With a September 30 deadline looming, a well-attended ad hoc budget committee meeting was held on Monday, September 8, at Tomales High School. As Superintendent Stubbs explained in his opening remarks, “Tonight is an opportunity for the Shoreline community to deal with the structural deficit….. Concrete ways of dealing with the problem must be presented to the county by September 30, or we will lose control of the process. The board will make the ultimate resolution about the budget, but all comments will be considered.”
A comprehensive handout included a list of possible budget reductions generated at an earlier meeting, multi-year budget projections, enrollment history and average class size, and many more items. At the next board meeting on September 11, the board will review budget reduction proposals for the last time, and at another special board meeting to be held the week of September 15, the board will take action on budget restrictions.
There was much discussion about combining classes because Shoreline has the smallest class size in the county. Most of the parents who spoke want to keep it that way. Those who had been in districts with combined classes felt that it improved the quality of education. An online survey, which was posted on the district website in both English and Spanish, garnered 114 responses
A long list of suggested budget reductions was discussed in addition to combining classes with low enrollment. With staffing costs and benefits at 85 percent of the total budget, reductions in staff must be considered. Although the number of students has declined from 660 in 2004-5 to 509 currently, the staff has increased. Some additional ideas generated by the survey and during discussion at the meeting include:
*Sell property that the district isn’t using
*Eliminate the hot breakfast program at the elementary schools
*Reduce spending on office supplies
*Cut the superintendent position back to 50 percent
*Eliminate/reduce counseling and intervention teachers
*If staff reductions are not achieved through attrition, issue layoff notices.