The Dublin school board Thursday is scheduled to discuss making more than $2 million in budget cuts for next year, including closing Nielsen Elementary.

The school board voted in 2006 to close that school but postponed acting on it after strong opposition surfaced.

A list of the proposed budget cuts was to be placed on the district's Web site -- http://www.dublin.k12.ca.us -- on Tuesday under the announcement for the meeting.

The district has a $48.5 million budget for this school year. It is expecting a $2.4 million to $2.8 million deficit for next year. A combination of less state money and increasing operational costs is to blame, board President Denis King said.

The proposed cuts were ranked in six groups, with the district recommending all but one grouping of them to be approved, Superintendent Stephen Hanke said. King said that would be the priority list to go by depending on how the state budget ends up. The last cuts to be made, those in "Group F," include drama, art, middle school music, varsity sports and the district's cost in the state's "class size reduction" program.

The other groups, for the most part, are about $600,000 each, and add up to $2.84 million. Group A includes energy management, maintenance, supplies and transferring a number of other expenses to other accounts. Group B also includes a number of items not directly related to the classroom, such as clerical money, conferences and software contracts.


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However, it also includes closing a school, expected to save $375,000 a year.

King said the board is months away from a final decision to close Nielsen Elementary but approving the school closure Thursday would have the district start looking at legal, environmental, relocation, traffic and other issues related to closing that school.

"At this point, the school most logical to close is Nielsen," King said.

That issue is sure to bring opponents. In April 2006 the board agreed to consolidate Nielsen Elementary into a new school at the current Dublin Elementary site, opening in fall 2009. That came after a recommendation from the district that small schools were inefficient and that the cost for a new school was comparable to improving two existing ones. The decision drew opposition from some in the community and the district postponed the decision, with a new examination of the issue planned and the board deciding in 2010.

Linda Knapp, who opposes the consolidation, said she understands consolidation is needed, but doesn't favor this specific one. Knapp said Dublin Elementary's proximity to Interstate 680 puts it in danger in case of an accident. She also said there were flaws in an air study that cleared the site for a new school

"We felt it's a very hasty decision," Knapp said of the possible closure.

King said though the district planned a new examination of the issue, the current state budget situation makes the closure needed now.

Meanwhile, Group C includes items like reducing instructional assistants and elementary band and custodial staff. Group D includes reducing elementary band, elementary and middle school library services and teachers on special assignment. Group E includes reducing more elementary and middle school library services, reducing middle school counseling and extra middle or high school sections.

"It's a little out of most things," King said.

Hanke said all programs were looked at equally. "Everything was put on the table."

Eric Louie covers education. Reach him at elouie@bayareanewsgroup.com or 925-847-2123.

Dublin school board

The meeting Thursday begins at 6 p.m. inside the library at Dublin High, 8151 Village Parkway. For more information, see http://www.dublin.k12.ca.us