The school board's decision Thursday night may be the beginning of district educators' attempts to reverse budget cuts that took place after the past recession and weak recovery that followed. District officials cut nearly $20 million in spending last year alone.
"We are cautiously optimistic, and I say cautiously, because we are constantly changing (during) these past years. It seemed from month to month, or even week to week, our financial status changed," school board president Sylvia Orozco said Friday.
In advance of the meeting, school board member Irene Hernandez-Blair said the passage of Proposition 30 in November helped the district to shore up its finances. The voter-approved measure raised sales taxes for all Californians and income taxes for the state's upper income earners.
Chino Valley Unified now has an estimated $15 million surplus and a projected $24 million surplus for the 2014-15 school year.
Orozco, however, said she and other district officials are wary of quickly reversing all of the past years' budget cuts.
On Thursday, the board was unanimous in approving most of Superintendent Wayne Joseph's spending recommendations.
The board's decision continues funding for 15 school nurses, 23 high school counselors and 20 elementary school assistant principals, among other budget items, during the 2013-14 school year.
District spokeswoman Julie Gobin said those positions were previously not included in budget plans for the next school year.
The board was divided on a 3-2 vote, however, when it came to increasing the work year for assistant principals' secretaries, Gobin said.
The board's majority voted to increase those secretaries' work year from 175 days to 190 days. Board members James Na and Andrew Cruz wanted additional paid days, Gobin said.
Chino Valley Unified board members also rejected the superintendent's recommendation to restore 5 percent of their stipends for the next six months.
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