Screenshot of a meeting viewed remotely showing the members and student trustees of the West contra costa school board as well as a woman speaking at a lectern

With Break Approaching, WCCUSD Financial Woes Continue

Screenshot of a meeting viewed remotely showing the members and student trustees of the West contra costa school board as well as a woman speaking at a lectern

(Screenshot captured by Samantha Kennedy / The CC Pulse)

By Samantha Kennedy

With one week left of school until winter break, the West Contra Costa school board received recommendations Wednesday for non-salary cuts to reduce the district’s financial obligations.

The recommended cuts from the budget subcommittee would reduce the 2024-25 budget by approximately $4.3 million, which would help the board meet the requirements of the fiscal solvency plan.

Clerk Jamela Smith-Folds, who serves as chair of the subcommittee, said the goal was to first identify cuts that would impact students the least.

If the board chooses to approve and implement the cuts, 19 contracts would be eliminated from the 2024-25 budget and software licenses and materials and supplies, conference travel and other costs would be reduced.

Specifics, such as which contracts or licenses are expected to be cut, are not yet certain. But the plan is to cut tools and materials that are not seen as necessary for student learning. For example, one recommended reduction includes evaluating an online sports video hosting service used by athletic departments, HUDL, which would reduce costs by about $50,000.

The subcommittee identified various potential reductions in the budget at its meetings that were not included in the recommended cuts to the board. Potential reductions not chosen include revamping credit recovery or moving it all to summer school and completely eliminating print shop services.


In a Sept. 26 letter from the Contra Costa Office of Education, WCCUSD was classified as a “lack of going concern,” meaning the district, which was already considered at risk of fiscal insolvency, continued to carry that risk. The letter said many factors contributed to this risk, including the continued deficit spending and the “lack or failure” to implement the fiscal insolvency plan.

Board President Demetrio Gonzalez-Hoy said he was glad the board did not rush the process because it might have resulted in cuts that would further harm WCCUSD and students.

The board has previously not implemented cuts they said they would make to reduce the risk of insolvency. In March, staffing cuts were not made that would have saved the district $3.8 million. Those reductions were expected in the 2022-23 interim report, but the failure to implement those cuts changed the savings in their budget.

>>>Read: WCCUSD Faces Tough Calls to Maintain Financial Control

Trustee Mister Phillips said their financial situation did not have to be an emergency but was made so because of how boards have handled the financial situation over the years. Previous boards ignored the budget, he said, and some boards could not tell the community no.

Gonzalez-Hoy said that some financial decisions were out of their hands due to the lack of state and federal funding. Staffing shortages, especially for positions like paraprofessionals, leave the district to contract with outside companies at increased costs.

Talks to consider different cut scenarios will begin at the next meeting. Final decisions on cuts are expected to be formally adopted in March.

The next regularly scheduled meeting, where the board is expected to receive the first interim budget report and a preview of what full-time employee positions might be cut, is on Dec. 13.

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