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Schools cuts shrink under new budget proposal

Original post made on May 15, 2008

After months of dismay and protest — including Palo Alto teachers waving signs at an intersection along El Camino Real in the Wednesday afternoon heat — proposed state cuts to education funding may be smaller than expected, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Wednesday.

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Comments (7)

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 15, 2008 at 7:49 am

What a clever ploy by Arnold. He never really intended to cut all that money to schools. What he did intend was to get some good vibes and become the good boy after all characterization.

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Posted by fireman
a resident of another community
on May 15, 2008 at 1:53 pm

The Gov had/has some explaining to do after the So Cal Fires..... Time for him to be silent and not make waves???

For some it is hard to stomach hundreds of millions of dollars wasted, in So Cal on Cal- Fire, then cutting the education budget AGAIN... To pay for this wasted funding and incompetent actions of someone he picked... To mislead and hinder.....

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 16, 2008 at 1:31 pm

So wait a minute. If Palo Alto plans to save money by packing classrooms with max class sizes - and avoid hiring new teachers...

Does that mean MI (which requires new hiring) is on hold? Or does MI get a special status in time of cut backs?

And what about SI - will we see the SI classrooms packed to class size max's as well? Or are they also immune?

Fair's fair, does the whole district share in the pain, or are a few shielded (putting a higher burden on neighborhood schools)?

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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 16, 2008 at 1:36 pm

It's an interesting point - our school funding situation is almost perpetually unstable, yet a new specialty program with special requirements/needs/guidelines/population/bilingual curriculum is permitted to ramp up.

I have consistently believed in focusing on PAUSD's challenges as a cohesive district rather than the mainstream being pushed onto the back burner at times while separate staff attention/focus/funding/facility resources are given as a priority to MI or any other unneeded small programs.

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Posted by student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on May 16, 2008 at 7:10 pm

I belive MI is cost-neutral...That's what they keep telling us anyways.

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Posted by sigh
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 17, 2008 at 6:34 am, MI is not cost neutral. It MIGHT be "cost neutral" once it is fully rolled out in a few years, assuming it doesn't go on into middle school, but then it is still debatable about the cost neutrality after kids start dropping the program and can't be replaced.

But, just google all the millions of threads about MI, let's not turn this one into yet another thread.

Back to the topic,..drives me crazy how getting less than expected is considered a " cut". Getting 8% less than expected in the papers yesterday, but nobody commented on how great it was to get 25% more than expected a few years ago.

So, how much is PAUSD cutting from its planned budget for next year?

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 19, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Student - it can only be cost neutral if it holds and maintains the same number of students per class that the rest of the district holds. If 'normal' school is running at $3333 per student (because class sizes are being pushed to 30 (example), a class holding only 20 costs $5000 per student, a class holding only 15 costs $6666 per student, etc. Smaller class sizes are more expensive. Not to mention the favorable student/teacher ratio and all the learning advantages that implies.

'cost neutral' is not the only consideration when some classrooms are being forced to hold more students, while some stay small (via naturally occuring attrition, or policy, or otherwise).

And, if the district is putting a moratorium on hiring, 'except for...' - then what makes these 'exception' cases so 'exceptional' that they deserve the additional consideration/resources?

And when the grant money is gone in 3 short years - have we put a new permanent (more costly on a per student basis) cost structure in place for a specialty program that we then have to fund through district resources?

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