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Budget Cuts Back, New Foster City School on Elementary School District's Agenda

San Mateo-Foster City district board meets tonight at 7 p.m.

During its regular board meeting tonight, the San Mateo-Foster City School District is scheduled to decide on several key budget cuts expected to affect local elementary schools.

The board is also expected to discuss putting a bond measure on the November ballot to fund construction of a new elementary school in Foster City to help with overcrowding.

Due to these and other issues, school district spokesperson Joan Rosas said she expected a well-attended meeting tonight.

Foster City’s need for a new elementary school has been catalyzed by its increasing enrollment and a surge of young families moving into the area, as predicted in a district report. Board chair Mark Hudak said Foster City's current elementary school facilities are not prepared to withstand the upcoming enrollment surge.

Pollster Bryan Godbe, of Godbe Research, and found that 53 percent of the general population said they would be willing to support a bond measure. But the district may need a 55 percent approval to get the measure passed. After reading Godbe's findings, the board set an April deadline to move forward with the bond measure.

The SMFC budget cuts have been prompted by the state's ongoing fiscal crisis. California schools across the state had hoped to see tax extensions proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown passed to maintain education funding, but this week Brown announced that ballot measure negotiations had ended and there would likely be more cuts to education funding.

The district to as many as 30 full-time teachers in an effort to cope with its budget struggles. The job cuts, along with other budget reduction efforts, could save the district up to $8.5 million next year, according to a district report.

"The San Mateo-Foster City School District has absorbed over $21 million worth of staffing and program reductions over the past four years," said Superintendent Pendery Clark in a statement. "We will need to make additional cuts this year and will be required to plan for the worst-case scenario until we know for sure what happens with the June election."

The board will meet tonight at 7 p.m. at the in Foster City. See the attached PDF for the full board agenda for tonight's meeting.

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