School Board Approves Final Budget

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First-year Supt. Sherine Smith’s four-year contract was extended 12 months by the school board last week, which also adopted a $40.9 million budget and bid farewell to high school principal Don Austin.

The board unanimously approved the final 2011-12 budget, which accommodates an estimated $1.3 million drop in state revenue with spending cuts in several areas and without layoffs. Asst. Supt. of Business Services Norma Shelton said the district may yet see more cuts in state revenue since the state budget remains in flux.

Based on a closed-door evaluation by board members, Smith’s existing four-year contract, granting her salary of $225,000 plus car and health benefits, was extended another year. “It’s a tough gig, and you’ve done a very good job,” Ketta Brown said. The other board members offered similar praise. “Next year will be even better,” said board member Bill Landsiedel.

“I value your leadership and steady vision,” Smith told the board, adding that her success was the result of a team effort and that credit was due to the staff who support her.

The district recognized Austin, who has accepted a post as assistant superintendent in the Huntington Beach school district, for the school’s academic and athletic success during his five-year tenure.

“He moved our school light years ahead,” said board member Betsy Jenkins, citing Austin’s effort to beautify the campus with student art work and murals and enhance technical education, among other accomplishments.

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