Unified’s budget plan to be unveiled next week | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Unified’s budget plan to be unveiled next week

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

In eight days a decision will be made about what cuts Lake Tahoe Unified School District must make to contend with declining enrollment and the California budget crisis.

The Feb. 25 date was announced by Superintendent Diane Scheerhorn to union representatives, PTA presidents and administrators Friday morning.

“The board came to a consensus on a plan, will bring that forward and announce reduction in force as well as introduce a plan for the next three years,” she said.

Scheerhorn described the plan as “comprehensive and flexible” enough to withstand lingering California budget decisions and future declining enrollment.

The plan will likely included slashing funding for programs to offset more than a million dollar revenue shortfall caused by declining enrollment.

LTUSD Board of Education President Lennie Schwartz said the plan will likely cover about $2.7 million. Schwartz said the decision to close a school, which would save about $470,000 in utilities and non-teacher salaries, would probably not be an option at the meeting.

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“We went through a group of different scenarios and we are still looking at them,” Schwartz stressed. “We haven’t come to any decision. At the next meeting we will see if we are at a place where we can come to a consensus. We want to come out of closed session and say we did this or we haven’t.”

Jimmy Vaughn, president of South Tahoe Educators Association, expects the number of teachers receiving a pink slip to be small because of retirements and attrition. Vaughn said teachers remain apprehensive about cuts and the process has “taken its toll on us emotionally.”

“I’m not sure what to expect at the Feb. 25 meeting,” Vaughn said. “I am hoping that the board will present well-balanced cuts across the board.”

A plan had to be formulated with the upcoming deadline of March 15 when teachers must be notified if they will not have a job next year.

“I feel very comfortable talking on behalf of the board that the plan is a workable plan, a fair plan, one that takes children first,” Scheerhorn said. “We know everybody won’t be happy but we do feel it’s a fair plan.”

The meeting will be at the multipurpose room at South Tahoe Middle School. Closed session begins at 5 p.m. Open session is estimated to start at 6:30 p.m.

— E-mail William Ferchland at wferchland@tahoedailytribune.com