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Monday, December 10 , 2018, 9:24 pm | Fair 53º


Santa Barbara School District Largely Spared Under Brown’s Midyear Budget Cuts

School board appoints Conrad Tedeschi the new director of fiscal services

Gov. Jerry Brown will impose $980 million total in midyear “trigger” cuts, including about $80 million for K-12 schools, but the Santa Barbara Unified School District will not have to shorten the school year or make any drastic changes, Superintendent Dave Cash said at Tuesday night’s school board meeting.

The news is better than expected, he said, estimating that the district will have to cut about $500,000 to comply with the cuts. Next year, according to Cash, Brown is expected to pursue a tax initiative on the ballot and build more “trigger” language into the budget so midyear cuts can be implemented if the tax isn’t passed and revenues are lower than expected.

The district’s first interim financial report for the year was positive as well, reported Meg Jette, the assistant superintendent of business services replacing Eric Smith. However, the district is still deficit spending, which Cash said he is committed to eliminating as quickly as possible.

Projections show the district will be able to meet the minimum reserve requirements of 3 percent, and even with the volatile state budget situation, the board has been able to make necessary cuts, Jette said in her report.

Also on Tuesday, the school board appointed Conrad Tedeschi to Jette’s former position of director of fiscal services. Tedeschi previously worked at the Santa Barbara County Auditor-Controller’s Office and other county positions. He will begin his new position Jan. 3 with a salary range of $108,040 to $120,813.

Conrad Tedeschi
Conrad Tedeschi

Starting next fall, the district will offer transitional kindergarten for 5-year-olds who are deemed too young for traditional kindergarten.

Cynthia White, director of curriculum and categorical programs, proposed implementing the program all at once, by offering the “TK” to children with fifth birthdays between Sept. 2 and Dec. 2.

White said charter schools have to offer these classes when their charter is up for review, as Peabody’s is this year.

There would be no fiscal impact to the general fund if class sizes are 25-to-1, added White, who said the district is pursuing professional development for teachers who will handle the new curriculum. Sites with fewer students could pursue combination classes for transitional and traditional kindergarten students, but the curricula are completely different, she added.

The two-year kindergarten program was created by Senate Bill 1381, which changed the California Education Code. White said it’s the first time since 1891 that California has added a grade level.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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