AV Alerts
  • April 28PPIE Run for Education - (04/28)
  • May 4May the Fourth Star Wars Day - (05/04)
  • May 5Cinco de Mayo - (05/05)
The student news site of Amador Valley High School


The student news site of Amador Valley High School


The student news site of Amador Valley High School


District proposes cuts to AVHS Counseling Department as student enrollment increases

Sheryl Pacheco
AV Teachers and Staff wore back and posed with Counselors before school in a showing of solidarity opposing cuts to the counseling department.

Amador students and parents were surprised last week when the announcement came out that Counselors would be cut at all PUSD schools, including Amador Valley. This all comes as Amador Valley student population increases by 13 students next year, despite the fact that many PUSD schools are experiencing declining enrollment. 

“We’re looking at an increase of about a third of my caseload. [Students] are probably looking at another week to get in to see me and three weeks out to make an appointment.  That’s not ideal because a lot of the things that students need are very timely and we don’t want our students waiting that long to see us.” said Amador Valley Head Counselor Sheryl Pacheco

Next year, student enrollment is expected to increase from 2591 (2023-2024 enrollment) and to 2604 (2024-2025 enrollment). The proposed plan includes cutting 2 of the current AVHS counselors. 

In preparation for the 2024-2025 school year, the Pleasanton Unified School District’s executive board intends to vote on significantly cutting school-provided counseling services across the district due to projected budgetary constraints. 

Looming Budget Cuts

The PUSD district offices have been threatening to make needed cuts to the budget for the 2024-2025 school year. 

The district’s estimated expenditures for the 2023-2024 school year total $227,511,677. This leaves the district’s reserves at 3.94%, or close to $9 million. The district intends to cut $20 million in expenditures for the 2024-2025 school year, including $7.3 million from certified and classified employee salaries. 

I’ve been here at Amador for 21 years and the enrollment fluctuates… I haven’t heard or seen numbers that would suggest a need for declining counselor hires or staffing of counselors. If anything… I’ve seen an increase in the need for counselors. I was actually hoping that we would be looking at increasing counselors so that we could better serve the needs and the demands of our students and families.” said Pacheco.

The expected cuts are preparation for potential cuts in funds from the State of California. These cuts will be announced in early summer. 

Effects on Amador Valley Students

The AV Counseling Department helps students with everything from scheduling to college applications. (Jacob Bluvol)

Amador Valley High School’s counseling department is currently staffed at 7.8 positions. Amador has 6 full-time counselors, each assigned to a specific section of the alphabet. 

Amador also has 1 full-time support counselor, a college and career counselor 3 days a week, and a part-time EL (English Language Learner) counselor 1 day a week. 

Each full-time student counselor has an average caseload of 450 students. The American School Counselor Association recommends a caseload of 250 students per counselor. 

In practice, this is almost impossible for schools to accommodate. 

In the United States, the average caseload is 385:1, and only the states of New Hampshire and Vermont have average caseloads below 250:1. 

California’s average caseload is 464:1. The projected cuts threaten to increase Amador’s counselor caseloads to 640:1. Parents, students, and counselors worry that this would be detrimental to students who rely on counseling services.

Right now this year, my counseling appointments open up every two weeks and every day that my appointments open up, those appointments get filled,” said Pacheco

What students need counselors for on campus

Students rely on the counseling department for everything from schedule changes to college letters of recommendation. A reduction in the number of counselors has the potential to cause serious problems for students.

This year during the month of October, […] I had 85 letters of recommendation. Looking at a caseload that goes up to 640 students, If I look at the same percentages, it’s going to be around 128 to 130 letters of recommendation, and so my concern is the amount of time that I’m going to be able to spend to do a great job on these letters,” said Pacheco.

The district’s decision to cut counselors will most heavily affect students at the high school level, with Amador losing 1.8 counseling positions and Foothill losing 1.4. 

It will bring the number of counselors at PUSD middle schools down from 2.6 to 2. The district also plans to change some elementary counselors from full-time to part-time.

“During application season, I went to several of the access sessions held by the counseling department. They were really helpful for me to get my applications done. If the district cuts counselors, it could make it harder for students to get the support they need,” said AV Senior Gigi Zhang.

“This year we had 1900 schedule request changes. As kids probably remember it took us about two and a half weeks to process all of them with our current number of counselors. If we get the same number of requests, and we have two less counselors making those changes, that’s going to be another three, three and a half weeks to process all those requests. As teachers and students know, the longer it takes for you to get into your new class, the further behind you are, and the more stressful it is,” said Pacheco.

By cutting the counseling department’s budget and staffing, it will be harder for students to get counseling services they need. 

The PUSD Board intends to vote on this issue at their meeting on May 9th. The meeting will be held at the PUSD district office at 5758 W. Las Positas Blvd at 5pm.

Leave a Comment
Donate to AmadorValleyToday
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists in the AVJournalism program. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Navigate Left
Navigate Right
Donate to AmadorValleyToday
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All AmadorValleyToday Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *