School district eyes $3.5 million in cuts for 2013-and#8217;14
March 8, 2012
TRUCKEE/TAHOE and#8212; In the same week local teachers received lay-off notices for the upcoming school year, the school board and administration also launched initial discussions of possible budget cuts for 2013-and#8217;14.
and#8220;Itand#8217;s time to start looking at Page Two items,and#8221; Steve Dickinson, finance director for the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, told the medium-sized crowd at Wednesdayand#8217;s board meeting at district offices in Truckee.
Page Two items include options to close or combine schools, along with cuts to athletics and/or transportation.
Dickinson showed the board a pie chart similar to the graphics he has displayed during previous meetings.
This chart, instead of displaying the breakdown of $1.8 million in cuts for 2012-and#8217;13, outlined $3.5 million in anticipated reductions for the 2013-’14 school year. The proposed cuts are again aligned with the districtand#8217;s four main expenditure categories.
Dickinson expects to cut $1.6 million, or 46.8 percent of the entire reduction, from certified staff. Classified staff expenses will need to be reduced by $689,500, or 19.7 percent. Management and administration will take a $392,000 hit, or 11.2 percent. The remaining $780,500, 22.3 percent, will have to be cut from the last category and#8212; all other budget areas.
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The latter category, which includes lights, water, books, snow removal and the like, is what troubles Dickinson the most.
He said it was difficult enough to shave $401,539 from this category in the 2012-and#8217;13 budget and#8212; to find another $780,500 means looking closely at the option of school closures, Dickinson said in a separate interview.
The projected 2013-’14 budget will likely change over the next year, he said, but the Placer County Office of Education mandates the districtand#8217;s preliminary budget report and subsequent draft reductions include worst-case scenario assumptions.
Dickinson is budgeting as if Gov. Jerry Brownand#8217;s school funding tax initiative due to appear on the November election ballot will fail, resulting in an increase to the districtand#8217;s fair share contribution to the state and#8212; from $2.17 million in 2011-and#8217;12, to $3.5 million in 2012-and#8217;13 and beyond.
The district also is budgeting as if local property tax revenue will remain flat over the next few years, although Dickinson admitted the percentage will probably move slightly. A 1 percentage point jump or dip in property tax revenue equates to roughly $320,000 in revenue.
and#8220;A 2 percent gain in property tax revenue will help the situation, but not solve it,and#8221; he said.
Further complicating things, the districtand#8217;s reserve account cannot be used to alleviate any future shortfalls, as it was spent down by $3.2 million to address the 2012-and#8217;13 shortfall, and is now at the lowest level allowed by board policy.
and#8220;We are still about $10 million better off than a basic aid school district our size,and#8221; said Dickinson. and#8220;Although it doesnand#8217;t feel like it, we have a lot to be appreciative of.and#8221;