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Ripon may end home- to-school bus service

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POSTED June 9, 2009 2:10 a.m.
RIPON – Taking the bus to school might not be an option for Ripon Unified students for very much longer.
When Superintendent Louise Nan was breaking down the newest numbers coming out of Sacramento for cuts to education Monday night, she announced that the district could be facing a 65 percent reduction in their transportation funding that would take the $147,651 they currently have set aside down to $76,063.
“If it comes down to this, we have no alternative except to suspend home-to-school transportation for students,” Nan said.
In the wake of the failure of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget bailout initiatives, Ripon Unified is currently looking at losing another $700,000 in funding for this school year and an additional $1 million for the 2009/10 school year – forcing the Board of Education and administrators to examine all possible options when coming up with the budget that is due at the end of the month.
One of the scenarios, Nan said, would be to prepare for future deficits beyond the three-year mark just in case things don’t improve.
But there are ways that the district can save money in order to come in under the necessary budget mark and fight to overcome the new cuts being handed down.
According to a list of possible eliminations that would save the district money, Summer School for the 2010 school year could be slashed to save just over $100,000. By reducing the number of instructional periods at Ripon High School from seven a day down to only six, the district stands to save $441,378.
The list – which administrators will look at and rank the proposals in order of feasibility and importance – is still preliminary even though the June 30 deadline for submitting their budget is fast approaching.
And the dream of not having to lay off any employees in order to make the budget a reality is something that simply isn’t going to happen.
During a previous meeting, the school board voted to approve a resolution that gave the district the power to eliminate classified positions and cut back others in order to save money. According to Nan, that resolution will now have to be realized as precautionary notices will be issued to those employees with the hopes that if the budget situation improves they’ll be brought back.
The ever-changing information coming out of Sacramento makes it difficult for Nan for gauge what the exact impacts will be – with the bus scenario as an example as the final word has not yet been passed down.
To contact Jason Campbell, e-mail jcampbell@mantecabulletin.com, or call (209) 249-3544.
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