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Budget Cuts Hitting Schools Hard; Custodian And Counselor Staffs Chopped

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Students without desks and trash piling up, these are the signs of budget cuts at a local high school.

Twenty-eight million dollars have been cut from the Sacramento City Unified School District this year.

One of the first things CBS13’s Ben Sosenko noticed during his tour of McClatchy High School was the garbage. Cans, they seem to be everywhere. People are doing what they can to keep the school clean, but people say the custodial cuts are devastating.

Teachers say the hallways used to be immaculate, but now there’s gum everywhere and sections of the floor are filthy.

“Before back-to-school night, I swept my own floor in the classroom, something I haven’t done in 14 years of teaching,” said English teacher David Allen.

Twenty-eight million dollars have been chopped from the district budget.

So now, McClatchy staffs one janitor per shift, and the custodial cuts don’t just affect cleanliness and health. But with fewer custodians there is less supervision.

The school shuts down earlier, limiting after school activities.

“High school is much more than just academics. High school is also sports, and athletics, and clubs,” said Principal Peter Lambert.

The school also chopped its counseling staff, with only three counselors for around every 900 students.

“That’s kind of hard to get an appointment, especially for seniors trying to get into colleges,” said student Allison Yamamoto.

Besides the $28 million cut this year, the district has cut $107 million from its budget in the past 4 years, and $186 million over the past decade.

Student body president Yamamoto fears things are going to get worse.

“It’s definitely a challenge staying focused,” said Yamamoto.

The district says if Prop. 30 fails in November, there will be $15 million in trigger cuts, 10 days will be taken off the schedule, and class sizes will grow.

Things are already full as some students are sitting on stools and at chairs pulled up to the teacher’s desks.

“I have kids sitting in calculus classes that are sitting on the floor,” said teacher Lori Jablonski.

McClatchy High School is celebrating its 75th anniversary, and while the cuts are devastating, the student body remains prideful.

The district says they now employ just one custodian in each elementary school.

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