In their search for a successor to school Superintendent John Casey, who will retire next June, members of the Pleasanton school board have vowed to keep the process open and to involve as many members of the public as possible, including parents, teachers, students and those interested in school district affairs. This is good because the board and the superintendent eventually hired will need all of the public's buy-in they can get. The district started the current fiscal year on July 1 with a shortfall of roughly $8 million in the $120.4-million budget approved for the year and so far has borrowed from reserve funds three times to cover mostly unforseen expenditures. In the 2010-11 fiscal year, when the new superintendent will take charge, the budget shortfall could be considerably worse if state aid to education continues to fall below expectations and needs, with estimates of the shortfall next July 1 ranging from $3 million to $4 million and dwindling reserves unable to cover unanticipated expenses. Also, with the four-year board terms of trustees Pat Kernan and Jim Ott expiring, an election will be held next November to replace or to re-elect them, if they choose to run again. That makes it unlikely that the district will also try again on a parcel tax in such a tumultuous year, having lost that bid last June.
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