Natomas Schools Leaders’ Response To State Funding Cuts

Dear Staff and Community,

Last night our school board conducted an extensive discussion of Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposal to make the largest financial cuts to education in the history of California. As a result of this discussion, I have been directed to:

  1. Put the needs of our students first wherever possible, even if that means that the required three-year budget we submit to the Sacramento County Office of Education does not include a mandated 3 percent reserve through 2010.
  2. Let this decision to submit a “qualified” Second Interim Budget Report on March 12, 2008, send a signal to our community, the Governor and the State Legislature that the Natomas Unified School District must and will do everything in its power to protect its students, staff and services while the state government deliberates over how much revenue it will provide to our school district. The board will not make “panic cuts” based on political debate at the Capitol. We will engage in responsible and reasonable financial planning until the state decides its final budget, at which point we will respond accordingly.
  3. Prepare a budget for 2008-09 that includes an estimated $2.5 million to $3 million in spending reductions and not the nearly $5 million in cuts that would be necessitated if the Legislature accepts the Governor’s proposal.
  4. Continue to make it possible for our district to avoid issuing layoff notices to our employees.

These directions will allow us to preserve the quality relationships among students, staff and the community that are essential to our high-quality learning programs.

It is ironic, even shameful, that we are faced with financial devastation at the same time the Natomas Unified School District is addressing such monumental issues as closing the student achievement gap between various income and ethnic groups, improving high school graduation rates and increasing student access to technology, career technical education and enrichment programs.

California already is ranked 46th in the nation for funding to schools. We can, and must, do better for our children.

Thank you for your hard work, your devotion and your commitment to the children and the community of the Natomas Unified School District.


Dr. Steve M. Farrar


Please note: Attached is the “2008-09 Budget Adjustment Options” presented to the Board of Trustees last night that reflects the Governor’s worst-case scenario for NUSD of $4.7 million to $5 million in budget reductions.

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