Major cuts eyed at Cal Unified

Austen Thibault, The Union Democrat

PUBLIC MEETING: Calaveras Unified School District Board of Trustees, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, IMC training room, 3304 Highway 12, San Andreas.

The Calaveras Unified School District Board of Trustees on Tuesday will look at steep budget cuts to start in 2015-16. The district needs to rein in deficit spending and is considering measures that would include laying off 14 teachers, completely eliminating music and athletics programs, and consolidating its three smallest schools.

Calaveras County's largest school district, already facing a dicey budget, over the summer overestimated the amount of state funding the district would receive this year and must now cut $2.9 million within two years to remain solvent.

The district has fallen in and out of state budget guidelines over the past few years due to budget cuts and declining enrollment.

The Calaveras County Office of Education, which is now making formal recommendations due to the budget crisis, has set a $1.8 million spending reduction goal for the 2015-16 year.

With this year's budget already finalized, the district won't be making any cuts now, but will be looking at big cuts for 2015-16 over the next four board meetings and voting on them on Sept. 2, according to Superintendent Mark Campbell.

The district compiled a reductions sheet that outlined $1.9 million in cuts. They include laying off 14 teachers, eliminating music and the remaining sports across the district, as well as consolidating the district's three smallest schools - Mokelumne Hill, Rail Road Flat and West Point elementary schools - into one and doing away with preschool.

"What you see on that list is all we have left," Campbell said.

For the complete story, see the Aug. 4, 2014, edition of The Union Democrat.

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