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Woodland Hills Delays Vote on Budget

A vote on the final budget for the 2012-2013 school year is expected on Wednesday, June 20.

Shortly before midnight on Wednesday, Woodland Hills School Board members decided they weren't ready to vote on a final budget for next school year.

The decision came after a roughly four-hour meeting that included a vote to and another to continue 7th and 8th grade programs at the Woodland Hills Academy. The board expects to vote on a budget during a special meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 20.

As of Wednesday night, the budget stood at roughly $80.7 million. Unless the board raises taxes, it will go into next year with just $239,000 in its reserves.

The board last raised taxes during the 2009-2010 school year.

"We've made as many cuts as we reasonably can," said Subsitute Superintendent Alan Johnson.

Johnson suggested raising taxes by .56 mill, bringing that tax rate to 26.21 mills, or $2,621 for a person whose home is valued at $100,000. Doing so would put the district's reserve fund slightly over $1 million.

"It's been a difficult budgeting process," Johnson said. "I don't think this is where anybody wants to be."

While the budget has yet to be approved, . The College Now program, IN Woodland Hills magazine, and all had funding cut. Security funding is reduced by about $73,000, and transportation funding is down by $500,000. Several support staff positions have also been eliminated.

Besides considering further cuts, the board wanted to wait for a state budget to be approved. Changes resulting from Wednesday's votes need to be rigorously accounted for, too, said Colleen Filiak—especially considering the small amount in reserves.

"There is no place for a margin of error," Filiak said.

The board has a June 30 deadline to pass a budget.

JustMe June 14, 2012 at 03:01 PM
RAISE TAXES? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? ALL IN THE MIDST OF MY 78% INCREASE IN MY PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT? QUIT BLEEDING US WORKING FOLKS DRY, DO YOUR JOB, GET OUT YOUR SCISSORS, AND KEEP CUTTING -- WE'VE ALL HAD TO DO SOME BELT-TIGHTENING. KEEP TRIMMING THE FAT AND DON'T EXPECT US HARD-WORKING TAX PAYERS TO KEEP GIVING, GIVING, GIVING WHEN THERE'S NOTHING LEFT TO GIVE.
WaltC June 14, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Its been so long since taxes for WHSD were raised its like we have had a TAX CUT in terms of inflationary principles. Go ahead raise taxes. Education is important to our regions and a good education system keeps people in the area. The reassessment mess is the result of a dysfunctional county government, not the fault of the school district.
JC June 14, 2012 at 04:22 PM
The WHSD is shrinking in size and the money simply isn't going to be available given the mountain of pension obligations coming our way. It needs to close buildings and consolidate. A quality education isn't about facilities and sports programs. The tax base can't support these increases.
JC June 14, 2012 at 04:48 PM
As noted in the article: "The board last raised taxes during the 2009-2010 school year." WaltC: It's been " so long" since taxes for WHSD were raised??? Along with the very high assessment increases, a increase in mileage for the WHSD should be completely off the table. Just because my property value has increased--unjustly in my view--that doesn't mean I have the money to pay these outrageous school taxes. I am all for another way to fund schools instead of having property owners carrying this heavy cost, but in the meantime, tough budgetary decisions will need to be made. WHSD already has some of the highest mileage rates in the county-all while ranking at the low end in terms of performance. As I've said before, the district's population is shrinking and aging and there needs to be serious action to close buildings and consolidate.
JustMe June 14, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Of course education is important to the region. However, raising taxes doesn't guarantee scholastic achievement, especially in the WHSD. My neighbors are LEAVING the district because they're paying high taxes, not seeing educational results, and are more worried about their kids' safety than anything else.
WaltC June 14, 2012 at 04:54 PM
OK---so how do we fund education? Then again, I bet you don't care, because you don't have kids in the district NOW. The COUNTY reassessment should have happened long ago--we got a break.
JustMe June 14, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Like it or not, program cuts, staff cuts, purchasing cuts, etc. have to be made, and buildings need to be consolidated for starters, at least to hold the line. And you're right, I don't have kids in the district, not now, not ever. I did, however, graduate from EHS and believe me we survived (and thrived) on much, much less. Quit spending what you don't have.
WaltC June 14, 2012 at 05:56 PM
The world of education has changed. There are jobs available right now that require knowledge that people do not have. We need to invest now, so people can be employed. Take your pick: fund education or fund unemployment and social welfare programs.
Sue T June 15, 2012 at 04:20 PM
The enrollment in the school district has dropped from about 5300 in 2007 to 4050 today. That's a decrease of more than 20 percent in less than 5 years. WHSD also has some of the lowest testing scores in the state. Yet, they considered closing Edgewood Elementary, a school with some of the highest testing results in the district. And admitted that testing results weren't even considered when looking at schools to close. Students continue to move from the district or go to charter schools. Instead of the Board questioning why these students are leaving, and what improvements need to be made to retain students, they complain about the lose of money and want to get rid of charter schools. It seems to me that the Board isn't considering education much at all in this process.
Pat O'Neil June 20, 2012 at 02:33 PM
Looks like it's about time for me to start looking for a house in a new district. Can anyone convince me that this district will ever work as envisioned? Is anything (not including the sports teams) really better than it was 25 years ago?

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