By Neil Nisperos Staff Writer
Created: 02/11/2011 04:36:52 PM PST

CHINO – Chino Valley Unified board members Thursday night explored new ways to make further reductions of the potential $28 million deficit the district will face by 2013.

In recent weeks, the school board has already approved cuts amounting to $23.3 million in savings from that deficit.

On Thursday, the board discussed another $708,000 in spending reductions, though did not make any final decisions.

New ideas to cut deficit spending included possible reduction in the work year for counseling assistants, a reduction in the number of district Blackberry users, and the elimination of uniforms for classified personnel. These could amount to a potential savings of about $110,000.

Among counseling assistants at risk is Cleo Macias, who works at the district’s independent study and Chino Valley Virtual School. Macias argued the loss of her position would impact the district’s ability to process new students, which would negatively impact state attendance funds.

“The demands on our job are so that if we don’t put in the extra hours and the time, it doesn’t get done,” Macias said. “Every time we bring a student back to the district, it’s $5,000 – our independent study program had brought in almost a million dollars (in student attendance funds) since school started last year.”

Also Thursday, the board discussed about $600,000 in possible savings by reducing maintenance and grounds worker crews and considered the continuation of funding for athletic transportation at a three-year cost of about $919,000.

Board member Fred Youngblood proposed that the community and families should support student athletes by footing the cost of their game transportation, in the same way the district’s band supporters do for events out of town.

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