HAYWARD — Incoming Hayward school board trustees joined their colleagues on Monday for a look at what it will take to drastically trim the budget for the next school year.

One thing was clear, they agreed: This round of cuts is going to hurt.

No decisions will be made until a series of workshop meetings, beginning Dec. 8, are held, trustees said. But options considered Monday included:

  • Closing the Faith Ringgold School of Art and Science.

  • Eliminating music programs at Bret Harte Middle School.

  • Changing high school schedules away from the "block" system.

    Also being considered are an unspecified number of staff reductions involving administrative positions, teachers, assistant principals, nurses and crossing guards.

    The board also received two alternatives regarding the magnitude of the cuts.

    The first option would reduce the budget by $17 million the first year, then by $9.5 million for the following two years. That model results in a $3.5 million shortfall in three years.

    The second option would require $12 million in semi-permanent cuts — money that wouldn't be replaced until the economic climate changes and additional funding comes in from the state. That model fares better in the long run, with a $945,000 deficit come 2011, district staff told the board.

    An oft-repeated refrain during the school board election was "keep cuts as far from the classroom as possible," and board member-elect Maribel Heredia requested that staff return with a budget-slashing model that would avoid chopping student services.


    However, Superintendent Dale Vigil said that with the severity of cuts that must be made, students will undoubtedly feel the effects.

    Specifics will be defined at future meetings, he said.

    "Our charge was to be as transparent as we can with what we intend to put before the board," he said. "We are hearing where your interests are."

    When making cuts, it is important to equate cutting programs with cutting staff.

    "You can't distinguish between the two," he said. "Programs are also people."

    Outgoing trustee Jeff Cook advised the board to use caution when cutting because some programs are required to qualify for state and federal funds.

    "You can get to a point where you are losing dollars for saving a few cents," he said. "You can cut something that will make us noncompliant in terms of a categorical grant fund — special education, or English language learners — and be penny wise and dollar foolish."

    Trustee Sarah Gonzales said that similarly, ending programs that attract students — such as the music program at Bret Harte, or the Faith Ringgold campus — could force some students to leave the district.