Tem­ple­ton, Shan­don school dis­tricts must cut bud­gets

The Tribune (SLO) - - Front Page - BY LIND­SEY HOLDEN Lind­sey Holden: 805-781-7939, @lind­seymholden

Two North County school dis­tricts must make bud­get cuts to ad­dress fund­ing short­falls caused by de­clin­ing en­roll­ment and in­creased re­tire­ment costs.

Tem­ple­ton Uni­fied School Dis­trict and Shan­don Joint Uni­fied School Dis­trict must make hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars in re­duc­tions to en­sure they’ll be able to pay their bills while main­tain­ing healthy re­serves for eco­nomic un­cer­tainty.

The Cal­i­for­nia De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion re­quires dis­tricts to have vary­ing re­serve lev­els based on size. Tem­ple­ton must main­tain a 3 per­cent re­serve, while Shan­don needs a 5 per­cent re­serve.

In De­cem­ber, board mem­bers in both dis­tricts ap­proved fis­cal sol­vency res­o­lu­tions com­mit­ting to spend­ing cuts at the re­quest of the San Luis Obispo County Of­fice of Ed­u­ca­tion.

Tem­ple­ton of­fi­cials will need to iden­tify $300,000 in re­duc­tions from the dis­trict’s $22 mil­lion bud­get each year for the next two years. Shan­don of­fi­cials must cut $287,000 in ex­penses from the dis­trict’s $5 mil­lion bud­get in 2020-21.

Paso Robles Joint Uni­fied School Dis­trict board mem­bers also ap­proved a fis­cal sol­vency res­o­lu­tion in De­cem­ber. Dis­trict of­fi­cials must make $3 mil­lion in re­duc­tions from a $ 78 mil­lion bud­get dur­ing the next two years.

Shan­don and Tem­ple­ton su­per­in­ten­dents both at­trib­uted their short­falls to en­roll­ment de­clines and in­creased pen­sion spend­ing.

“I think the pop­u­la­tion that can af­ford to live on the Cen­tral Coast is older,” said Kristina Ben­son, Shan­don su­per­in­ten­dent.

Dis­trict of­fi­cials are in the process of iden­ti­fy­ing re­duc­tions.

Tem­ple­ton Su­per­in­ten­dent Joe Koski said his dis­trict plans to lever­age po­si­tions that be­come va­cant, re­duce hours for some em­ploy­ees and spread out cuts across the dis­trict, in­stead of dev­as­tat­ing one fund­ing area.

Koski said he’s op­ti­mistic lay­offs won’t be nec­es­sary.

“Our hope is to do one more round of belt-tight­en­ing,” he said.

Both su­per­in­ten­dents said they want to try their best to keep bud­get cuts away from teach­ers and stu­dents.

“Like all schools, we’re go­ing to try our very best not to neg­a­tively im­pact the class­rooms,” Ben­son said.

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