HBschoolmoney0621 (ran 6-21-01)

"We don’t have a lot of fat."

Fewer students force Budget, staffing cuts

by Robb Fulcher

Faced with shrinking revenues for next year, the city school board has approved belt-tightening measures that include cutting the hours of the Hermosa View School librarian and combining two part-time science specialist positions.

Hermosa Beach City School District officials expect to lose about 26 students from their total enrollment of about 1,000, which would result in a loss of more than $117,000 in state funding. That’s about 2 percent of the district’s $6.5 million total budget.

The shortfalls in enrollment and revenues may not come to pass. They are based in part on the trends of past years, and as families move into and out of the district, officials cannot know precisely what enrollment will be.

"This is not an exact science," Superintendent Robert "Duffy" Clark said.

The budget cuts were designed for areas "as far away from the classroom" as possible, he said.

"We don’t have a lot of fat," Clark said. "We don’t have teachers on special assignment, for example, we don’t have directors and coordinators. We don’t have a lot of people supporting the classroom teachers."

Anticipating the shortfalls, the district plans to cut two hours from the workday of the librarian at the K-2 View School on Prospect Avenue. Secretarial staff in the district office also would see their hours cut. Two part-time science specialist positions would merge into one position.

Those staffing changes would save about $52,000.

The district plans to save on custodial and maintenance supplies, essentially by using them as sparingly as possible, and to cut back the purchase of clerical office supplies and supplies for the health office.

"We stocked up on supplies and we’re going to use them judiciously," Clark said.

Those cutbacks would save about $14,000.

Educators also would cut back their attendance at conferences and their membership in professional organizations, saving about $6,000. ER