TTUSD ponders use for $2 million |

TTUSD ponders use for $2 million

It may seem like a lot – an extra $2 million – but it won’t cover much of the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District’s wish list.

The state budget recently added $441 more per child in education funding, which multiplied by an estimated 4,570 students in 2000-2001 would give the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District an additional $2 million.

“I’ve never seen this amount of discretionary money in my 27 years come to a school district in one year,” said TTUSD Superintendent Pat Gemma.

Yet after two years of holding tight the district’s fiscal reins, there’s a lot of ways to spend that money.

The dozen parents who attended a workshop Tuesday learned that the monetary boost won’t go too far.

Of that $2 million, Gemma portrayed that there could be less than $1 million uncommitted to district needs. He noted that salaries automatically increase a budget every year as well as worker compensation insurance.

Also, the district hired two custodians a month ago that it had cut out of its 1999-2000 budget.

“We discovered we couldn’t live without them this year,” Gemma said.

Other expenditures that the district has considered were adding back $80,000 to the snow removal budget, hiring another maintenance person, paying for office supplies and instructional materials that were cut two years ago and increasing employee salaries.

How much of a raise will be given to district employees depends on upcoming negotiations with the employee unions, Gemma said.

After these expenditures, there is a wish list of about 65 items, including buses and snow removal equipment, more custodians, maintenance workers and secretary time, another assistant superintendent, and various administrative needs such as translation services and computer programs.

Much of the wish list centered around either school facility maintenance or technology needs.

Parents at the meeting at North Tahoe High School added lower classroom sizes in fourth- and fifth-grade, starting a deferred maintenance fund, increasing the high school athletic budgets to offset this year’s transportation fee, and adding more career counseling for high school students.

Roger Kahn, who is a member of the fiscal review committee, said that group of parents, teachers and business people, is recommending that the district use the money to increase its reserve to 6 percent. This would help avert the roller coaster of fiscal crises that TTUSD has experienced in the past.

Additional meetings will be held today at 6:30 p.m. at Tahoe Truckee High School and Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at Glenshire Elementary School. The school board will consider community input at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, June 8, at the district offices in Truckee.

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