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School district’s deficit grows

Kyle Magin
Sierra Sun

TAHOE-TRUCKEE ” The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District’s best-case budget scenario got a whole lot worse when the California budget passed last week.

A number of factors led to a hike in the school district’s projected budget deficit from $3.1 million to $4.2 million, said Assistant Superintendent Steve Dickinson at this week’s school board meeting at North Tahoe Middle School.

Due to a 15 percent decrease in the funding of certain categorical funds, the school district will receive about $822,000 less from the state.

Another hit came from the Federal Government, which will no longer provide about $250,000 in funds for the district’s forest service lands.

And, Dickinson said, the deficit could rise by another half-million to $4.7 million if Californians vote down four May 19 ballot measures, all of which include a tax increase.

“I’m hoping $4.7 million is the absolute worse-case, but it’s a moving target right now,” Dickinson said.

Dickinson urged the board at the meeting to come to a new consensus on what the worst-case scenario deficit would be so the district can plan accordingly for that figure.

Board member Bev Ducey was quick to point out that while it’s “hard to believe this could be any tougher on the TTUSD,” the district was lucky to be a basic-aid district, meaning a majority of district funds come from property tax.

Most districts in the state rely heavily on state funding and are in a much less manageable pickle than Tahoe Truckee.

Board member Bill Kraus said that while he imagined a worse-case scenario budget coming in at about $4 million, he didn’t see one closer to $5 million.

“It’s a 50 percent increase from our first thoughts on what the deficit would be,” Kraus said.

He said it is imperative the board receive enough updated information on the budget situation to make the decisions it needs.

“I think what my point is that there is a real schedule we’re on here,” Kraus said. “Our most immediate deadline is that by March 15, we have to have the layoff notices out to our certified staff, and by April 15 we have to make final decisions regarding those people.”

Kraus said he was confident the members of the school district’s leadership team could get that information to the board by that time.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11, at the Sierra Mountain Community Education Center.


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