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San Rafael Schools to Cut Transportation Funding

Home-to-school and special education transportation funding will be cut for both the elementary and the high school districts.

Local elementary and high schools could be facing eliminating their home-to-school and special education transportation programs.

At their Monday night meeting, the reviewed options for the 2012-2013 budget that will be approved in the summer. Under Gov. Jerry Brown's budget, there would be a cut of home-to-school and special education transportation funding, which will save the districts approximately $690,000, according to Chief Business Official Christine Thomas.

“So much is uncertain, it is almost impossible to know the true impact,” she said.

With only two high schools in the district, most funds for transportation go to the elementary schools. Home-to-school transportation rings in at $216,000 and special education at $335,000. The high schools only have special education transportation, which costs $140,000.

"The disproportionate effects on the districts is a huge problem," Thomas said.

The current budget forecast assumes that Gov. Jerry Brown’s $6.9 billion tax initiative passes on the November ballot. If voters do not approve the taxes, $5.4 billion will be slashed, with $2.4 billion cut from education.

If the taxes fail, San Rafael City Schools could be cutting as much as $2.9 million total from the elementary and high school districts.

The districts’ transportation funding will be cut regardless of the passing or failing of the Brown’s taxes.

In addition to the cuts, local schools face the elimination of $224 million in statewide funding for transitional kindergarten programs. These programs would place children under 5 years of age in classes meant to ease their issues around graduating to a higher grade.

Brown’s cuts could also could also mean shortening the school year by three weeks.

“How do we educate our kids is now an economic decision and not a best practices decision,” Superintendent Michael Watenpaugh said, “which is not great for the students.”

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