Compared to recent years, LVUSD is facing revenue cuts of 16% due to California’s fiscal crisis. To put this in perspective, approximately 85% of the school district’s budget (about $90 million total) goes to labor costs including wages, benefits and taxes. With that in mind, the school district has been looking at whatever cuts it can possibly make to avoid layoffs, and wage cuts.
With reserve levels now below the minimum required by the County, the District must present a plan to cut millions of dollars from the budget, voted on by the Board of Education, to the County of Los Angeles to avoid compliance issues that could lead to the County deciding the cuts themselves.
One of the many cuts being looked at was the closure of the pools at the high schools — Agoura High School and Calabasas High School. AHS’s pool is the home to the school’s successful Water Polo team. Both schools have a number of Aquatics programs.
Over the past days, the community came together to voice support for the pools, and explore ideas. Their web site is at http://www.keepthepools.com
On the surface, closing the pools, even temporarily look like a way to save money. With deeper investigation, the net savings is relatively small, and it could even cost the district money if it were to lose more than a handful of students to other schools.
In the end, after deliberation of a variety of issues, the subcommittee appears to have decided to take the pools off the cut list.
This afternoon, the Finance subcommittee of the LVUSD Board of Education met to discuss the many proposed budget cuts, including the pools. The subcommittee makes a recommendation to the Board which meets next week.
The pool does draw offsetting revenue from sources like the Triunfo YMCA. This, among other sources, mitigates the cost. Furthermore, if the District were to lose students (such as those most interested in the very competitive Water Polo program) to other Districts, that could easily cost the District more revenue than it would save. And, supporters of the Aquatics program having been talking about having the students pay a $100 participation fee to also raise cash.
Other comments included that if the pools are closed for just a planned year, they would be difficult to reopen as the economy returns (seals would dry out, equipment may no longer run, etc…) in addition to lost momentum.
Obviously, there will be other significant, and unavoidable cuts in a variety of areas that the subcommittee and Board will be discussing as the December 8th deadline approaches.