
Truly pathetic, I must say. BHUSD is officially in the Hall of Shame. Wasting hundreds of thousands for a senseless fight against the subway, and then complaining that "there's no money"; where is the logic?! From what I heard, school kids are smarter than the actual school board members. Kids know better that wasting money to fight the subway makes no sense. Maybe it's time BHUSD start learning basics of life from their school kids.
Brian David Goldberg, PhD November 14, 2012 at 01:44 AM
I have proposed many ideas that will allow our local district to get off the State's dime and will contour to advocate for good government which includes oversight, transparency and accountability. MTA forced our district to spend over 1.5 million dollars to prove no active faults under BHHS and El Rodeo schools and just like the Christensen Criminal case that resulted in over 10 million in judgements and settlement dollars for the district, with nearly 3.5 million put back into the general fund which has been used to support all the programs that are potential cuts, we will prevail and received compensation for our legal and other costs associated with fighting the MTAs plans. Had we followed the advice of previous board majorities we would paid Christensen millions of dollars and millions more to contractors and architects to redo work the voters had already suppose to have paid for with Measure S and Measure K. Still proud of my record and still working to fix the years of mismanagement and out right criminal activity that plagued our district and took millions out of our classrooms


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