School district to pen list of budget cuts

Parents and community members are expected to flood community meetings tonight and later this month as a Burlingame school district decides how to cut nearly $1.13 million from the budget.

The Burlingame Elementary School District will hold a special board of trustees meeting tonight to formulate a list of budget reductions. The trustees will vote on a list of cuts at their May 27 meeting.

The cuts to the district, which has four elementary schools, a middle school and more than 2,300 kids, represent more than 5.6 percent of the budget.

“It just makes my stomach churn to think about the amount of cuts we’re going to make,” said parent Christine Seeley, president of the district’s fundraising organization. “It’s hugely troubling.”

A recent community survey of 939 Burlingame residents showed that the major areas in which parents were most willing to see cuts were media technology and music.

The areas that residents said they most wanted to avoid the budget ax were class sizes and teacher salaries.

The district has already exhausted its revenue-raising ideas, Superintendent Sonny Da Marto said.

It earns more than half a million dollars each year from a $104 per parcel tax passed in November 2004. It also received $675,000 in donations last year, mostly from parents.

The cuts come as the direct result of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed $4.8 billion slashing to California schools next year, Da Marto said.

Parent Jill Goldsmith, who has two kids at Lincoln Elementary School, said she was worried that her children will miss out on a well-rounded education if programs such as music and library are put on the chopping block.

“For many kids, that’s what they like most about school,” Goldsmith said.

The meeting will be held tonight at 6 in the Burlingame Intermediate School auditorium.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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