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More Cuts Approved, Many More Loom

The Board of Education at its regular meeting this month approved additional budget reductions, resulting in an estimated $115,000 in ongoing savings and nearly $463,000 in one-time savings.  The savings are made possible by recent contract changes for certain classified employees.  For the full agenda item, see the Dec. 8 heading under Budget Update.

At the same meeting, Long Beach Unified School District staff warned the school board that additional cuts here ranging from roughly $53 million (best case scenario) to as much as $100 million or more (worst case scenario) will be needed over the next two years due to the state’s worsening and highly volatile budget.  The school board also OK’d a fiscal stabilization plan, required by Los Angeles County, listing potential methods of achieving further budget savings, including:

• Closing small schools;

• A continued freeze of certificated and classified hiring;

• Changing work calendars for staff, such as from 12-month to 10-month;

• Seeking efficiencies in health benefit programs;

• Seeking grant funding and additional expenditure flexibility through the state and federal governments.

The continuing cuts here are necessitated by the state’s ongoing, multi-billion-dollar reductions in funding for public schools.  A $28 billion state budget gap is forecast for the next 18 months.  Roughly 40 percent of the state budget is earmarked for K-12 education.