San Gabriel Valley school districts facing massive budget cuts

Azusa Unified School District could be facing $16.8 million in budget cuts over the next three years, officials said in a statement today.

The district’s Board of Education met Thursday to discuss the looming budget cuts.

“There are no easy solutions,” said Brad Frick, assistant superintendent of business services for AUSD. “Under the governor’s current budget proposal, Azusa Unified would be required to make draconian cuts.”

Frick said the cuts would require reductions in staff, programs, services and supplies.

“When more than 80 percent of your budget goes to salaries, there is no way to balance the budget without reductions in staff,” he said. “Every program and service must go under the microscope for reductions.”

The longer the state Legislature stalls on the budget, the harder it will be for the district to make cuts, Frick said.

In a similar statement, the Temple City Unified School District said it is facing $4.2 million in budget cuts over the next two years. The cuts would have a drastic impact to educational programs and staffing levels, officials said.

Superintendent Chelsea Kang-Smith urged parents to voice their support for public education funding by writing to the governor’s office and to local representatives in the Legislature.

“It will not be possible to make up the budget shortfall without impacting our award-winning schools,” she wrote on the district’s Web site.

In Azusa, the Board of Education is already reviewing layoff procedures for certificated staff. Under the California Education Code, these staff must be notified by March 15 of possible layoffs, said Assistant Superintendent Corey James. That deadline does not apply to classified employees, who have a 45-day layoff notice period.

If the state budget isn’t resolved in the next two weeks, James said the district will need to send layoff notices.

AUSD Board President Rosemary Garcia also urged parents to write their legislators.

“When balancing the budget, we must insist on protecting our children and the future of our state,” Garcia said.

Click here for a report by Staff Writer Caroline An on the impact of the budget crisis on local schools.