Facing $20 million in spending cuts next school year, the Modesto City Schools budget advisory committee is starting the difficult task of picking apart the district's $250 million budget and suggesting trims to the board of education.
The group meets for the third time Tuesday. It's expected to start prioritizing some budget-cutting suggestions.
At its last meeting, committee members drafted a list of 70 items to trim or reduce and estimated how much that action could decrease spending. They also listed potential effects of the reductions.
For example, closing an elementary school could cost $350,000, but it's unclear how much it would cost to reopen, rent or sell the site.
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The list includes suggestions for fund-raisers, such as recycling programs, auctions and coin drives.
The committee is composed of about two dozen members, most of them administrators, such as district directors and school principals.
Elected Trustees Nancy Cline, Gary Lopez and Belinda Rolicheck also sit on the committee.
There is a sprinkling of representatives from the classified employees and teachers unions, and three at-large community members.
Missing from the committee are students and parents who do not work for the district.
"It's very administration heavy," said Megan Gowans, executive director of the Modesto Teachers Association. "If you're searching for members of the community to establish their input, you want to go beyond just your employee groups."
The advisory committee's budget-cutting recommendations will be forwarded in a few months to the district's top administrators and then to trustees, so this is a good time for the public to comment.
Trustees plan to hold meetings and public hearings — probably in February and March — to gather more ideas and suggestions from the community.
The budget advisory committee meeting meets from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in the district office, 426 Locust St. Meetings are open to the public.