Big Bear, CA, January 26, 2012, 5:50pm: UPDATE: According to Federal law, home to school transportation must be provided to Special Education students if it is deemed necessary as part of their Individual Educational Plan or IEP. Big Bear, CA, January 26, 2012, 12noon: At last night’s Board Workshop meeting of the Bear Valley Unified School District, Board Trustees, district administration and many members of the community, as well as teachers and classified employees of the district, met to discuss and explore alternative funding sources for educating the students of the Valley. With the recent budget information released from Governor Brown’s office in Sacramento, the financial outlook for BVUSD is bleak. Astonishingly, the Governor is proposing eliminating bus transportation for students. To our district, that is approximately an $830K cut in the budget. Additionally, $960K in non-transportation budget cuts is necessary now. The Governor is proposing a tax initiative, that would need a two-thirds vote to pass, that would fund transportation costs but, if it does not pass, the school district will have to find a way to fund the $830K busing cost as it mandated by Federal law that students must be provided transportation to school. Superintendent Kurt Madden outlined the possible funding options that may be available for the District, which included a Parcel Tax, GO Bond and grant opportunities. The Parcel Tax and GO Bond options dominated last night’s discussion with the Board allowing for public comments and questions throughout the meeting. Following much discussion, the Board agreed that a Parcel Tax would be the best route to explore as it would allow the District to receive funds to meet more immediate needs faster and with better direction, if passed, than a GO Bond that would primarily fund capital improvements. Walter Con, Assistant Superintendent of Business for the District, used the example of switching to solar power for the schools in order to save money on electricity that could then fund other school programs. As time is of the essence with the budget crisis, Board members ultimately dismissed the idea of a GO Bond. However a lot of work will need to be done in order to get the community educated and involved in passing a Parcel Tax. As Liz Harris, Big Bear Lake City Council member in attendance commented, parent groups and grass roots organizations from the community will need to get behind the campaign. The BVUSD Board members made it very clear that we need to concentrate on our students and teachers during this budget crisis. At this time, other business is temporarily on hold, including a possible reconfiguration of schools, until the budget issues are resolved. The District administration and consultant will now create a timeline of how to proceed and iron out the specifics needed to create a Parcel Tax. Meanwhile, Sharon Meager, a teacher at Big Bear Middle School, is organizing a letter writing campaign to local, state and federal representatives urging them to help during this financial crisis. The event will be held at the Middle School on February 7th beginning at 5pm and members of the community are encouraged to participate.
No Chain Controls in Place Despite Last Night’s Snow; Morning Traffic Collision on the Boulevard Prompts Lane Closures