After months of discussion, a parcel tax election and impassioned advocacy for a variety of positions and programs, the Cabrillo Unified School District board has approved $2.6 million of actionable cuts to stabilize its finances. 

The San Mateo County Office of Education conditionally approved CUSD’s budget with projections that indicated the district could face multi-million-dollar deficits in the years to come. To avoid a county takeover, the board had to approve a list of cuts at its meeting on Thursday, Dec. 12. 

The approved cuts will not be immediately implemented. There is the possibility more money will come from the state budget in January, and district officials said they are working with private community partners to fund some of the programs or positions. 

“This is the moment of truth,” Superintendent Sean McPhetridge said on Thursday. “This is when the board is asked to decide on the recommendation on actionable cuts that are required by the San Mateo County Office of Education.”

The bulk of the cuts come from the district's office and services. By not filling open positions such as the director of categorical programs or the district custodial supervisor, as well as reducing the number of psychologists and custodians and by implementing other efficiencies, the district expects to save $1.6 million annually. 

Cuts include eliminating Cunha Intermediate School after-school sports, reducing funding for high school sports, tightening staffing, and suspending the summer online credit recovery program. The savings are about $650,000. 

The Half Moon Bay High School Boosters Athletic Corp. plans to step up monetary contributions to offset the loss of district funding, and district staff is determining whether local groups could provide middle school sports programming. 

“To have our community partners step up and (say), ‘OK, what do you need? Let’s see how we can work this out,’” said board President Sophia Layne. “To me, I think this says what we all know about this community, which is we’re not going to let this stop us. This is just one thing that’s gotten thrown in our way.” 

Before the parcel tax election results were known, the district considered consolidation of Farallone View and El Granada elementary schools, as well as closure of Kings Mountain Elementary School.

Consolidation was taken off the table and instead of closing Kings Mountain school, the parent-teacher organization will pay for its third teacher. 

But the board did approve cutting fifth-grade music, eliminating kindergarten

enrichment and a science specialist position, with savings around $400,000 per year. 

“Every cut is important and it affects a family, an individual,” board member Lizet Cortes-Ronquillo said. “It’s not easy."

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