In the first of three meetings with the Budget Advisory Committee of the Bear Valley Unified School District, committee members addressed the daunting task of cutting $890,000 from this year’s school budget of approximately $23.5 million. By way of District staff, the Advisory Committee will make recommendations to the School Board of Trustees who will ultimately make the final decision. As presented by Walter Con, Director of Business Services for the School District, the situation is grim. The District has been successful in cutting dollars in the areas of services, supplies, consultants, legal fees and avoiding filling staff vacancies but, even by dipping into reserve funds, the budget still needs deep cuts. As concerned parents questioned how the cuts would affect our children’s education, Mr. Con replied, “This is going to hurt kids. If you take $1 out of the school budget, it’s going to hurt kids”. The deadline to notify staff of pending lay-offs is March 13th so the District is going down the path that they will have to lay-off employees particularly in the areas of certificated and classified staff. It was suggested, to avoid lay-offs, that employees take a 4 to 41/2% pay cut across the board for management, certificated and classified staff. The District has entered into discussions with the two unions involved, the Bear Valley Employees Association and the California School Employee Association on the subject. If an agreement cannot be reached, the Budget Advisory Committee will have to find the money elsewhere, and, that means staff lay-offs and programs that will effect children enrolled in the Bear Valley Unified School District. The public is invited to attend the meetings, which have been rescheduled for the evening hours in order to accommodate work schedules. The remaining two Budget Advisory Committee meetings will be held on February 5th and 12th at 6pm at a location to be announced.