Rocklin Unified School District discusses possible cuts as crowd fights back

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ROCKLIN, Calif. (KTXL) -- A crowd of people spoke out about proposed cuts at the Tuesday night Rocklin Unified School District board meeting.

There were so many people the fire department interrupted the meeting just as the budget discussion began, requiring dozens to move outside or into the hallways.

"It's time for us to speak about something that may be contentious or make them feel uncomfortable," said teacher Rebecca Cihak. "Then we now had a fire marshal that made this announcement to try to get people to disperse and that is not democracy."

Faced with needing to trim $3.3 million to close a budget deficit, district leaders acknowledged the recommendations are difficult. They were proposing a list of 30 cuts.

Elementary summer school, some music programs and freshman sports were just a few of the programs that would be eliminated.

Many students were among those speaking out against the cuts.

"You say that you will base decisions on what is best for students. Cutting music programs is not what is best for students," one student told the board.

"Having participated in the elementary school band program and school plays at a young age it helped me to find where I belong in this world," another student said. "Don't take that opportunity away from other kids. Visual performing arts matter."

The proposal does call for some job losses, including library aids and computer techs.

According to the district, one of the reasons for the budget shortfall is increasing costs, which include pensions, special education and other required expenditures. District officials also cited less state funding than projected and slower projected enrollment growth.

"The process is in the beginning pieces and there's many more steps to go through before we have a final budget option by the board," said RUSD Superintendent Roger Stock.

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