By Neil Nisperos. Staff Writer
Created: 12/12/2011 06:23:06 PM PST

Public school officials throughout the state are bracing for what may mean another huge blow to education with a potential trigger cut of $1.9 billion.

These reductions include cuts to community colleges and K-12 schools, and would automatically occur if state revenues fall short by at least $2 billion.

Today the state Department of Finance, under the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown, is expected to announce revenue projections that determine whether these cuts are triggered.

There are two levels of cuts. If projections mean a shortfall of $1 billion, then only the first tier of cuts – $600 million in reductions to public colleges and social services – will occur.

If projections are short $2 billion by June, then $1.9 billion in “second tier” cuts to K-12 will take place.

On Monday, school officials said the feared reductions in most cases have already been worked into existing budget projections.

Mohammad Islam, chief finance officer for the San Bernardino City Unified School District, said the district must cut about $19 million for the 2012-2013 school year if the second-tier cuts go into effect. Board member workshops, to go over expenditures line by line, are scheduled for 4 p.m. Jan. 10, according to board member Judi Penman.

Islam said class sizes have already been increased and school days reduced as part of recent budget-tightening efforts. Similar actions have taken place in districts throughout the state.

“This puts every school district in a disastrous fiscal condition,” Islam said. “Education is in crisis. The level of funding cuts in the past five years has put us in a difficult position to provide a quality education to help our children.”

At Pomona Unified School District, Superintendent Richard Martinez said the cuts could equate to about a $6 million loss to his district. The district has already cut seven instructional days out of its schedule in recent years. Martinez said an option to deal with the trigger cuts could mean six fewer instructional days.

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