In its third public deliberation of next year's budget, the school board Monday reviewed a prioritized list of nearly three dozen possible cost-cutting measures.
Those that trustees most likely will approve between now and June 25 when they adopt the district's 2008-09 spending plan represent an estimated $1.69 million to $1.93 million in savings -- targeting more expenses than what the district absolutely must eliminate gives the board some leeway as it decides which services stay and which go, said Superintendent Dan Smith.
Topping the list of suggested cuts is reassigning the duties of the director of Student Welfare and Attendance when the individual who currently holds that title retires, representing a savings of about $100,000 in salary and benefits.
But that's by no means the only way of shrinking the payroll.
The equivalent of eight to 10 full-time custodians, clerical staff and other employees who don't have a teaching credential might receive walking papers. So could three counselors and a psychologist.
The district also is considering eliminating elective courses with fewer than 20 students enrolled and axing "0 period," the first time slot of each school day that some students use to squeeze in an elective class such as band or leadership, said Business Manager Rick Miller.
Those whose paychecks don't disappear altogether might have to get by with less: Trustees are considering reducing the number of hours for which teachers receive extra money when they attend conferences outside regular school hours.
In addition, the district could save about $160,000 by eliminating two of the three days it sets aside each year for teachers who want to attend training seminars; those who opt for this chance at professional development are paid for their time.
Educators who come to the district with previous classroom experience might not have every year of that service counted on the district's salary schedule.
And, if the union agrees, more teachers could choose to teach during their prep period, thereby sparing the district from the even costlier proposition of hiring additional instructors to teach needed class sections.
Much of Monday's discussion focused on the proposal to eliminate stipends for some assistant coaches in eight sports as well as for teachers who oversee campus clubs and regional academic competitions.
A couple of board members acknowledged that whereas doing away with a coach in each sport at Liberty Union's three high schools wouldn't cripple after-school athletics, withholding monetary incentives for the comparatively much smaller number of instructors supervising clubs would cause those groups to fold.
And if campus chapters of the California Scholarship Federation and National Honor Society disappear, "we'd be doing our seniors a serious disservice," said Freedom High School Principal Eric Volta, noting that participating in these organizations can give teens an edge when applying for college.
Other budget items in the district's cross-hairs include its administrative departments, which could see their budgets shrink by 15 percent.
Two-thirds of the administrators who now receive cell phones might have to do without, said Miller before the meeting, and those who travel on district business might not be able to claim as much mileage as before.
Liberty Union also is considering bumping up the price of riding a school bus by 20 percent, which could generate $58,000 more annually.
Charging community groups more for using district buildings could drum up an additional $30,000. Eliminating help wanted ads in the local newspaper is option, Miller said, as is reducing the number of times the district mails letters to students' homes.
Reach Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.