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Foundation helps district meet reserve

ABHUTCHISON, Sierra Sun

The Excellence in Education Foundation has found a way to help the Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District meet the state required 3 percent reserve of the 1999/2000 budget by setting aside $200,000 of their endowment for the district.

The district sent the county a budget in July that was approximately $300,000 short of meeting the required reserve of almost $900,000 which the county did not approve, according to district officials.

At tonight’s board meeting, board members will be asked to re-approve the budget based on the commitment of Excellence in Education to contribute $200,000 and help raise $100,000, which will be added to the fund.

“It is money that is not really being spent,” TTUSD Superintendent Pat Gemma said.

Excellence in Education will ear-mark $200,000 for the Program Continuation Fund, which can be used in the district’s reserve.

The district can only use the money in this fund under unforeseen economic emergencies.

The district has also agreed they would use the fund as a last resort.

“Our mission statement is to support quality education,” said foundation board president Scott Ryan.

“This, in our minds, supports quality education. We want to be there for our district when times are good and when times are not good.”

Ryan said that while the foundation has no intention of funding the district’s general fund.

They are able to help set aside money for the reserve, which can only be called on in a dire situation.

“The reserves are for times of extreme hardship,” Ryan said.

The Program Continuation Fund will be a separate account of which the Excellence in Education Foundation would maintain control and receive interest.

“The whole idea behind the foundation providing these funds is to maintain the curriculum in this district and maintain the student-to-teacher ratio. We want to make certain we achieve something by providing these funds in an account,” Ryan said.

Target class sizes

Because the district was only 19 students short of meeting their projected enrollment of 4,933, they can guarantee they will maintain class sizes of 28 and 29 districtwide.

The foundation’s contribution will enable to district to stay at these targeted class sizes, said Gemma.

“The possibility of the real Draconian cuts that we would have to make did not materialize,” said Gemma.

Public hearing

There will be a public hearing to re-adopt the 1999/2000 budget at 7:45 p.m. at tonight’s board meeting.


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