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School district reports a ‘profound reduction’ in attendance, but exceeds projections 

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Reduction will affect how much money the Paso Robles School District receives in funding from the state

–The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees met Tuesday night at the district office on Niblick Road. The board met in closed session beginning at 5 p.m.. Then, the public meeting began around 6 p.m. The board discussed reviewing district boundaries for the individual schools. That process will take several meetings.

Superintendent Curt Dubost gave a report on the opening day of school. How did “Back to School” go for students, teachers and staff in the Paso Robles School District?

He said things are not as bad as the administrators feared. The district received a profound reduction in attendance, which will impact Average Daily Attendance (ADA), but it is better than they expected. That reduction will affect how much money the Paso Robles School District receives in funding from the state. Trustee Chris Bausch said he fears that within two years, the district will face severe budget issues.

Some 6,690 students have attended classes at least one day since the start of school. The district had projected the number would be 6,655. The number is down significantly from prior years.

Curt Dubost says the good news is that the number of students who showed up in kindergarten are up, so another kindergarten class is being added at Winifred Pifer Elementary School.

One caller said he thought the traffic situation at Georgia Brown Elementary School was downright dangerous for students, including for his own child. Superintendent Curt Dubost said he’s been to the campus every morning, and that the traffic congestion was caused by nearby construction and the lack of school bus transportation. He says the traffic congestion is improving every day.

Another challenge for the Georgia Brown campus is Almond Acres, the new charter school in Paso Robles. Their new school buildings on Niblick Road near Creston Road is still under construction, so the students are meeting at the Paso Robles Youth Arts Foundation Building at 32nd and Oak. That’s added more traffic in the general vicinity of Georgia Brown School. Fortunately, it’s a temporary situation.

The school board also received a report on Measure M funding from Chief Business Officer Brad Pawlowski. Trustee Lance Gannon told Pawlowski people want to know what happened to all that Measure M bond money, and why work on the schools is not yet finished, Curt Dubost told the board construction is underway and that it’s a frustrating situation. Pawlowski says the district will soon get a full audit on the Measure M funds.

At the end of the meeting, PRJUSD President Chris Arend called the board meeting “a very short one”, but they covered a lot of ground Tuesday night. However, may questions remained unanswered related to Measure M money, Georgia Brown Elementary School congestion, and long term budget issues created by declining enrollment in the PRJUSD.

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