$40 million school district budget | SierraSun.com

$40 million school district budget

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun

The Tahoe Truckee Unified School district’s $40 million budget was approved by the board of directors on Wednesday afternoon.

Things are looking tight for the district, though. Nearly 85 percent of revenues will be allocated to employee salaries and benefits ” about $32 million. The next largest necessity, special education, will absorb another $1.85 million that is not covered by state or federal funding.

All said and done, the district is sitting on a precarious $3 million, according to district budget projections.

“There are two sets of priorities,” said school district Superintendent Dennis Williams. “Restoration of budget cuts in the past, and new requests that are not in the budget yet.”

One of the largest in-coming requests is from teachers seeking an annual cost of living adjustment. Negotiations began earlier this month but came to impasse and were put on hold until later in the summer when a mediator can come to assist.

Optimism is up, however, that more than $1 million in new state funds will find their way into the district’s pocket.

Now that adjustments to the state educational budget have been finalized, Sacramento decision makers will soon determine how to spend roughly $1 billion in new, one-time and on-going dollars.

“As far as the state budget goes, we do not have direction on what (the state) will be funding,” said Assistant Superintendent of Business Ralph Johnson. “There is the potential of an additional $1.1 million, but we cannot budget that until we get their guidance. I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see the money until September or October.”

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is set to approve the state budget today, and following that Tahoe Truckee Unified will have 45 days in which to make changes.

Budget changes should be presented to the board at their first semi-monthly meeting in September.

“There are a lot of different programs that are going to require attention as to how to implement them,” Johnson said. “We have a lot of needs and I’m hoping that those new dollars will go along way.”