While the only actual cut to the $16 million budget is in copy supplies, the district is also shifting $233,000 from special education and $88,900 from other money it gets from California to its general fund.
These moves came after Jefferson already eliminated nearly $900,000 from its budget in February.
The four-school elementary district is dipping into its reserves to cover its deficit, Eaton said, but that money won’t always be there. Jefferson, in addition to a mandatory 3 percent savings each year, also puts away another 3 percent of its budget in the event of an emergency.
Eaton said the main reason the district has avoided pink slips so far is because it has been smart with its money, saving instead of splurging when times were good.
“We have a rainy day fund, and it’s storming,” he said. “The analogy we’ve been using is it’s a cardboard umbrella. It lasts for a little bit, but as we continue to spend more than we take in, we dwindle that down.”
Eaton said that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is working on a revision to the budget this month, and details will be released Friday. He said that while previously, the governor planned not to cut money to schools, that could all change soon.
The district has fought hard to keep cuts away from the classroom, but Eaton worries that if the news from Schwarzenegger is grim, Jefferson might have to look at layoffs.
“We’ll have to have some very serious discussions and get into things we’ve tried to avoid,” he said. “Ultimately, we serve our students through the people we employ and we want to continue that program.”
Justifying the budget moves, Eaton said Jefferson will get $191 less from the state per student next year, which means the district will receive $462,000 less through the 2012-2013 school year. While the state’s input is going down, costs will go up. Eaton anticipates the district will lose $55,889 next year because of cost of living increases, and some faculty will move up in salary range.
All things considered, Eaton estimated the district would receive 20 percent less from the state than normal.
Eaton and Jefferson’s chief business officer Mindy Maxedon will attend a workshop on May 20 in Sacramento to figure out what changes will be made prior to the end of the fiscal year in June. Any information they get from that workshop will be presented at the board meeting next month.
“Ultimately, we all have to live with the consequences together,” Eaton said. “There’s only so long that students can’t be impacted. We’ve had to work so hard to prioritize, and we’re hoping that Sacramento will stand up and prioritize.”
Contact Tracy Press reporter Justin Lafferty at 830-4221 or firstname.lastname@example.org.