On the Current Budget Restrictions

Kate Peinkofer, Staff Writer

Tensions ran high on the
night of November 15th in the El
Molino library. It was the West Sonoma
County Union High School
District’s November board meeting
to address the proposed budget
reductions for the next few years.
It was a long, strenuous evening,
but after it was over, it was clear
that there was nothing really to be
done. The board was left with no
other choice…
From the very beginning,
the board members addressed the
fact that they had been put in a
very difficult situation. They let
everyone know that they don’t
want cuts to happen either, and this
decision broke their hearts almost
as much as those of the students
and teachers.
Essentially, the state
changed the funding formula for
schools in 2013, and our school
district got the short end of the
deal, left with practically nothing.
The district continued to spend
their funds instead of saving,
which further reduced funds. Last
June, a Budget Advisory Committee
was created by the Board. Dr.
Kellner, our superintendent, said,
“This process began in August
and concluded in November. The
Board based its decision on the priorities
identified by the committee
and input from site administrators.”
A PowerPoint was put up that
showed the money the district has
for spending, and the amount that
is allocated for economic uncertainty.
Multiple graphs illustrated
that, even with the cuts that were
being proposed that evening, there
would be just enough money to
stay afloat. It was explained that if
the money spent ate into the funds
allocated for economic uncertainty,
which it was on the brink of doing,
the state would assign an administrator,
and the board would no
longer have any power. The state
would make even greater cuts than
were currently planned on. The
board needed to make a decision
that day and submit their plan for a
reduced budget or the state would
take over the next Monday. They
had no choice but to pass the plan
for the proposed cuts.
The choices as to what
courses might be cut are controversial,
causing many students to
be upset. Freshman Social Studies
Survey is one of those courses,
leaving Freshmen without a history
class and with reduced graduation
requirements. The French program
will be lost, leaving students who
wish to take a foreign language
with only one option. They proposed
to cut the video program that
we fought so hard to keep last year
and that was only saved because
of donations and funding from 13
Reasons Why.
It was pointed out at the
board meeting that one of the most
important classes in our school is
our Freshmen social studies class.
It gives Freshmen worldly knowledge
that may be lacking from
their lives. No other class at Analy
provides this type of education.
In general, world history is very
Eurocentric and does not teach
about the present-day. Ms. Curtiss,
a French and Spanish teacher, said
that, while the loss of the French
program is tragic, the loss of Freshman
social studies is worse. “The
students who take French will
hopefully continue their studies at
the JC or other ways,” she said, but
social studies is a far more important
class. It will be cut because it
is not a class required by the state
or by UCs and CSUs.
The proposed cutting of the
video program is also a loss for the
school. Many people fought very
hard to preserve the program last
year, and it is sad to see it on the
chopping block once again. Remi
Foggetti, a senior and 4th-year
video student, said: “It was devastating
to the program when we
lost Ms. Humphrey, and it will be
more devastating when the school
loses one of its most creative electives.”
He added that “the morale
of rallies will be lacking because
of the loss of spirit videos.” Video
is a strong program, with over 90
students in it.
The list of classes that are
proposed to be cut at Analy is as
Course: Proposed
Sections Cut:
English 1
Mathematics 2
Social Studies 7
Science 3
Floral Design 1
Practical/Fine Art 1
French 2
Video 4
Band 1
Choir 1
Physical Education 1
These cuts amount to 24
sections from Analy alone, and
another 17 from El Molino. That
leaves a potential total of 41 classes
being cut, and the equivalent
On the Current Budget Reductions
loss of 8 full-time teachers from
the district. Granted, the district
probably won’t lay off that many
full-time teachers and will most
likely reduce most to part-time.
Nonetheless, it is still a loss.
In addition to the lack of
funds, the new middle school in
our district that was opened last
year has not fulfilled its original
proposal of being economically
neutral because of lack of enrollment.
Kellner said, “The budget
was developed conservatively,
based on 85 students. While we
did receive 15 students from out
of the area we only received 60
students from Forestville. This
difference resulted in the $150,000
budget shortfall. The Board decided
to make a one time loan to the
charter.” He claims that the school
will be financially sustainable in
the near future.
These budget reductions
are not necessarily final. If the state
designates more money for the
schools this spring, the board will
revisit cuts, and preserve some of
the programs. In order to make a
difference, everyone should write
to the state to fight for our school.
But, in the short-run, there doesn’t
seem to be much we can do. We
need to come up with long-term
solutions so we won’t have to cut
more classes next year or in the
years to come.
Complaints can be called in using
the number (916-319-0800) or
mailed to the following address:
California Department of Education
1430 North Street
Sacramento, CA 95814-5901