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Marin County, CA: District sees 'declining enrollment' AND SPED costs up $750K

Mar 22, 2019, San Rafael, CA, Marin Independent Journal: Novato schools OK $1.8 million in budget cuts After more than six months of meetings, talks and public outreach, Novato Unified School District trustees this week approved $1.8 million in cuts to the district’s preliminary $88 million 2019-20 budget. The district’s board of trustees voted 7-0 Tuesday in favor of the $1.8 million trimming, which includes about $800,000 in staff reductions through attrition from declining enrollment. “This $1.8 million is just the beginning,” said trustee Ross Millerick, referring to continuing challenges from rising pension costs, declining enrollment and flat per-student revenue from the state. “This is just taking the cream off the top of the milk. This is the easy part — the hard part is yet to come.” … Assistant Superintendent Yancy Hawkins told the board Tuesday that the cuts reflected the double whammy of declining enrollment and rising pension costs. … Hawkins said another significant factor this year was a steep rise in special education costs. The increased costs come from the Marin County Office of Education and from the local SELPA, or special education local plan area, a collaboration with other neighboring districts to serve special education programs. “The costs for special education are up over $750,000 this year,” Hawkins told the board on Tuesday. “This is the largest increase in over 20 years.”…

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