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Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Smart Voter

Balancing the Budget

By Daniel A. Cadena, Jr.

Candidate for Board Member; Santa Maria Joint Union High School District

This information is provided by the candidate
After a massive state budget cut, the board must now decide how to continue increasing test scores, completing the construction of a new school, and still pay the bills.
Earlier this year, the school district was forced to cut over $1 million dollars from its' budget. This, even though the new high school, Pioneer Valley High, is still not complete. Yet, we still expect to continue raising the goals of our Academic Proficiency Indicator (API) scores, with a larger amount of students.

Even though the district knew that a shortfall was inevitable, the board took an honorable step and did not eliminate any of its' employees. The district did not replace many retiring personnel with new personnel. This helped offset the shortfall. The board took this step, even though many local school districts released many of its' teaching staff and cut back many programs.

The district is seeing a large number of students arriving to this district, which could not be accounted for, in the feeder districts. This means the district will have a larger student body, which equals a larger amount of funding, in the long term. Yet we have a new high school to deal with.

Before a single plank of wood was laid down for Pioneer Valley High, the district found 1,000 students who required service, in the Scupltures area. At the official opening of the new school there were 1,400 registered students, destined for Pioneer Valley. And that's with only two grade levels!

The money for the new school did not include teacher salaries, books, classroom furniture, etc. And Pioneer is nearing completion.

As board members, we must be fiscally responsible, and provide our students and staff with the equipment and support necessary, and still rise to meet the state academic requirements.

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