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Future uncertain for K-12 education
TUSD Superintendent Sonny Da Marto is encouraging parents to make sure their children attend school every day. Higher attendance levels will help the District defray additional budget cuts. - photo by Journal file photo
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a California State budget solution on Tuesday that will solve $24.2 billion of the state’s budget woes. The bulk of the budget deal is $16.1 billion in expenditure reductions, with the biggest cuts to education funding.
California lawmakers settled on the budget deal on Friday after several days of deliberations. Schwarzenegger declined to accept the entire budget package and used his veto power to make additional cuts.
“This is not an easy budget, but it is a necessary budget that does not raise taxes, solves the $24 billion deficit and includes long-term reforms,” Schwarzenegger said.
The deal cuts $9.3 from education, just under $2 billion from the University of California and California State University systems. The rest of the cuts are from K-12 funding, which includes California community colleges.
Sonny Da Marto, Turlock Unified School District superintendent, said that the specifics of the budget cuts have not been addressed yet. He estimates that the cuts will equal around $400 per student in TUSD, amounting to about $5 million for the 2009-2010 school year.
Da Marto said that the state will also not be repaying nearly $3 million owed to the District for the 2008-2009 school year. The District spent that money on programs with the expectation that it would be reimbursed at the end of the year.    
TUSD will be able to address the nearly $8 in cuts for the last and current school years with other District funds from past personnel adjustments and stimulus money, according to Da Marto. TUSD has already adopted a budget for the upcoming school year, and Da Marto said that the district intends to move forward with that budget.
The District will see the actual impact of the current budget cuts during the 2010-2011 school year. Da Marto said that ongoing revenue cuts will have to be addressed, but the District has not yet begun that discussion.
“That will be a very tough year for everyone,” he said.
The District is encouraging parents to help lessen the budget deficit by making sure their children attend school regularly. TUSD estimates that for every 1 percent increase in student attendance, the district gets $1 million in funding. The District recently launched an attendance campaign to make attendance a top priority for parents and students.
“Just say go,” Da Marto said.  
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.