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Saddleback Valley Unified Eyes $221-Million Budget

Plan would cut spending by $3.1 million vs. last year, in part by raising class sizes.

A $221-million budget that boosts class sizes to reduce spending comes before the Saddleback Valley Unified School District's board of trustees Tuesday.

Grades 4 through 12 would see the number of students per class rise from 32.5 to 34.5 under an agreement negotiated with employees last year to help the district grapple with its tough financial situation.

Among other things, the district is being squeezed by state budget cuts expected to reduce income by $1,283 per student, and the expiration of a federal stimulus program that gave the district $10 million last year.

The district also faces declining enrollment, with 643 fewer students expected next fall. Because districts receive state funding on a per-pupil basis, that also crimps the budget.

By the 2013-14 school year, Saddleback Unified estimates its total enrollment will shrink from the current 31,622 to 29,890, a loss of nearly 1,800 students.

Under the proposed 2011-12 budget, the district would spend $3.1 million less than it spent in the previous fiscal year.

The school board will hold a public hearing at its Tuesday meeting to allow public comment about the proposed budget. The meeting will be held at 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Education Center boardroom at . The meeting’s full agenda can be found here.

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