High school board faces budget cuts

The San Mateo Union High School District will have to make some cuts in the upcoming school year, as budget reserves dip far below the district’s ideal of 5 percent to 6 percent.

Superintendent Sam Johnson Jr. said Thursday that he planned to ask the school board to form a committee to discuss priorities and where to make the cuts.

Johnson declined to speculate on what might be on the chopping block, saying only that it would be up to the committee and the board.

The seven-school, basic aid district has been having problems like many districts of its kind, Johnson said.

Basic aid districts, which derive most of their funding from local property taxes but receive a minimum level of state funds, are supposed to have a 3 percent reserve.

The SMUHSD is currently below that requirement, with $1.5 million to $2 million — representing a 1.5 percent to 2 percent reserve.

This is the lowest the reserves have been in years, Johnson said. It is also the first time the district has had to make significant cuts since fiscal year 2002-03, when the state proposed reducing basic aid district payments and the SMUHSD had to cut $4.5 million from its budget.

Johnson said he was unsure how much would have to be cut from the budget, but said it would definitely have to start this school year.

“It’s going to take some real belt-tightening,” he said.

tramroop@examiner.com

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