School district OKs teacher hires in 2013-14 budget
TRUCKEE, Calif. — The school district’s 2013-14 budget includes money for the hiring of new teachers, despite $1.1 million in deficit spending.
The budget adopted Wednesday night by the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District board of trustees estimates $48.46 million in revenue and $49.57 million in expenditures.
Sixty-nine percent of the revenue will come from property taxes, with 78 percent in expenditures going to salaries and benefits.
“Moving forward with hiring positions, but at the same time we still know we need to make cuts down the road, I think that sort of sends a mix message out there,” said board member Kirsten Livak.
Planned spending is based on district and board beliefs, with a focus on students, said board president Kim Szczurek.
The budget calls for a $1.2 million increase in certified salaries compared to 2012-13, with $487,000 going to pay for the equivalent of 8.8 new teachers.
Additionally, $162,000 will fund a special education coordinator and teacher, with $60,000 for a vacant academic coach position, among other uses.
“Basically, (it’s) to maintain our commitment to small class sizes,” said Todd Rivera, TTUSD manager of budget and payroll, referring to the new teacher hires.
Expenses broken down by function include 55 percent for instruction, 11 percent for instruction related services and 10 percent for pupil services, such as transportation, nurses and psychologists.
Some reductions for 2013-14 include $186,000 in employee benefits, in part due to an unemployment rate decline within the state; $40,000 in legal and professional services; and $55,000 in food service contributions, due to efficiencies and new revenue streams.
This upcoming school year marks the first year of a three-year strategy to eliminate deficit spending, with $500,000 and $420,000 in reductions planned for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years, respectively.
Where the cuts will come from are yet to be determined, according to the district.
“Possible cost containments in the future would be again looking at — as we did this year — trying to keep any cost containment or reductions as far from the classroom as possible,” said TTUSD Superintendent Rob Leri.
Despite the 2013-14 budget involving deficit spending, Rivera said progress on that front is being made, a sentiment Livak echoed.
“This is the first time I’ve seen us move that close out of deficit spending and actually able to pull it off, and it looks promising,” she said. “… It would be a dream come true to actually get clear of (deficit spending).”
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Educators within the Tahoe Truckee Education Association and the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District have reached a settlement to give teachers a 5% wage increase retroactive to July 1.