By Emily West
The Pleasanton Unified School District is hoping to start the year with out-of-the-box thinking as they solicit ideas from the community at a special board meeting Tuesday at the Amador Valley High School's library.
Around 7 p.m., staff will provide an update to the state budget, which would give a clearer picture of the 2009-10 budget and beyond. Past reports have estimated a state deficit of $20 billion, which would likely mean more cuts for Pleasanton schools in the current and upcoming year.
Board and community members alike have suggested that creative ideas for finding alternative revenue sources would take away the dependence on state funding as well as maintain services for quality education. Last school year, the community identified class-size reduction (in grades K-3 and ninth grade math and English), counselors, reading specialists and music programs.
Last year, the board cut nearly $17 million to maintain a balanced budget. Possible program-saving solutions included a $233-per parcel tax, which voters didn't approve by the necessary two-thirds majority in June. A follow-up summer fundraising effort garnered around $460,000 and saved some of the prioritized programs for the current school year only.
Depending on the success of Tuesday's meeting, the board had said they would consider making these town hall forums a regular monthly or even bi-monthly feature.
Also on Tuesday's agenda, following the start of the board meeting at 6:30 p.m., is the action to possibly approve California's Race to the Top participating local educational agency memorandum of understanding. The school is located at 1155 Santa Rita Road.