Big Bear, CA, January 30, 2012, 12noon: Last Thursday, the Budget Advisory Committee of the Bear Valley School District met to receive a status update in regards to Governor Brown’s proposed 2012-2013 State Budget and to begin discussion of potential expenditure reductions. The Committee, which was formed in 2008, is comprised of District administrators, school and union representatives, parents and community members who will begin reviewing items in the budget for potential reduction which, ultimately, is decided upon and presented by the Superintendent, Kurt Madden. Committee members were appraised of the discussions from the Board Workshop meeting of January 25th in which it was revealed that Governor Brown is proposing the elimination of home to school transportation. For our District, that annual cost is approximately $830K. The Governor is also proposing a $7 billion dollar tax-initiative, Prop 98 that, if it doesn’t pass, will result in an additional $960K cut in funding and the possible elimination of three weeks of school. So, at the next Budget Advisory Committee meeting on February 6th, the committee will, once again, begin the grueling process of revisiting the list of 85 potential areas for budget cuts as well as reviewing new areas of possible budget reductions. Additionally, the Committee was informed of a letter our school district received from Gary Thomas, County Superintendent of Schools, that outlined the implications of having a “Qualified Certification” that indicates our district may not be able to meet our financial obligations. Walter Con, Director of Business Services, stated that this is the first time the District has received such a letter, although the District has in the past received a “Qualified Certification”. Of the 33 schools in San Bernardino County, 11 schools, including Bear Valley, currently have a “Qualified Certification” and have been assigned a fiscal expert from the County to assist the district in determining an on-going fiscal plan of action. To further emphasize the urgency of this financial crisis, if a solution cannot be implemented; the County could assign a fiscal advisor who would rescind the authority of the School Board. In a short period of time, the District needs to find solutions to this crisis and are working towards a Parcel Tax to help fund our Valley schools.
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