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Long Beach Schools May Be Forced To Make Ugly Budget Cuts

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LONG BEACH (CBS) — Long Beach schools may increase class sizes, close schools and lay off hundreds of teachers to address the possibility of losing tens of millions of dollars in state funding.

Long Beach Unified School District Board members are reviewing and revising its preliminary budget over the next few weeks, but layoff notices could be sent out as early as March, according to the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

The district says it won’t have a clear picture of its financial state until July, but by law, it must notify teachers of pending layoffs by March. The school board will meet again on Tuesday.

“We have some very, very hard and difficult decisions to make,” LBUSD Superintendent Christopher Steinhauser said.

Long Beach Unified Faces Major Cuts To Vital Services: KNX 1070’s Ron Kilgore reports.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget could hit Long Beach Unified very hard – the governor spared kindergarten through 12th-grade schools in his $1.5-billion cut to public education. But Brown wants a ballot initiative to continue $8.8 billion in temporary taxes to help maintain school funding. Voters will decide on the issues in June.

Even if voters approve to continue those temporary taxes, Long Beach Unified will still have to cut $53 million out of its general fund budget over the next two years. If the measure fails, the district will have to cut $155 million over that same period of time to maintain vital services, school officials said.

In a worst-case scenario, district officials have proposed the following strategies:

  • The elimination of all school bus services, except for those serving special education students, which would save $3 million.
  • An increase in class size by two students for grades six through 12, saving $6.9 million.
  • The implementation of a 30-student-to-one-teacher ratio for all kindergarten though third-grade classes, which would save $8.3 million.
  • Major cuts in support services, including nurses, librarians, counselors, social workers, music teachers and assistant principals.
  • Central office reductions, which would save $10 million.
  • Cutbacks in specialized student programs, which would save $2.3 million.
  • Closing Buffum and Burroughs elementary schools, which would save almost $1.3 million.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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