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Paso Unified talks budget cuts 

Without touching teachers or classroom programs, Paso Robles Unified School District is on schedule to shave off $2.1 million from its budget this year.

At the Feb. 26 district meeting, the board adopted a list of 17 expenditure reductions that include an early retirement incentive (for 30 teachers and nine classified staff members); eliminating tech software, an outside mentor contract, a district athletic director, and a director of schools; a reduction of days for one mental health therapist; and pausing the Paso Robles High School Aquatics Complex project.

click to enlarge CHIPPING AWAY The first round of cuts for Paso Robles Joint Unified School District largely avoid impacting the classroom. - FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • CHIPPING AWAY The first round of cuts for Paso Robles Joint Unified School District largely avoid impacting the classroom.

The list was first presented to the district on Feb. 12 and originally called for cutting an elementary school music teacher. That position was reinstated.

The district is trying to make $3 million in budget cuts over the next two years. The first $2 million to go must be made for the 2019-20 academic school year and $800,000 more will come out of the 2020-21 school year.

Jennifer Gaviola, deputy superintendent, said that while there are some position reductions, the duties of some positions aren't entirely eliminated.

"[The reductions] do mean that there are a lot of people who will have to wear a lot of hats, but it's the right work to do for the kids," she said.

Jim Lynett, executive director of the Paso Robles Public Educators—the district's teachers union—told New Times that he thinks teachers are relieved that the first round of cuts are over and don't really affect the classroom.

"There is trepidation about the next round of cuts of $800,000 for the 2020-21 school year, and we will be following that process very closely," Lynett said. Δ

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