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Capo Unified Facing No Cuts for the First Time in Years

After years of slicing and dicing, the financially strapped district sees black ink ahead.

The Capistrano Unified School District is not facing cuts in the 2014-15 year, officials announced. Patch photo credit: Penny Arévalo
The Capistrano Unified School District is not facing cuts in the 2014-15 year, officials announced. Patch photo credit: Penny Arévalo

EDITOR'S NOTE: Originally published at 12:33 p.m. Jan. 23, 2014. Edited to add information.

For the first time in seven years, Capistrano Unified School District officials are not expecting a budgetary shortfall for the coming year.

“We don’t see anything get worse. We’ve turned a corner,” said Clark Hampton, deputy superintendent of business services for CUSD.

Since the 2007-08 school year, according to a previous press release, the school district has been slashing its budget, resulting in layoffs, temporary salary freezes, cuts to programs, larger class sizes and a shorter school year.

Altogether, the district has cut $140-150 million dollars, said spokesman Marcus Walton

But the ever-progressive belt-tightening may be over, Hampton told trustees Wednesday night.

Back in October, the district was estimating a $15 million gap for next year. By December, it had dropped to $12 million.

But that was using a conservative eye, Hampton said. Using state Department of Finance estimates, officials could have taken a rosier outlook and projected next year’s budget $500,000 in the black.

Now that Gov. Brown has released his state budget proposal for 2014-15, things are looking up, Hampton said. Way up.

“The governors’ January budget proposal would actually mean $11.5 million more,” he said.

Brown will revise the budget in May, and the Legislature will have until the end of June to approve it, making its own tweaks. Hampton said, however, the financial picture for schools is not expected to change dramatically for the worse at this time. 

Dan January 25, 2014 at 12:49 PM
This is horrible! I wish CUSD could get it together and start caring for our community's children in a consistent manner. All this back in forth is doing nothing but creating an unstable environment for our children. Has anyone stopped to think that all the cuts these last seven years have been good for the community and the children. Leaner and meaner… no pain no gain! Having to get by with less builds character and makes our children stronger for the real world. Speaking of the real world, this means that we'll have to find something else to blame on the teachers, like the drought. Sadly, without budget cuts some of those who like to pontificate here at patch are going to have find some other topic in which fake expertise and find unrelated and outdated statistics to prove that the sky is falling. I feel bad for them.
Dawn Urbanek January 27, 2014 at 08:47 AM
If you are referring to me Dan- let me give you a reality check. The rosey picture is that the District will not have to make any additional cuts. Thank God for that- I really don't think we could pile anymore children in a classroom to help balance the budget.
Dawn Urbanek January 27, 2014 at 08:51 AM
Now we have the job of finding enough money in our budget to restore class sizes to 24:1 (CUSD will get additional money from the State under LCFF if we can do that). We need an additional $1 Billion dollars to bring our buildings up to standards after seven years of deferred maintenance. We need several million dollars to restore our school year to 180 days, we need $130 million to restore all the programs that have been cut, and I have not mentioned that we need to find $52 million to pay our unfunded pension liabilities.

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