Tahoe-Truckee schools may see more money from state
The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District could be welcoming some additional funding next fiscal year, thanks to a proposal by Gov. Schwarzenegger to spend an additional $4.3 billion on public schools.The governor’s proposed plan, which was formally released this week as part of his state budget proposal, would provide $54.3 billion in the 2006-07 fiscal year for kindergarten through 12-grade education and community colleges.”But the key word is ‘proposed,'” said Tahoe Truckee Unified Superintendent Dennis Williams. “Between January and May all the lobbying starts taking place; those are soft numbers that will be revised.”Also impacting the amount of new money that Tahoe Truckee Unified will see is that fact that as a basic aid district, one that collects the majority of its funding from local taxes instead of from the state, some state money is off limits. If Schwarzenegger’s budget passes, it would raise spending to $11,000 per child – the most ever spent on public schools in California. Current per-student spending in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District is upward of $7,700 according to California’s Education Data Partnership, which is well above the current state-wide average per-student spending of about $6,900. However, as a basic aid district, all but $8 of that $7,700 is funded by local taxes.The budget proposal was greeted with caution by education lobbyists, who met privately with Schwarzenegger and his staff before the governor’s office made its announcement. Education groups plan to lobby for even more money, said Scott Plotkin of the California School Boards Association.”We’re hopeful that as the months go by the governor will keep those lines open so that we will be able to, sort of, ferret out the final outcome,” he said.Schwarzenegger also wants to allocate more money for several specific programs, including $30 million for vocational schools, $85 million to support physical education programs and $100 million for arts and music.For the first time, the state also will fund after-school programs mandated under Proposition 49, a ballot initiative sponsored by Schwarzenegger before he was governor and passed by voters in 2002. His budget would provide $428 million for the after-school program, which has not be implemented until now because of budget shortfalls.Within Truckee Tahoe Unified, any extra money would likely be spent on needs such as bus replacement, staff development, and a summer program for English learners, Williams said.”We have over $3 million worth of requests submitted by teachers and principles just for capital outlay,” Williams said. “We will be asking about top priorities so that all departments and all sites get something.”- The Associated Press contributed to this report.