The West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD) is seeking the public’s input on its spending priorities at upcoming town halls on Saturday, Feb. 28 and March 7.
Saturday’s meeting will be held at Peres Elementary School, 719 Fifth St. in Richmond, and on March 7 at King Elementary, 4022 Florida Ave. in Richmond. Both meetings will begin at 9:30 a.m. and are open to the public.
The district held its first town hall earlier this week, where board members said that new financial realities will require them to make hard choices this year, according to the Contra Costa Times.
“Things are looking very, very austere,” said school board President Todd Groves, as reported in the Times, who attributed the downward budget projections to a loss of income from students switching to charter schools and the cost of Gov. Jerry Brown’s plan to bail out the State Teachers Retirement System, among other factors.
“We need to choose what we expand at the expense of other funding and hold on to what we have according to what is really working,” Groves said.
The district has an annual budget of about $304 million, including $217.6 million from the state and the rest from the federal government and grants.
Among the key staff-recommended cuts to come out of the meeting:
- A $70,000 cut to the budget for consultants and other contractors to boost the District’s sexual and gender harassment training policies and procedures for responding to complaints.
- A $630,000 savings by delaying the expansion of the transitional kindergarten program.
- The cancellation of a planned $200,000 increase for psychological services at school sites, a change the district is trying to offset by leveraging state Medi-Cal funding for the high percentage of students who have Medi-Cal coverage.