Tahoe Truckee school district preps for state budget woes | SierraSun.com

Tahoe Truckee school district preps for state budget woes

Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; The recent voter survey regarding Measure A follows months of worry that the economic climate would sway voters against the measure, leaving the majority of the school districtand#8217;s educational goods and services and#8212; including 35 full-time positions and#8212; on the chopping block.

Already this year, the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District has seen a revenue loss of $2.8 million for the current 2010-11 fiscal year due to lower property tax revenue resulting from reassessed homes; the districtand#8217;s reserve fund will make up the shortfall.

To be conservative and to protect against unforeseen future shortfalls, TTUSD Superintendent of Finance Steve Dickinson suggested at the September board meeting, and trustees agreed, a plan for $3 million in budget reductions for the 2011-12 school year. Add the federal governmentand#8217;s recent legislation providing the district $750,000 to maintain jobs, and Dickinson said total budget reductions for 2011-12 will be $2.25 million.

Still unknown is how the stateand#8217;s $20 billion deficit will affect Truckee/Tahoe; based on rough estimates, Dickinson on Tuesday said the district has budgeted $2 million to compensate for the potential loss. Dickinson said because the amount is already planned budgeted it will not be added onto the $2.25 million.

Dickinson said after the state budget was drafted last week, he is reluctant to take it at face value.

and#8220;State revenues have not rebounded to predict these predictions,and#8221; Dickinson said. and#8220;… And after November elections, there could be mid-year cuts.and#8221;

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Either way, Dickinson said the district is very fortunate to have reserves to compensate for this new turn in the recession and buy the district time to budget for next year, 2011-12.

Currently the reserves sit at $7.6 million; however, for 2011-12, that number will go down significantly to cover this yearand#8217;s $2.8 million loss and#8212; ending at about $4.8 million for the start of the next fiscal year, a 36 percent decline.

and#8220;It is really important for us to appreciate a few things,and#8221; he said. and#8220;One, is that we have a strong level of reserve thatand#8217;s continuing to go through this year … and it is a prime example of why reserves are necessary.and#8221;

Dickinson said the second thing to appreciate is the fact that the parcel tax Measure A exists and and#8212; unlike in many districts across the state and#8212; provides for enrichment programs such as art, music, technology and instructional supplies.

Superintendent Steve Jennings said he will meet with state officials next week in Sacramento to learn more about what state budget cuts mean for the district.