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Schools, local governments brace for latest state budget cuts

Agencies across Sonoma County were scrambling Tuesday to determine the impact of the $1 billion in statewide cuts Gov. Jerry Brown announced as part of his latest bid to balance the state's budget.

The range of public services affected includes programs for the ailing and developmentally disabled, fees charged to the county for housing violent juvenile offenders and support for higher education.

An $80 million statewide reduction for K-12 education also could result in a shortened school calendar, Santa Rosa school officials said.

"These are deep cuts on top of the cuts we've already been making in the last couple of years," Efren Carrillo, chairman of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, said of local government programs.

The governor also proposed charging counties $125,000 a year to continue housing each of the juvenile offenders considered to be among the most violent. That would boost state revenues by about $72 million a year.

"That's going to have a huge impact on our probation system," said Supervisor Shirlee Zane.

A $30 million cut to the community college system threatens to increase Santa Rosa Junior College fees by an additional $10 a unit.

Sonoma State University expects to absorb a $2.3 million cut to its current school year budget as a result of a $100 million reduction for the California state university system.<NO1><NO> The reduction means SSU has been hit with a total of $11.5 million in cuts this year, said SSU President Ruben Armi?na.

<NO1><NO>Education officials noted that the $80 million reduction in K-12 was far less than the anticipated but warned that the potential for deep cuts remain for the 2012-13 school year.

"Our advice to districts is do not go back and reinstate (spending) because there are more cuts coming and anything you put in you will have to take out," said Sonoma County Superintendent of Schools Steve Herrington. "We already know that the January budget is going to come out with more budget cuts. I would tell them to stay the course and keep the cuts they have already made in their budget so it will put them in a better position this May."


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