All of the schools in the Eastern Sierra have prepared to take state budget hits. Bishop schools expect the greatest losses. Mammoth Schools exist on a funding system that relies more on local property tax dollars than state budget money, so Mammoth does not face major staff and program cuts, but the proposed elimination of some sports teams did bring students and parents to their feet at Monday's School Board meeting.
Superintendent Mike DeRisi presented a budget cut of $355,000 to the Board. This included the elimination of soccer teams, cross country teams and a golf team. Word of this proposal spread quickly and about a dozen high school students made thought-out pleas to the school board to keep the teams, particularly soccer.
The unexpected appearances of students pushed the school board and superintendent into a kind of public power struggle. DeRisi left the room at one point, threatening resignation of the school board failed to make the cuts.
Some parents said that there should at least have been a sharing of the pain among all sports teams instead of elimination of some. Superintendent DeRisi told the Board that their job is to make money decisions. Parents said the Board's job is to make policy. The Board decided to save the sport teams and cut transportation funds for all teams.
Reports following the Board meeting indicated that two representatives of the teachers' union present talked about opening up their negotiations to help find the funds for the kids.