Calif: 'School districts across the state don’t receive enough money to fund special education'

Jan 18, 2018, Sonoma (CA) Index—Tribune: Sonoma Valley Unified School District to cut staff; will save mandated $2.5M There were no last-minute surprises, objections or pleas Tuesday when the Sonoma Valley Unified School District board voted to chop more than $2.5 million from its budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1. The district had to make the cuts after receiving a letter in October from the Sonoma County Office of Education expressing strong concerns with the district’s finances and threatening a takeover if the financial situation wasn’t corrected by Jan. 17. The district has been deficit spending six of the past seven years. Most of the $2.5 million will come as a result of personnel cuts. The district will cut the equivalent of nearly 26.5 full-time positions, saving an estimated $2.1 million. The remaining $407,000 will come from reductions in non-staff related expenses. … “Enrollment has been dropping but expenses have been rising,” Abbott said Tuesday. Expenses have been growing, Abbott said, because staffing is up. He said the majority of the growth in staffing is because of transferring special education programs from the county Office of Education to the district; preschool staffing; teachers on special assignments; and the AVANCE Parent-Child Education program for lower income families. “The district isn’t getting enough money for special education,” he added. But he said school districts across the state don’t receive enough money to fund special education.