During the Tuesday night school board meeting, Casey Goodall, associate superintendent of business services, said the district might need to cut between $800,000 and $900,000 more from the budget because the state could give school districts less than anticipated.
After Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced a $1.5 billion budget cut for education statewide in January, the district trimmed $12.9 million from next school year’s budget, which included dismantling the magnet arts classes at Poet Christian School, slashing the Tracy Adult School budget, slicing the district’s athletics budget by 25 percent and announcing layoffs and hour reductions for more than 150 district employees.
The state could give districts less money for the cost-of-living adjustments than what was originally proposed, according to the May revise meeting in Sacramento.
School districts could also face an additional decrease in money they receive per student. In January, Schwarzenegger proposed to give districts 3.7 percent less per student. Earlier this month, he said that number could increase to 3.85 percent.
Schwarzenegger also proposed earlier this month that the amount of money given to each district should be calculated based on the actual average daily attendance for each individual district, instead of using an average unified school district, which is how previous numbers have been determined.
Tracy Unified administrators estimated that the district could lose $55 more per student based on the new attendance proposal. If the state continued calculating cuts based on the average unified school district, Tracy would lose only an extra $1 per student based on the new May numbers, according to district officials.
Based on the January budget workshop, Tracy Unified would lose about $202 per student because of budget cuts. If the state decided to base its funding on actual average daily attendance, Tracy could lose about $257 per student next year. The district received about $6,697 per student from the state this school year.
The state budget is a work in progress and will not be final until it is approved later in the year. School districts are required to have a balanced budget approved by their school boards by the end of June.
Goodall said these additional cuts are “very likely to occur,” but he is hopeful that frugal spending by district employees this year could leave some breathing room. He expects to have a better idea of the ending balance for this fiscal year at the June 22 school board meeting.
Because of the possibility of losing more money from the state, district Superintendent Jim Franco said an immediate hiring freeze is in effect, and the district will “make do” with existing employees.
He also said it will try to renegotiate contracts for supplies and equipment, such as copy machines, and look into other ways to save money.
Goodall said more information about the budget for next school year will be presented at the June 22 meeting.
• Contact reporter Jaclyn Hirsch at 830-4269 or firstname.lastname@example.org.