2012-03-08 / Front Page

School board continues to wrestle with options

Jill Ballinger

 When the Mariposa County Unified School District Board of Trustees meets tonight, it will continue to try to figure out a solution to its budget crisis. The board will also hear the second interim budget report.

It seems that numbers, numbers and more numbers are on the minds of administrators and board members these days, as a series of special meetings has preceded tonight’s regular meeting. The board has a couple of options to consider in terms of school closure and consolidation and transportation reductions.

As the discussions continue, the board has issued layoff notices to 35 teachers. The deadline for those layoffs was today.

At the board’s last meeting, district staff presented the board with options. Staff from Mariposa Middle School, which is proposed for closure, also pitched a new idea they hoped would save their site.

The district is in dire financial straits, in part, because of state reductions to public education funding. Compounding the problem is the continued loss of students. 

In the past 15 years, MCUSD has lost 830 students at an average rate of 55 per year. During that time, the district operated essentially the same number of schools. Last year, however, it closed Cathey’s Valley and Coulterville-Greeley elementary schools.

Those lost students equate to a $4.1 million revenue loss. Personnel Director Tammi Richards said at the March 6 meeting that the district has not made reductions to offset the declining enrollment, either in staff or facilities.

Richards said the district is facing a $1.3 million loss next year because of declining enrollment and the potential failure of the state tax initiatives. 

To read the full story about the district's budget considerations, pick up a copy of today's Mariposa Gazette.


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