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Budget Triggers Impact Escalon
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It wasn't the worst news, but it certainly wasn't a welcome holiday gift, either.

Escalon Unified School District, like schools throughout the state, learned their fate financially on Dec. 13 when a new round of funding cuts was announced by the governor.

"For the Escalon Unified School District, the mid-year cuts appear to amount to approximately $400,000," said Escalon Unified School District Superintendent Ron Costa.

The loss of money could not be budgeted for, he added, and adjustments will have to be made mid-year to individual school site budgets, with losses in the classroom anticipated. The cuts weren't as deep as the highest possible projected, which was estimated at about $980,000. But, said officials, they are still problematic.

Based on the information from the governor, money for transportation and funds allocated to schools based on student numbers will be cut. Originally, about half the transportation money for schools was on the chopping block.

"Our current state of education is like a rubber band that has been stretched as far as it can be stretched," Costa wrote in an opinion piece included in this week's issue of The Times, page A6.

Costa noted that even with all the cuts they are dealing with, students, staff and support personnel have continued to excel and the community has also been supportive. Strides have been made in the state's test scores and some schools have achieved the state 800 target for the API, with all working toward that goal, Costa said.

He added that continued cooperation is the only way the district is likely to get through the tough times ahead.

"Our future depends on the education of our young," he noted. "Escalon students have shown that with the support of Escalon Unified staff, parents, and community, they can excel both in and out of the classroom."