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Benicia schools brace for further cuts amid declining student enrollment

01.21.2012 | Vallejo Times-Herald | Lanz Christian Bañes

BENICIA — The Benicia school board could lose $1.8 million if proposed state taxes don’t materialize this fall.

Reacting
to Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent budget proposals, Tim Rahill, chief
business officer at the Benicia Unified School District, also told the
school board Thursday that district staff was actively seeking other
funding sources for programs such as childcare, which could also receive
cuts.

Additionally, the district must grapple with
declining enrollment. In California, districts are funded based on how
many students attend school.

Rahill predicts a loss of 70
students, including about 25 that would have attended school this fall
as part of a “transitional kindergarten” class.

The pre-kindergarten classes will not receive funding if Brown’s budget comes to pass.

“I believe we cannot support a program that receives no funding,” Superintendent Janice Adams told the board.

The
lower student enrollment would equate to a loss of about $350,000 and
likely would mean laying off some teachers, Rahill said.

By law, teachers must receive notices of potential layoffs by March 15.

The
board also approved an amendment to a cellphone tower agreement between
the city of Benicia and the district. The district will receive 25
percent of the proceeds of the tower, while the city will get 75 percent
so it can continue maintaining two of the district’s athletic fields.

Contact staff writer Lanz Christian Bañes at (707) 553-6833 or lbanes@timesheraldonline.com.

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