Bellevue School Board chooses traditional math, budget cuts next

(Corrected version. Original posted April 21)

The Bellevue School Board adopted a traditionalist-favored math curriculum last week, and the superintendent revealed her final budget-cutting recommendations on Tuesday, making April a pivotal month for the school district.

Regarding math, the school board voted 3-0 on April 13 to adopt the Holt series, snubbing an inquiry-based Discovering curriculum that had math purists and many district parents up in arms.

Board members Paul Mills, Peter Bentley, and Michael Murphy voted in favor of the Holt textbooks. Board members Chris Marks and Judy Bushnell were not present.

The math decision fell in line with a recommendation from the district's textbook-adoption committee, which favored Holt over Discovering.

On the financial front, the school board won't vote on a 2010-2011 budget until July. But parents, teachers, and administrators have made their recommendations for closing a projected funding gap of $4 million to $6 million.

The district sent a survey to parents and teachers in March, asking them to identify $6 million in savings from a list of potential budget-reduction items.

The top five measures that survey participants identified were reducing temperatures, increasing parking fees, cuts to central administration, raising athletics fees, and increasing meal prices.

The recommendations from District Superintendent Amalia Cudeiro included those same items, plus:

• Bussing changes

• Charging for sports transportation

• Putting off equipment replacements for transportation and cafeterias

• Charging families for gifted-entry tests

• Reducing support for AP practice tests

• Decreasing the curriculum department budget by 10 percent

• Reducing elementary summer school

• Charging for clock hours

• Decreasing support for National Board candidates

Controversial proposals to reduce the number of elementary-school librarians, eliminate elementary band and orchestra, and drop certain athletic programs did not make the superintendent's list.

Those measures also ranked low in the survey results.

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