Schools - March 10, 2010

Portola Valley school board looks to cut staff, classroom aides

by Andrea Gemmet

Classroom aides in the K-8 Portola Valley School District could lose their jobs under budget cuts being considered by the school board at its March 10 meeting. Faced with a $550,000 projected budget shortfall for the 2010-11 school year, district officials are preparing to send out preliminary layoff notices by March 15.

The board will meet to decide on the cuts at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 10, at Corte Madera School's Room 1001, 4575 Alpine Road in Portola Valley.

The upcoming parcel tax election could alleviate the need for more than half of the proposed budget cuts. Measure D, the four-year, $168 parcel tax on the special, mail-in May 4 ballot is expected to raise $345,000 per year. Another $208,000 in ongoing structural reductions is being proposed by district staff in order to make up the balance.

On the table is cutting the full-time special education director job to part-time, eliminating the educational technology coordinator position, and reducing custodial services, for a total annual savings of $207,832.

Additional cuts are proposed to make up the shortfall if the parcel tax doesn't pass. They include eliminating all general education classroom aides and readers, for a savings of $196,727, and eliminating librarian jobs at both schools for a savings of $149,383.

Budget cuts made in the past two years trimmed $1 million in administration and overhead expenses from the district's budget, according to Assistant Superintendent Tim Hanretty.

The projected shortfall in next year's budget is result of flat property tax revenues, the end of one-time funding from federal stimulus funds, and cuts in funding from the state, according to district staff.


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