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Local school districts try to prepare for potentially "devastating" budget cuts from the state

Local school districts try to prepare for potentially "devastating" budget cuts from the state
Posted at 11:49 PM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-15 02:49:01-04

Governor Gavin Newsom proposed billions of dollars in budget cuts during his press conference Thursday afternoon.

In the new proposed budget, Governor Newsom announced $7 billion dollars in spending could be cut from K-12 education and a 10-percent pay cut could be on the way for all state workers.

Local school districts are now bracing for the potential budget hit.

"With a 10-percent cut and all of these added costs, I just don't know how we will do it," said Dr. Curt DuBost, the Paso Robles Unified School District superintendent.

Thursday's news of budget cuts to the state's education system wasn't a shock to local school districts, but it's a harsh reality districts are searching for ways to deal with.

"I thought that it might be worse today than kind of what it came out with, but make no mistake it's pretty devastating to school districts throughout the state," said Ryan Pinkerton, San Luis Coastal assistant superintendent.

Governor Newsom also said Thursday that federal aid would help avoid proposed budget cuts in education and pay cuts for state workers -- but if help doesn't come, 10-percent pay cuts to employees could be challenging to school districts, too.

"If that were the only thing we were dealing with, if we had to suffer through a temporary 10-percent cut with furlough days and what not, I'd probably be a little more optimistic and say we figure it out. But the problem obviously is, we already have depleted reserves, so we don't have anything as back-up," said DuBost.

"When you see reductions like this -- it equals the loss of jobs; and I think that's the part districts are going to have the toughest time," said Pinkerton.

As school districts try to prepare for new decreases in funding, DuBost says he's unsure what a return to school could even look like, if social distancing guidelines are required inside the classroom.

"The biggest problem though is if we are told that we are to re-open school but with six foot social distancing. I just don't know how that's going to work and how I can look at parents and say we can enforce that," said DuBost.

Both the Paso Robles and San Luis Coastal Unified School Districts plan to present updated budgets for the upcoming school year around June.

Newsom said billions more in cuts to schools can be avoided by tapping federal coronavirus funding and reducing some tax perks.