School budget revision reflects major changes |

School budget revision reflects major changes

Josh MillerTruckee Elementary School students (LEFT to RIGHT) Joshua Slezak, Marcos Fox, Jenny Lopez and Giselle Martinez, take time for some fun on the playground swingset. With budget shortfalls becoming a reality for Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District, The Excellence in Education Foundation is helping to fill in the gaps.

The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District’s first budget report of the 2003-2004 school year came out this week with a few surprises.

“The purpose of the first report is to know, ‘Are we still on target?'” said Ralph Johnson, assistant superintendent of business services. “The budget is a fluid document that’s changing all the time.”

The 2003-2004 school year budget has been especially fluid since it was adopted in June. However, the changes are not so much in the bottom line, but in how the district’s budget is balanced.

For starters, Tahoe Truckee Unified now has basic aid status, which will result in a $193,027 net revenue limit increase.

A district is given basic aid status when property tax revenue exceeds the amount of funding the district receives from the state. However, “basic aid” is a misnomer because, as of this school year, the state no longer provides the $120-per-student “basic aid” to districts in Tahoe Truckee Unified’s situation.

Johnson estimated that the district would have received approximately $500,000 more if the state hadn’t removed the $120-per-student allotment from its budget.

Tahoe Truckee Unified is the only district under the Placer County Office of Education to qualify for basic aid.

The TTUSD business office expected the district would not become a basic aid district until the 2004-2005 school year.

Prosser Creek’s impact

When the budget was adopted in June, Prosser Creek Charter School was finishing one school year and preparing for another. Then, on Aug. 19, the school board shut Prosser Creek down because of the charter school’s financial difficulties.

Though Johnson said it would be difficult to measure the specific dollar amount impact the charter school’s closure had on the district’s budget, the closure did result in more revenue for the school district because of the increase in enrollment in the district’s traditional schools by former charter school students.

This is the first school year since the 1997-1998 term Tahoe Truckee Unified has had an increase in student enrollment. The growth increased the average daily attendance dollars and, in turn, created more expenditures in the classrooms.

“We weren’t projecting to grow at budget time,” Johnson said. “We’ve had a significant amount of expenditures to account for growth.”

The district hired 11.9 full-time equivalent certificated and classified positions this year to account for the growth in student population.

Each year school districts in California have to provide the county office of education with two interim budget reports, the first for the period ending Oct. 31 and the second for the period ending Jan. 31.

Despite the significant changes in the face Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, Johnson maintains that the numbers are “on target” with what he had projected in June.

The school board passed the district interim budget report Dec. 1. Now the report will go to the Placer County Office of Education for approval.

TTUSD will hold a basic aid workshop on Jan. 21. Copies of the first interim report and budget revision are available at the school district office at 11839 Donner Pass Road.

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