Parents pack meeting
The Cabrillo Unified School District meet before a packed house on Thursday night. Ashlyn Rollins-Koons

Cabrillo Unified School District’s budget cut list continues to be revised. Notably, it now offers new alternatives for Kings Mountain Elementary School and busing options for students who live in Moonridge.

The revised list takes assistant principal positions, counseling jobs and Kings Mountain Elementary School off the chopping block, reducing the cut list to $2.9 million.

Amid concern about the possibility of closing Kings Mountain Elementary School, Superintendent Sean McPhetridge suggested a middle ground. It would require the school to staff at the same ratio as other schools, which is 24 students to every teacher. That could mean having two three-grade classes, and having the Kings Mountain Associated Parents organization pay for another teacher or a classroom aide, or some other configuration.

“The idea would be that the district together with the Kings Mountain community work out what arrangement is at the school,” said Sophia Layne, Cabrillo Unified School District board president.

At the Dec. 12 meeting, when the board decides how to cut about $2.5 million to achieve fiscal solvency and avoid a takeover, closure of Kings Mountain Elementary School will be off the list.

“The PTO, families, and community are grateful for the compromise presented by superintendent McPhetridge that will keep the school open while also helping to reduce the district expenses,” read the parent-teacher organization’s prepared statement. “We are thankful for the support from the greater community, we respect the extremely difficult position our district is in and we want to work together with the board and all of CUSD to navigate through these difficult times.”

Another new proposal is to eliminate the bus that goes from Moonridge to Farallone View Elementary School. After a budget presentation last week at Moonridge, McPhetridge said many families said they would rather their kids go to Hatch Elementary School.

In a survey, 89 percent of families at that meeting, which was a little less than half of the Moonridge families enrolled at Farallone View, indicated they would rather go to a different school.

McPhetridge said there was a “taken for granted assumption” that families had to send their children to Farallone View because a bus was provided even though the district has an open enrollment policy. If students want to stay at Farallone, he pointed out there is a SamTrans bus they could take.

“(It’s) good for people, good for the planet and good for prosperity,” McPhetridge said.

He described this as the district’s triple bottom line. Families want it and kids won’t have to spend as much time on the bus, it’s environmentally friendly as it takes a bus off the road and it saves the district money, he explained.

Although the board will approve a resolution on which cuts to make at its next meeting, McPhetridge said the process doesn’t end there.

“Prepare for the whiplash if you get shocked because the state budget gets better or if we find alternative funding,” he said.

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