[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Santa Clarita CA
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 17
1837 - Trapper Peter LaBeck killed by grizzly bear at El Tejon [story]

[KHTS] – One might notice the grass is growing a little longer at Castaic Union school sites.

And next year, there will probably be fewer hands on deck to help around campus.

Castaic education officials know as well as anyone despite Proposition 30 taxing California residents a little bit more in order to fund schools, some smaller, less impoverished school districts actually are seeing less money.

When you add that to an inexplicable 300-student loss in 18 months, you have the makings of a full-on financial crisis for an otherwise fiscally sound district that just weathered a recent, devastating economic downturn relatively unscathed.

While the Castaic Union School District was able to avoid layoffs during the Great Recession — maintaining its point-of-pride 20-to-1 student-teacher ratio in the process — changes in the state’s funding formula, and more significantly, enrollment, have the 2,500-student K-8 district addressing a $4.1 million funding gap, said Superintendent Jim Gibson.

Michele McClowry, a Los Angeles County Office of Education fiscal adviser, is expected to give a report Tuesday, Feb. 3, on what the district is doing to address recent money woes, such as reducing its landscaping costs by $6,000 a month.

The district is holding three public three meetings in the coming months, in addition to an upcoming Feb. 11 wine-tasting fundraiser, to try to raise awareness about the issues.

“Everything helps and a lot of our people are coming to the forefront and saying, ‘How can we help?’” Gibson said, “and there’s the good side of that.”

But he’s also anticipating a lot of tough conversations.


Signs of distress

Gibson has known since before August there were going to be funding concerns, and there was likely little the district could do to prevent them, he said Friday.

The state’s much ballyhooed Local Control Funding Formula, which was meant to increase district disparities statewide in funding and programming, immediately cut about $700,000 from the CUSD budget, Gibson said.

Because the formula is meant to incentivize smaller classroom sizes, providing more money for schools with larger student-teacher ratios, the district immediately saw an out-of-pocket cut of about $480 per student for its roughly 2,500 students for no other reason than it already had small classrooms, Gibson said.

On top of that, there were far fewer pupils in the classrooms. While enrollment has been on the decline for the last 10 years, with the district losing an average of 110 students a year, a good chunk of that has come in the last 18 months, about 300, he added.

The loss of 300 students wasn’t to charter schools, private schools or even out of the county, Gibson said, but reflective of a statewide trend. California is losing residents to the tune of several hundred thousand a year, Gibson said, which he sees evidence of in the form of requests for student transcripts from Texas, Kentucky and beyond.

The loss to schools in the area, regardless of public or private, is negligible, Gibson said.


Working on a fiscal solution

In August, when it appeared as though the district’s budget would have a “negative certification,” a Los Angeles County Office of Education fiscal adviser was brought in to help with corrective measures and provide oversight, Gibson said.

The attempts being discussed are numerous and painful, he lamented, but necessary to keep the district viable.

The district announced the intended layoff of 23 classified employees — most of them part-time workers, such as janitors and classroom aides.

Those cuts, which are expected to be finalized in March, includes two custodians, four library tech aides, a reduction of hours for lunch-time duty and, in some cases, changing schedules, represented a significant savings.

However, more cuts were necessary.

There also been the discussion of a 10 percent districtwide salary reduction for staff, Gibson said, which has not yet been agreed upon by union representatives or the district’s governing board.

The plan was discussed in an open board meeting, but the first of several public meetings is planned for Tuesday, Feb. 3, when the negotiations with teacher representatives are expected to begin in earnest in closed session.

Most of the discussion at that meeting would be in closed session, Gibson said, however, the results will be discussed at the other meetings.


Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.


  1. So why are they building a high school? Their overall enrollment is down at the elementary and middle school.

  2. The high school is part of William S. Hart district, not Castaic. Castaic is a K-8 district.

  3. STOP COMMON CORE!!!!!!!

  4. We have been promised a high school for over 30 yrs in Castaic it’s about time I was told by a well know castaic realtor when my 10 month old was a baby in 87 he would graduate from a castaic high school well that didn’t happen

    • The public schools in SCV on the majority are awesome. Both my kids went all their schooling years in SAugus . They are both University graduates as so are many of their former classmates . Private schools hire non credential teachers . The problem is teaching isn’t like the past. Many new regulations that have to be followed. Bottom line Parents are children’s first teachers and many parents need to shut their trap and let teachers teach the way they are mandated by. YES I Agree there are many issues . But this is 2015. If your going to complain then homeschool your child. Because teachers are doing what their job description tells them.

  5. Katrina Weiner says:

    Your date of Monday, February 5th as the first meeting is incorrect. February 5th is a Thursday. Can you please let readers know the correct date of the meeting? Thank you.

  6. Cheryl Phillips says:

    Other district have made it through really tough times by preparing for what’s coming. Years ago Districts raised their teacher/student ratios and let go of teachers to make sure budgets didn’t have a negative certification. There were signs in the Castaic 2012-13 budgets. To continue “maintaining its point-of-pride 20-to-1 student-teacher ratio”
    was irresponsible, as was the Superintendent acting as the Director of Business Services. Per the December 9, 2014 Board Minutes, ” School Services of California informed Mr. Gibson that this position had to be filled, as the Superintendent cannot continue to operate in that capacity.” Enrollment had been on a steady decline, and was not isolated to just last August. No one to blame here but a lack of leadership and a Board that hasn’t been paying attention. We haven’t begun to see the cuts that will have to happen in this District.

  7. What ever happened to the master plan of all the homes, golf course etc. that were suppose to be built years ago up in north lake that our well known realtor and friends pushed several years ago. That would of brought in more tax dollars and businesses for the dying lake hughs end of town

  8. 10% pay cut for those who aren’t among the 20+ Teachers who will loose their jobs!

  9. Funny it says it was unscathed by the recent recession and avoided lay offs… um hello I got laid off!!!! I was deeply schathed… lol

  10. Higher ups should take pay cuts! Start lay offs at the D.O.

  11. Castaic is a great district filled with caring teachers and astute administrators. They cannot help that 300 kids moved out of the area with their families to pursue jobs during the economic recession.

  12. CR says:

    When was the last raise administration gave themselves? I heard it was 4% and not that long ago. Does anybody have the answer?
    Did the district really need to burden the taxpayers for 30 years with Measure QS if there aren’t enough pupils to fill the Taj Mahals?
    Seems like bad management from my POV.

  13. Ana Gigi Ana Gigi says:

    Location location location. Not fair for those who pay for location. Only to have those who don’t pay for location be diverted to our high schools…. Annoying!

    • Sarah says:

      Seriously I think some of you need to get off your high horse of where your kid goes to school. You aren’t any better than anyone else because you live some where different.
      Oh and Castaic kids aren’t wanted in your school? Who are you people. So shallow!

  14. Bill says:

    If district enrollment has been on the decline for the last 10 years, why weren’t layoffs done sooner? “A reduction of hours for lunch-time duty” is actually a layoff of one Noon Duty at each school site. Noon Duties provide student supervision before and after school, during morning recess and at lunch. One less means a higher ratio of students to Noon Duty. “Negotiations with teacher representatives,” the district also has to negotiate with the classified union who represents the support staff- Bus Drivers, Office Staff, Technical, Instructional Aides, Campus Supervisors/Noon Duties,and Custodial/Maintenance. These are the people that have already been given layoff notices.

Leave a Comment

Related Content
Monday, Oct 8, 2018
Tickets are now on sale for the Saugus High School Band and Color Guard's "Sounds of the Stadium" concert fundraiser at the school's gym on Thursday, Oct. 11 starting at 7 p.m.
Monday, Oct 8, 2018
Friday, Oct 5, 2018
The Saugus Union School District is proud to announce that students have continued increasing academically in both Language Arts and Math, as shown by results of the annual 2017-18 California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress.
Wednesday, Oct 3, 2018
The Newhall School District is celebrating another year of high-achieving test scores in multiple disciplines, as it gears up for an open house event to help inform parents about their choices in local education.
Tuesday, Oct 2, 2018
Scores for the 2018 online California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress tests in English Language Arts and mathematics increased further from the gains students made in 2017, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced Tuesday.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
A conservation group sued Los Angeles County on Tuesday seeking emails, text messages and other documents exchanged with the developer behind the 12,000-acre Centennial at Tejon Ranch planned community on the edge of the Mojave Desert.
LA County Sued for Records on Centennial Housing Project
1837 - Trapper Peter LaBeck killed by grizzly bear at El Tejon [story]
The Family Focus Resource Center at California State University, Northridge will host its annual Special Needs Resource Fair – a daylong celebration focused on connecting families with special needs children to resources that can help them thrive – on Sunday, Oct. 21.
Oct. 21: CSUN Hosting Special Needs Resource Fair
The city of Santa Clarita will be hosting earthquake drills at City facilities to help train the community how to properly drop, cover and hold on during an earthquake as part of The Great California ShakeOut at 10:18 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18.
City Encourages Residents to Participate in Great California ShakeOut
(CN) – Sears, once a powerhouse of American retail, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday and said it will close 142 stores amid mounting debt.
Sears Files for Bankruptcy
NORTHRIDGE - CSUN head softball coach Tairia Flowers has released the 2019 schedule, featuring 24-of-49 games that will take place at Matador Diamond.
Matadors Release 2019 Softball Schedule
The Fort Tejon Historical Association will be presenting the Death of Peter Lebeck and Candlelight Ghost Tours at Fort Tejon State Historic Park on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 4:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Oct. 20: Fort Tejon Candlelight Ghost Tours
If you like the excitement of finding treasures, then ARTober is the month for you.
Abandoned Art Project SCV to Begin Oct. 15
1853 - Sarah Gifford, community leader and wife of Newhall's first railroad station agent, born in England [story]
A free LifeForward workshop hosted by Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley is scheduled at Savia Community Center, 23780 Newhall Ave in Newhall on Saturday, Oct. 20, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Oct. 20: Life Coach Laura Cazares to Speak at Zonta Workshop
The Child & Family Center's 15th Annual Kid Expo will be held at Golden Valley High School on Sunday, Oct. 21, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Oct. 21: Kid Expo at GVHS to Benefit Child & Family Center
Los Angeles County had higher influenza activity in the 2017–18 season (Oct. 1, 2017–May 13, 2018) than the previous five influenza seasons, according to public health officials' Influenza Season Summary.
More County Influenza Deaths in 2017-18 Than in 5 Previous Seasons
CSUN students will explore the collective consciousness of men of color at CSUN’s biannual Men of Color Enquiry and Student Research Poster Session on Friday, Oct. 26, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 26: CSUN Looks to Inspire Men of Color with Research Session
The Master's men's soccer team's 1-0 win over the Warriors in Santa Barbara Saturday was a sweet one for The Master's University head coach Jim Rickard and his Mustangs.
TMU Men’s Soccer Team Edges Westmont Behind Garcia Sosa Goal
The Master's University's women's soccer team suffered a 2-0 loss to No. 11 Westmont on Saturday in Santa Barbara.
TMU Women’s Soccer Team Falls to Westmont on the Road
Despite The Master's University women's volleyball team's 3-0 loss in Santa Barbara, ending a 12-match winning streak, the No. 11 Mustangs remain in first place in GSAC standings.
TMU Women’s Volleyball Win Streak Snapped in Santa Barbara
Celebrate the harvest season with storytelling through dance and drums under the oak trees at Placerita Canyon in the Nature Center's outdoor amphitheater on Saturday, Nov. 3 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Nov. 3: Free Volta Drum Dance at Placerita Canyon Nature Center
The city of Santa Clarita has updated the list of productions shooting in the city and the Santa Clarita Valley for the week of Oct. 15-21, 2018.
Features, TV Shows, Spots Now Filming in SCV
Southern California Edison is monitoring weather conditions and has additional crews at the ready to respond to possible power outages and dangerous wildfire conditions due to Santa Ana winds and low humidity predicted through Tuesday night.
SCE Monitoring High Wind, May Kill Power to Avert Downed-Line Fires
A red flag warning issued due to gusty high winds and low humidity will remain in effect through 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
Red Flag Warning Flies in SCV Through Tuesday Night
Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station have arrested nearly 70 people in a series of crime suppression operations during October, according to station officials.
SCV Deputies Arrest Nearly 70 in Crime Suppression Operations
Ahead of Election Day Nov. 6, airwaves and mailboxes across California overflow with expensive campaign advertisements, among them ads urging yes or no votes on state ballot measures.
Century-Old California Direct-Democracy System Now ‘Pay-to-Play’
John Bulinski has been appointed the director of the California Department of Transportation's District 7, and will oversee the freeway system in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, Caltrans announced Monday.
John Bulinski Named Caltrans Director for LA, Ventura Counties
1939 - Second, larger OLPH Catholic Church dedicated on site of first (10th & Walnut, Newhall) [story]
Here is the Week 8 roundup of Santa Clarita Valley football scores.
Santa Clarita Valley Football Roundup
1980 - Phillies beat Royals in Game 1 of World Series; Hart grad Bob Walk is winning pitcher [story]
1876 - Town of Newhall founded at Bouquet Junction (moved 2 years later to present location) [story]
County Supervisor Kathryn Barger has introduced a motion to bring forward a public health-centered effort to address the emergence of diseases that have impacted the county, especially among the homeless population.
Barger Urges Effort to Curb Spread of Disease in County Homeless Population
CalArts student Hanna Kim (Film/Video BFA 19) won the gold medal for Animation (Domestic Film Schools) during the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 45th Student Academy Awards ceremony Thursday night.
CalArts’ Hanna Kim Wins Gold in 45th Student Academy Awards
Here's a look at how The Master's University's sports teams rank in the latest polls.
TMU Mustangs Sports: A Peek at the Polls
The Valley Industry Association will present a California State Assembly 38th District Candidate Forum at its monthly business luncheon at Valencia Country Club on Tuesday, Oct. 16, starting at 11:45 a.m.
Oct. 16: Assembly 38th District Candidates to Face Off at VIA Forum
Detectives from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station arrested a man in Oakland suspected of robbing a business in Castaic on Oct. 5, according to station authorities.
SCV Detectives Arrest Castaic Robbery Suspect in Oakland
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, Oct. 16, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Oct. 16: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Los Angeles County election officials are alerting residents about a misleading robocall now circulating that wrongly claims there is an error in one of the ballot titles for the Nov. 6 General Election.
Voter Alert: Beware of Robocalls Making False Statements
The California Highway Patrol has received a federal grant to develop the Get Educated and Ride Safe, or GEARS, program to promote motorcycle safety and awareness.
CHP Receives Grant to Boost Motorcycle Safety, Awareness
The city of Santa Clarita will present three music-related sessions at the 2018 Arts Symposium at The Centre on Saturday, Oct. 20.
Oct. 20: Art Symposium to Stage 3 Music Sessions