ILWACO, Wash - Ocean Beach School District leaders meet Monday to decide where to cut if the second attempt at an operations levy fails next month.

A principal, athletic director and four teaching positions could be cut. So, too, could activities like sports, band, vocational activities and clubs. School Board Chairman Ed Guelfi said the board will have to cut about $1.4 million from next year's budget, rather then $2 million as originally thought. This is because levy dollars are paid during the calendar year, whereas the school year runs from summer to summer.

"The school year goes from September to June, the levy dollars go from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31," said Guelfi. "So when we start school in September of '05, we will actually still have money until Dec. 31."

That means when school starts next fall the district would only have about $600,000 in levy dollars to work with. The current M&O levy, which helps with nearly a quarter of the annual operating costs for the district, was voted in three years ago.

Possible cutsAfter weeks of study, the district's budget committee has come up with a list of possible cuts to next year's budget, should the all-mail levy fail again in April. It had more people supporting it than voting against in February, but failed to reach the required 60 percent "super-majority" by about 100 votes.

If the levy fails again, the district can't run another until January 2006. If that vote is successful, the district would be without those dollars until the 2006-07 school year.

"If it double-fails, then we're going to have catastrophic problems," said Guelfi. "Even if we were to pass it in January, we won't get that money until the next year."

At the 7 p.m. meeting Monday, at Ilwaco High School library, the school board will vote on a recommendation from the budget committee, outlining the cuts that would have to be made.

The biggest proposed cut comes from the extra/co-curricular budget, which would lose its entire funding, $300,000. That budget covers activities like sports, music, band, vocational activities and clubs.

Another notable cut of $240,000 comes from certificated and administrative salaries, which is budgeted at $420,000. Guelfi said this would be equivalent to the loss of a principal and, because there would be no sports or extracurricular activities, the district would no longer need an athletic director at the high school. It also equals out to the loss of about four teachers as well.

Seeing one of the largest cuts would be classified employees, which include para-educators, office staff, special education and Title I services. Of the $350,000 budgeted for this year, the district would have to cut $250,000. The cuts to the certificated and classified staff lead to a savings of $100,000 from money saved from employees' insurance.

By not purchasing some new instructional materials, the district can save $150,000 of the budgeted $349,000. That includes any new textbooks, library materials, and technology.

Lastly, the district would also be cutting $100,000 from the budget of $275,000 for maintenance.

"I mean, that's all our maintenance. That pays our janitors' salaries, and we still gotta clean the toilets and stuff," said Guelfi.

He said that despite the fact that they will be opening both new elementary schools before the year is out, there really is no savings to be had with new buildings.

"We've actually found that for the first year of a new building, there'd be a little bit more maintenance. Mainly because there's different equipment that we need," said Guelfi, giving the example of the flooring, which requires new gear to clean and shine it."

Guelfi reiterated that he'd like to see some people from the community come out to the meeting Monday, in which they will be discussing the cuts.

"I think people should come to the meeting so they understand what's going on, and they understand what the school board is facing," he said. "You can't sit back. People just don't believe that we're going to make the cuts. It's devastating. School would not look that same by any stretch of the imagination."

Guelfi believes that will motivate people to get out the vote.

"I'm very impressed with the number of people who have come out of the woodwork to help this second levy attempt."

But Guelfi said that he is approaching this coming levy vote differently.

"I am more cautious, but I still believe in this community and how it feels about its schools," he said. "I mean, we passed the bond, that's huge. That shows that the community is behind schools. This is a glitch. We came within 100 votes. We got really close, but obviously not close enough."

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