By delaying unnecessary spending, freezing nonessential positions and curtailing attendance at workshops and conferences, the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District will slice $1 million from its budget by the end of the school year, officials said this week.
Supt. James O. Fleming told the governing board Tuesday that cuts have been identified in many of the district's 9,000 different accounts designated for such expenditures as supplies, salaries and maintenance, but that students and teachers have not yet been affected by the county bankruptcy that triggered the cuts.
Since the county declared bankruptcy in December, the district has faced criticism and pointed questioning from parents over its earlier decision to sell $50 million worth of bonds to invest in the collapsed county investment pool.
Parents and other residents have also called for public disclosure of what the district plans to do if the county withholds any of the more than $70 million it still has frozen in the investment pool.
But at Tuesday's meeting, district officials heard more support than criticism from parents and employees, as well as calls for parents to unite to develop a plan for dealing with a predicted loss.
"I'd like to commend the superintendent and the board for their quiet, calm leadership," said Eileen Fetters, a teacher at Valencia High School. "This board has wisely chosen to conduct business as usual until all the facts are known. You've shown a strong commitment to kids (and) avoiding panic."
Rhonda Cohen, a parent in the district, told the board it should not be ashamed of its decision to sell $50 million in bonds, then invest the proceeds in the county pool.
"The school board was duped the same as Wall Street," Cohen said. "It's time to move on, for the community to unite and decide the best way to go from here."