The Pleasanton school board voted Friday evening to undo $2.4 million of the cuts it made earlier this year after better-than-expected budget numbers from Gov. Jerry Brown's May budget revision.
"However, the funding numbers that came out with the May Revise have given us some assurances that we can continue to plan in a fiscally conservative manner while recommending the restoration of some reductions that were approved by the Board on February 22," the school district statement states.
With its new money, the administration voted to maintain the 25 to 1 student-teacher ratio in grades K-3, at a cost of $1.3 million, and restore physical education sections at elementary schools for $400,000. Part-time reading specialists also will be reinstated at nine elementary schools for a total cost of $400,000.
"We are absolutely thrilled that we are able to rescind some of these reductions," said board member Joan Laursen.
More than 40 people attended the meeting to thank the board for restoring programs and advocate for the additional sections at high schools. At $17,000 each, residents were quick to point out that three additional sections per school is the least pricey item on the board's list.
"I really do want to have seven periods because…I want to continue to take sciences," said student Zane Manna, who added that he couldn't take biology because there are only six periods a day. "I want to actively challenge myself because it's getting tougher and tougher to get into the top colleges."
In a 3-2 vote, the board passed a resolution to allocate $50,000 to Foothill and Amador Valley high schools for an additional three sections during the 2011-12 school year. Board member Jeff Bowser voted against the resolution and advocated for fiscal prudence.
"We cut almost $20 million over the past several years and having a seventh period is a luxury, a luxury we can't afford," he said.
While the board also allocated $50,000 to elementary schools for remedial programs and $200,000 for counseling services, Bowser encouraged attendees to continue fundraising and fighting.
"It's not over yet, we're going to be back in the same situation next year," he said.
Despite Bowser's warning, many in attendance seemed relieved by the vote.
"I like everything that they've done and I'm delighted that they took time to hear suggestions. Every step is an improvement," said Amador Friends of Music President Marilyn Palowitch.
Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi said the district hopes to restore all programs in a few years.
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