Boosting elementary school class size by one student and cutting discretionary funds for school principals are among the budget cuts proposed for the Palo Alto school district next year.
The Board of Education will discuss the $3.7 million in cuts, proposed by Superintendent Kevin Skelly, in a study session today at 12:30 p.m. in the board room of school district headquarters, 25 Churchill Ave.
The board will be asked to vote on the slate of 25 cuts -- proposed to help bridge a projected $7.6 million budget deficit for 2010-2011 -- on Feb. 23.
With 11,680 students on 17 campuses, the school district runs a general fund of approximately $154 million.
Besides the $3.7 million in cuts, Skelly hopes to make up the gap by using $2.1 million from an undesignated general fund balance, and $1.8 million in revenue from a proposed increase in the parcel tax. Voters will be asked to replace the existing $493-per-parcel tax with a new $589-per-parcel levy this May.
The proposed class size increases would bring class sizes to 22 in kindergarten through third grade, and to 24 in grades four and five.
The proposals also call for "incremental" increases in middle school class size, and a one-student increase in ninth and tenth grade math and English class sizes.
The boost to elementary school class size is the largest single item on the list of cuts, achieving $600,000 in savings. The next-highest is the proposal to cut principals' discretionary allocations from $105 to $70 per student, yielding $402,500.
Other items on the list include transferring state deferred maintenance income to the general fund for $350,000; collapsing six under-enrolled classes at two elementary schools to four classes for a savings of $200,000; reducing 5.75 full-time-equivalent support staff positions for $320,000; and reducing the budget for office supplies to save $160,000.
The proposed cuts come after a wide range of suggestions from principals, parents, teachers and staff.
More than 50 ideas came in from the public to the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suggestions ranged from giving students credit for on-line classes to replacing certified librarians with "classified librarians" to requiring all supplementary programs, such as summer school, to be entirely self-supporting.