TUSD budget relies on reserve money, estimates
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Jun 27, 2013 | 3375 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Tracy Unified School District Board of Trustees unanimously passed a balanced budget Tuesday, June 25, but is still waiting for a final revenue tally from state officials.

Casey Goodall, the assistant superintendent for business services, told the trustees that California legislators passed a state budget on June 14, but no one has outlined the specific consequences of that budget for school districts.

In a letter last week to Superintendent James Franco, officials at the San Joaquin County Office of Education warned of “a complete redesign of the funding formulas for K-12 education to a magnitude not experienced since the passage of Proposition 13, which occurred 13 years ago.”

“The rules are changing in a dramatic way,” Goodall said. “It’s not a bad-news story in any way — it’s kind of a ‘Hmm, what does it mean?’”

He told the board the state has provided no information to explain if added discretionary revenues will be available for such budget items as employee compensation and supplies and programs at individual schools.

To adopt a 2013-14 budget by the June 30 deadline, district officials relied on the state’s 2012-13 fiscal figures and a promise from the state that there will be no more funding cuts, he said.

“They guaranteed we won’t have fewer dollars per student, but that’s the only guarantee,” he said. “What we’ve done is make a guess based on county guesses with no guidance from the state.”

The 2013-14 budget includes a shortfall of $11,616,792.06. The district expects to receive $116,150,108.94 in revenue and has projected its spending at $127,766,901.00, according to TUSD figures.

To make up for the $11.6 million deficit, the district must dip into its $27,854,233 reserve fund.

The problem with using reserves, Goodall said, is that the money will eventually

dwindle.

According to the district’s financial figures, $16,237,440.94 will remain in the reserves after the 2013-14 year — but that number will drop to $7,684,805.22 by 2014-15 and to $231,176.53 by 2015-16 to meet expenditures, based on TUSD’s three-year plan.

“We need $9 (million) to $10 million more each year,” he said.

Without additional funds, he said trustees will have to start considering budget cuts as soon as January.

“My dream, my hope, even my belief — over the next three years, the state will gradually increase revenues each year,” Goodall said. “And the ($11.6 million) problem goes away on its own. I believe that it could happen. The economy has to improve.”

Goodall said he anticipated having more fiscal information from the state by early August and said board members could revise the budget at that time.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.
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