Board Debates 1.8M in a $319M Budget

Lee Sensenbrenner picks up much detail (great work!):

Later in the night, when the board was going back and forth over whether it might keep kindergarten art, music and computer class sizes from doubling next year – a move that would have saved around $270,000 – Robarts said she was struggling to understand how that discussion was taking place when the district next year will pay $21 million for health insurance.
“Excuse me, that’s not germane,” board member Bill Keys said. Earlier Monday, the board had been meeting in closed session about the teachers’ contract currently under negotiation. No financial terms have been disclosed.
“OK, that’s it. I’ll shut up,” Robarts said. “It just seems very backward.”

Although board members were able to save several programs, particularly those that had become visible and controversial lately, several of them complained about the limited role they end up playing as the budget is determined.
Shwaw Vang, for example, proposed a $30,000 cut in the travel, conference and advertising fund as budget amendments were being prepared this month and requested that the administration find a way to do that. What he got back was a plan that said his proposed reduction would have to come out of the travel fund for the district’s coordinator for minority recruitment. It would also drain the advertising account that’s dedicated to drawing a diverse work force.
Vang said that was not what he had in mind, and other board members quickly said they felt the same frustrations.
Ruth Robarts, who unsuccessfully proposed several general cuts of varying amounts to the business services department, was told they would come by eliminating custodians and deferring maintenance.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I just don’t find that very credible.”