School closings, budget cuts eyed to solve fiscal crisis | SierraSun.com
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School closings, budget cuts eyed to solve fiscal crisis

Staff Reports

The three-year business plan brings the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District to fiscal solvency with a 3 percent reserve by the end of fiscal year 2000-2001.

However, the plan does not eliminate the need for long-term change in the school district’s finances, said Superintendent Pat Gemma.

“We need to look beyond the immediate crisis. We’re really putting on a band-aid, or putting our finger in the dike,” said Gemma.

The district will continue to lobby the state for money to help pay the costs of declining enrollment, to recoup unpaid mandated costs from the state and to initiate legislation that will help TTUSD pay for the extraordinary transportation and snow removal costs that affect snow country school districts.

What can be done about California’s funding of $3,800 per student – on the low end of state education funding in the United States – will be discussed by the state superintendents in January, Gemma said.

The district is also going to study cost savings in athletics, transportation, combining high schools and middle schools, closing Rideout Elementary School or Donner Trail School, and alternative investments.

Grants

The district is also planning to seek more grants, support from casinos and study the salary schedule and high school offerings.

In the meantime, the school board authorized the district to begin implementing the three-year business plan.

It proposes to generate $571,000 in 1998-99; $420,000 in 1999-2000; and $271,000 in 2000-2001 for $1,262,000 over three years.

The plan includes:

Schools

Cuts at each school have already been made to save $220,000.

Increase the rental cost of using school property, primarily by church groups.

Cut athletic budgets by $25,000 annually, leaving sports teams to either make cuts or to raise funds in other ways.

Measure S

Use $125,000 designated for bus replacement for health and safety programs that are currently paid for from the district’s general fund, freeing up money for other expenditures.

Increase the payment that Measure S makes to the school district for the cost of implementing Measure S programs from 3 percent to 4 percent of Measure S’ $2 million annual allotment (an increase of $20,000).

Excellence in Education

The nonprofit organization will raise money to pay $50,000 to match family and community donations of $100 per family. This money will be raised separately from the current Excellence in Education funds.

Families

Increase student attendance in order to receive more Average Daily Attendance money from the state.

Children who stay home from school because of illness or vacation will be encouraged to do independent study in order for the school district to receive ADA money for that child.

Families will be asked to donate $100 to the school district in the Excellence in Education program.

District

Cut a districtwide maintenance position ($33,000) and ask the Town of Truckee to pay for the resource officer position ($20,000) at Tahoe Truckee High School. Reallocate some costs to developer fees instead of general fund monies, such as cost of elections, and change the asset investments to earn more money.

Charter School

Develop a memorandum of understanding with the Prosser Creek Charter School to reimburse the district for charter school uses of the district. This is expected to be about $15,000 to $10,000, although the MOU is not finished.

Teachers and employees

Take a 1 percent reduction in the employee COLA raise. In the third year of the plan, $100,000 could be returned to salaries if financially possible.

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