Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Konocti Unified to host Wednesday meeting on district budget proposals

LOWER LAKE – On Wednesday night, the Konocti Unified School District will hold another public hearing on a series of proposals that include closing some district schools and realigning the grades of others in preparation for a looming budget cut.

The meeting will begin at 6:15 p.m. at the Lower Lake High School gym, 9430 A Lake St. in Lower Lake.

At a meeting last month, the KUSD Board of Trustees hosted presentations by two committees formed late last year – one that looked at improving district revenues and the other that explored consolidating services and cutting costs.

The services consolidation committee made four recommendations that variously proposed closing Oak Hill Middle School and East Lake Elementary, and changing many of the other elementary and middle schools to serve kindergarten through eighth grade, as Lake County News has reported.

Konocti school board members made clear they didn't take any of the suggestions lightly.

President Mary Silva, Clerk Anita Gordon and board members Carolynn Jarrett, Herb Gura and Hank Montgomery also emphasized to community members that they didn't pretend to know the answers to how Konocti Unified would cut its budget in the coming fiscal year.

Over the last few weeks, KUSD officials have been holding public meetings throughout the district to find out the priorities of parents, students and the community at large.

“The biggest thing we've found is that people really love their schools and that they would prefer that nothing be done,” District Superintendent Bill MacDougall told Lake County News on Tuesday.

However, doing nothing isn't an option, said MacDougall. “We need to prepare for next year.”

While the district isn't expecting a big cut for the rest of this budget year, they're facing a staggering $1.2 million cut in the 2009-10 budget, MacDougall said.

At Wednesday's meeting, the board will offer the community another chance to give input in what is expected to be a much bigger meeting, said MacDougall. As a result, the meeting will move from the normal venue of the district office to the high school gym.

During the meeting, MacDougall said the district also will be formally giving out pink slips to teachers. Districts must give the notices by March 15.

In all, the district will give the layoff notices to 52 teachers, said MacDougall.

MacDougall said he expects that the vast majority of those teachers will be rehired once the board makes it budget decisions for the coming year. Once a decision is made regarding school consolidation, they can rescind some of those notices.

They want to be able to rescind those notices to teachers as soon as possible, said MacDougall. “We understand that it is disruptive to their lives.”

One decision that would be fairly easy to make at this point is we want to continue with class size reduction in the K-3 grades, he said.

The district recently received information that the state will fund class size reduction for this year and the next in the recently adopted state budget.

“It's a priority of our board so that is something I think they will choose to approve,” he said.

That school size funding will allow the district to keep 15 teachers they might otherwise lose, according to MacDougall.

The board is expected to discuss the budget situation again at a March 11 meeting. MacDougall said it's ultimately up to the board when a final budget decision will be made.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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