veritas exquirere

Talon

veritas exquirere

Talon

veritas exquirere

Talon

The impacts of state budget cuts at Oak Park High School

What do changes in funding mean for students, faculty and programs across OPUSD?

At the beginning of April, Governor Gavin Newsom announced an agreement to cut $17 billion from the state’s budget. With this news, the Oak Park Unified School District began to discuss possible budget cuts that the state of California has mandated for public school districts. 

Some OPHS students expressed concerns that programs or classes would be cut. 

“It’s always scary to hear about funding being cut at your own school,” junior track and field sprinter Ryleigh Koch said. “As an athlete, it worries me that my sport could be affected by a lack of money.” 

Although this was a concern to students, Adam Rauch, Assistant Superintendent at OPUSD, affirmed that no cuts will be made to school programs 

“No program cuts are expected that would impact students at OPUSD,” Rauch said. “Our focus remains on maintaining the essential educational programs and making budget adjustments that uphold our students’ educational experience.” 

While the state’s official budget cuts impact OPUSD’s specific cuts, the updated cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) also has a big impact on funding. 

“It significantly impacts our budget through the updated COLA, which affects the funding we receive based on student enrollment and attendance,” Rauch said. “Initially, we expected a COLA increase of 3.94% for the 2024-25 school year and 3.29% for 2025-26. These projections have now been adjusted to 0.76% and 2.73%, respectively, leading to less funding than anticipated—around $1.7 million less for 2024-25 and an additional $2.3 million for 2025-26 for the entire district.”

Although programs are safe from budget cuts, teachers on temporary and probationary contracts are at risk of termination. 

“Teachers that are on either their first year or second year before they have tenure may be let go, but in most instances, those teachers are going to be asked to come back,” said OPHS Union Representative Russell Peters. “For the most part, we did not lose teachers per say.”

As OPHS looks forward to the upcoming school years, its focus is on adjusting its finances.  

“There is no specific budget cut targeted at OPHS; however, the district’s target reduction in spending is $1.9 million next year,” Rauch said. “This district-wide budget tightening means that OPHS will need to be very thoughtful about its financial planning, ensuring that we prioritize essential costs and make efficient use of our funds.”

OPUSD continues to meet with administrators to create a plan that preserves students’ education and programs.  

“This involves reallocating certain costs to be covered by specific funding sources and making strategic spending reductions in other areas,” Rauch said. 

As OPUSD faces these cuts, Rauch ensures that students’ education will remain at the forefront. 

“Across the district, we are committed to maintaining a high standard of education and support for our students,” Rauch said. “We are adapting our budget to meet these financial challenges without compromising our educational mission.”

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Ava Harris
Ava Harris, Editor-in-Chief
Ava Harris is currently serving as the 2022-2023 features editor for the Talon newspaper. She joined the Talon in the 2019-2020 school year as a Senior Staff Writer. She is now in her third year of Journalism, one of the Talon's longest working editors.
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