Canan Tasci, Staff Writer
Created: 01/27/2012 09:31:09 AM PST

CHINO – The Chino Valley Unified School District has about two weeks to find $20 million to cut from its budget for next year.

That’s the bad news coming from last week’s Board of Education budget study session.

During that time, board members will again revisit a 33-item list of possible cuts prepared last year by Superintendent Wayne Joseph, which may have to be considered to keep the district fiscally solvent.

The list of potential items on the block cut deep into Chino Valley’s educational processes, from possible elimination or cutbacks of nurses to elementary music programs, librarians and several assistant principals, among other items.

Board member David Black points the finger to the annual cutbacks from Sacramento as the cause.

“The government,” he said, “is holding education hostage.”

Districts across the state are dealing with similar issues now that the governor has released his budget recommendations.

Some of Gov. Jerry Brown’s state budget proposals for education include the elimination of home-to-school and special education busing funding, the requirement and funding of transitional kindergarten, and eliminating half of the existing requirements of some educational programs.

Also on the governor’s list is to reduce the “interyear apportionment deferrals,” or the percentage of money that is owed to schools. This proposal would only happen if California’s voters pass Brown’s $6.9 billion tax initiative in November, raising the state sales tax as well as income taxes on California’s highest earners.

Deferrals are money owed to schools in this fiscal year but because the governor doesn’t have money he defers release of that money to a later date, said Sandra Chen, district assistant superintendent of business services.

“Right now 38 percent of our current year funding is deferred by the governor until the following year,” she said. “He’s trying to buy down that 38 percent to a lower percentage so we can actually receive the money this year, and that’s a good thing.

“That’s the only proposal on his list that is contingent upon the passage of the taxes. Whether or not the taxes pass, the rest of these are still going forward on his proposal, with the exception of the deferral,” Chen said.

The state is $9.2 billion in the red. All of the governor’s proposed financial solutions add up to $10.3 billion.

Chen said the bottom line is the governor’s proposal is predicated on the passage of the tax-hike initiative.

“We have to plan our budget on what we know right now, and I can tell you right now is that if the taxes pass the best news for our school district is that we will receive the same level of funding as the current year. However, we will still receive 100 percent elimination of regular and special education transportation funding for the 2012-13 school year and beyond,” Chen said.

When it comes to eliminating busing, that sticker price is about $1.5 million for the two school years in Chino Valley.

If the governor’s tax increase does not pass, the district’s revenue funding will be reduced by $10.7 million in 2012-13 school year and $10.5 million in 2013-14.

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