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Community Digest

ABC Schools : Budget Cuts Will Reduce Services, Boost Class Size

February 18, 1993

The ABC Unified School District voted Tuesday to cut $5.9 million from next year's budget, which will increase class sizes, reduce library and nursing services, and eliminate pool and gym attendants.

In addition, students will have to pay $1 a day to ride the school bus.

The 1993-94 budget will also include a three-day employee furlough and will require district administrators to substitute in the classroom two days of the year.

The budget, approved after a six-hour hearing attended by more than 150 parents, teachers and students, was criticized by some residents, who said the cuts would affect students' academic performance. They suggested that more cuts should be made for upper-level district administrators.

Board members voted 4 to 3 to increase the ratio of students to teachers by two, which will bring class sizes in elementary schools to 31 and in the secondary schools to 33. The change, which is among several that might be negotiated with the teachers union, is likely to eliminate 52 teaching positions in the district. District officials said layoffs are unlikely because most of the positions will be eliminated through attrition.

The seven-member board modified Supt. Larry L. Lucas' proposed budget in an effort to keep school guidance counselors but could not agree on a way to keep nursing services at the high schools. They debated for hours on how to come up with the necessary $62,000.

Board members Cecy Groom, Sally Morales Havice and David Montgomery proposed revising Lucas' budget to eliminate more than $70,000 in car allowances for administrators and other personnel who are not required to submit line-by-line mileage sheets for reimbursement.

The three board members, who were outvoted throughout the meeting by the board president and the other three members, also proposed eliminating administrative positions in the district office and reducing administrators' salaries.

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