Bleak budget news for LTUSD; busing upsets parents


By Kathryn Reed

Saying no to the governor’s tax plan on the November ballot will mean a $1.6 million hit to Lake Tahoe Unified School District.

Because of union contracts layoffs at that point aren’t an option even if the school board wanted to entertain that idea.

What Gov. Jerry Brown has told districts is in addition to cutting the school year by the already allowed five days, 15 more for a total of 20 are allowed to be wiped off the calendar.

Fewer Lake Tahoe Unified school buses will be on the roads in the 2012-13 school year. Photo/LTN file

To make ends meet in the worst case scenario, LTUSD would need to cut the 2012-13 school year by 12 days to absorb the cash flow gap from the state.

“They haven’t give us any other choice,” Superintendent Jim Tarwater told Lake Tahoe News during a break at the May 22 board meeting.

If necessary, that decision would come after the Nov. 6 election when classes are under way.

CFO Deb Yates presented the board and a room full of people the district’s budget update based on what the governor proposed in his May revise last week.

“I’m absolutely flabbergasted people keep holding their positions when they keep missing the numbers,” Yates said of state employees.

The state budget deficit is $15.7 billion, up from $9.2 billion.

She was in Sacramento on Monday with colleagues getting briefed on what the governor and Legislature intend to do when it comes to funding K-12.

“There is a lot of confusion in how the numbers are rolled out. They are not funding us,” Yates said.

Now on the table is the “weighted student formula” which creates four categories of funding based on grade level instead of the current scenario where districts are given the same amount of money for each student.

“I don’t know how they think it costs less to educate K-6 than others,” Yates said.

The categories are K-3 ($5,466 per average daily attendance), 4-6 ($4,934), 7-8 ($5,081), and 9-12 ($5,887).

She said based on that formula, LTUSD would lose an additional $200,000.

What brought the masses out Tuesday night was the threat to transportation. Nine people – parents, students, drivers – spoke about the need to ensure students are safe and that the environment is a consideration if more cars were put on the streets.

Parent Alice Jones said with not having all of the Plan C transportation documents on the district’s website, it created a lack of transparency. The deleted bus stop document was not available until the morning of the meeting, thus not giving people ample time to review it. She asked for the board to table the vote until the public had time to go over the ideas.

The board didn’t seem to care about transparency based on the fact not one of them made reference to when the plan was available to the public.

At the end of public comment, board President Wendy David said, “We have no intention of not getting your child to school safely on a bus, but we have a fiduciary responsibility to keep the schools open.”

Plan C (A and B were presented at the May 1 meeting) calls for eliminating 39 bus stops compared to 86 in other scenarios. Two buses instead of one would be used to get Bijou students home. Gone would be the potential for a 75-minute ride, and instead it would be closer to 50 minutes.

The long walks to bus stops are mostly eliminated. Stops in the Tahoe Keys, Al Tahoe and Sierra Tract neighborhoods have been restored.

It is likely to be more crowded on buses because routes have been eliminated.

The district now runs 12 full-size buses that can seat 84 and four smaller buses with a capacity of 20. The smaller buses are used for special education students. Starting in the fall there will bet 10 full size buses and two smaller ones.

The board requested the transportation department give another presentation after the first month of school to report on how the changes are working.

In other action:

• Board member Sue Novasel asked for a future agenda be targeted to discussing school district owned ball fields and how Title IX may be related to them.



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Comments (8)
  1. Tahoan says - Posted: May 23, 2012

    If the state would decrease the upper eschelon of administrators’ salaries and the same to UC and state colleges professors, that could open up some revenues.

    Start the school year after Labor Day (where it belongs).

    And parents better get their carpool buddies lined up.

  2. tahoeadvocate says - Posted: May 23, 2012

    Any contract which guarantees jobs handcuffs the employer, whether government or private. No job can be guaranteed in perpetuity when it is dependent the needs or affordability of the customer.

  3. sunriser2 says - Posted: May 23, 2012

    What happened to all the families that were going to move to Tahoe so their children could go to the high school?

    Remember all the per day student revenue that was promised?

  4. Hang Ups From Way Back says - Posted: May 23, 2012

    sunriser2..reality set in and lots people left verse came.

    The same can be said for the hole in the ground,just because it’s there doesn’t do anything for a city lost under epa control.

    This right in the ball park with ice ring,airport,garage,the new tahoe south chill pill.

    The last few neighbors that came, gone, close to me had kids didn’t even send them to school,they sat home smoked cigs all day,well fare,babies, under the age of 18 and 3 different familes lived in the same 3 beadroom house and they even lived in the wood shed.
    Good kids just not much of a future,felt sorry for them,buy a ham ,turkey on the holidays,give them ski clothing,coates,winter boots,sweaters, firewood on a cold night always asked for pack cigs.
    This is our new reality world society of so many young kids with not much to look foward to.
    Damn the feds,state,city goverments, for wasting so much on nothing.

  5. Mike Ervin says - Posted: May 23, 2012

    Maybe LTUSD needs to rethink how they spend the funds they have like again do we really need a Winter Sports Academy. They have spent Millions already at STHS, while our Middle School and Grade Schools need work. And now the most important thing we need buses to get to and from school gets cut. Lets face it for far to many years school districts have lived off the States that fund them. Now when the funding isnt there lets cut back and lets start with the Elementary School which has the most minorities Bijou. I would be curious what is the budget for each k-5 school, can anyone say if its totally equal ???

  6. sunriser2 says - Posted: May 23, 2012

    Good for you Hang Ups.

    Been caught up in my own mess and don’t give as much as I used to.

    I like your list of failures I think you hit them all. Strange how no one in this town wants to face reality. They will act like this funding issue is a big surprise.

    A short time ago people thought they were going to build a city hall and Target was coming to town.

    The city is still budgeting for an increase in property tax revenue.

    Remember the six percent per year compounding property tax increases projected on the redevelopment #2 site?

  7. tahoeadvocate says - Posted: May 23, 2012

    Mike Ervin is right. FOCUS on reading, writing and arithmitic. Sports are secondary to the real reason for school.
    Our kids can’t read or add but they sure can play ball.

  8. Rhiannon Naumes says - Posted: July 20, 2012

    There are issues for sure but not in need of draconian Legislation…..I would guess people would be surprised to learn how much Censorship this would lead to….and to my mind, that is what this Legislation seeks to enable the Copyright thing is already answerable at law….Do folks know how much free’ material has been copywrited by the larger Corporations?Have a look at Getty’s ownership of every public photograph on the Planet!Smoke and Mirrors I say!