“You have to do the best with what you’ve got”

It was pretty darn somber in the board room a few minutes ago as CFO Vernon Hal gave his presentation on the impact of the $39 million budget cut.

The updated slides posted on tonight’s agenda (Page 4) give even more detail about how the pain will be shared and felt, from reduced mental health services and fewer school security officers to slower response time for facilities problems. The district is developing an online time card, for example, because there just won’t be enough people in the payroll department to handle the processing. Seasonal tree pruning? No more.

(Note: The proposal would eliminate most outside contracts for professional development.)

At least Hal is optimistic. “At the end of the day, we have to be fiscally responsible and accountable,” he said. “You have to do the best you can with what you’ve got. … We are smart people who can come together and get it done because we have to.”

I should have mentioned this earlier, but I’ve been writing Twitter updates from the meeting (from my cell phone, since OUSD blocks social networking Web sites). You can read them, even if you don’t have a Twitter account, at http://twitter.com/katymurphy.

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.