By Neil Nisperos Staff Writer
Created: 01/21/2011 08:55:54 PM PST

CHINO HILLS – The Chino Valley Unified school board on Thursday made $14 million in cuts, which included employee layoffs and pay cuts.

But the board of education decided to delay taking action on an additional $8.7 million in cuts recommended by Superintendent Wayne Joseph.

The Chino Valley Unified School District faces a potential $31.5 million deficit and has spent the past month considering cuts to close the shortfall.

Even with $14 million gone, another $11 million in cuts must still be considered by the board, officials said.

“I feel badly as superintendent that any position has to be eliminated and yet we still have to go back and make more cuts,” Superintendent Wayne Joseph said. “Unfortunately, we’re not done with this process. It’s not over.”

Thursday’s board-approved cuts included a reduction in the number of work days for directors and coordinators as well as the loss of a programmer analyst, district receptionist and security coordinator.

The reductions also included the elimination of school nurses and school transportation, but the district has received one-time federal education money to fund the services next school year.

The elimination of the district’s elementary music program was removed from the recommended cuts. Throngs of parents, students and educators attended the meeting in support of the program to speak on its positive impact on student success.

Also removed from the recommended cut list was a plan to centralize custodial services as well as eliminate high school receptionists, elementary school assistant principals, career center technicians, instructional aids and library assistants.

The items could return to the chopping block if a board member requests it at an upcoming budget study session, officials said.

The next school board budget study session will be at 5 p.m. Thursday at Woodcrest Junior High School, 2725 Campus Ave., Ontario, when Joseph is expected to reveal a new list of recommended cuts.

The board also voted Thursday to table or set aside about $3 million in Joseph’s recommended cuts for further consideration, including athletic transportation.

Items set aside also included the reduced work year for school security officers and high school receptionists as well as the elimination of the district videographer.

“It’s better than elimination I guess but at least we have some kind of hope,” Ayala High School receptionist Sue Butriss said. “Even with the tabling they’re still thinking about cutting days. It’s a waiting game.”

Ayala High School security officer Ray Mendoza said he was holding “guarded optimism” regarding further board consideration of reducing the work year for security officers.

“We have to stretch it out another week so it’s somewhat disappointing, but you have to remain optimistic,” he said.

Officials also raised concern over the potential of a remaining $6 million deficit after the $25 million is trimmed.

Justine Cunningham, president of the Associated Chino Teachers union, recommended district administrators and the board look further.

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