as school site administrators, to look at ways to operate more
efficiently and reduce costs.
Escalante and district officials will review the business services
division operations for school board members at Tuesday's Board of
At the Feb. 17 meeting, board members reviewed the costs and
responsibilities of the secondary educational services division. The
board is expected to continue reviewing department expenses at
Tuesday's meeting will begin at 3:30 p.m., but board members will
immediately go into closed session to discuss union bargaining
matters, as well as personnel, potential litigation and pupil
discipline and expulsion. The board will reconvene in open session at
about 5 p.m. Public communications will be at the beginning and
again at the end of open session.
"We can't identify all the cuts until they come to us," Escalante
said. "If somebody leaves, we have to ask if we refill that position
or can we think about doing it differently. Every position is up for
grabs in the sense that we may want to think about asking some
positions to do more. For now, we are going through each division of
the district so the board understands how they function."
Escalante has already established a "soft freeze" on personnel, so
no vacant position is automatically filled without district approval.
He has also said that reducing operational costs like grounds
maintenance, by about $750,000, is attainable through attrition and
spending reductions next year.
Escalante maintains that the district's projected $8-million
deficit can be managed through spending reductions and attrition, not
Because of spending reductions, parents and students are likely to
notice larger class sizes and fewer instructional materials and
supplies, as well as a reduction in restroom cleanings in 2004-05,
board member Chuck Sambar said.
"Unfortunately, that is the reality of all of this," Sambar said.
"I don't know that people realize the extent of these reductions,
because we are sort of doing it piecemeal. But when you look at the
total picture, cutting down $8 million is no small potatoes. The
full extent of this may not be realized until the future."