School board approves $3 million in cuts, with no layoffs

By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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Knowing it will have to make larger budget cuts in the future, the Western Placer Unified School District board voted Tuesday night to adopt next year’s budget that includes $3 million in cuts. No layoffs will happen this year. The school board voted May 3 to approve recommended budget reductions of up to $3.03 million, according to previous News Messenger reports. Those reductions include salary and benefit concessions of $1.08 million, the use of $500,000 in new school reserve funds and school site and district office cuts totalling $209,526. The budget for the 2011-2012 school year goes into effect on July 1. Prior to a unanimous adoption of the budget, the school district’s assistant superintendent of business services Joyce Lopes gave a presentation. Since the state has not passed a budget, which was vetoed by the governor on June 16, Lopes said the district would “have to use assumptions” made by the district. The district’s 2011-2012 budget consists of an estimated $43.8 million in revenue and $50.6 in expenditures. Lopes said the decline in revenue is due to decline in charter school enrollment, enrollment growth in the Western Placer Unified School District and the decline of property taxes in the district. “We have to watch the economy carefully,” Lopes said. “Without the state budget, we have to be cautious.” The district used “a balanced approach to budget cuts,” according to Lopes, which includes spending fund balances and “utilizing other funds reserves for facility and equipment upkeep.” In 2010-2011, the district made $1.7 million in budget reductions, and for the budget passed Tuesday night, $3 million in cuts were made. “Most of the reductions for 2011-2012 are one-time so we will need to find more,” Lopes said. Expenditure cuts for 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 are projected to be $7 million each year, Lopes said. “We would have significant impacts to programs,” Lopes said. The district will deficit-spend by $6.3 million next school year, according to Lopes, causing the district reserves to drop to 2.57 percent of its budget. “That’s below the 3 percent required by the state, the due to state flexibility, we are allowed to if we improve in the following years,” Lopes said. Board member Paul Carras asked Lopes to explain how the district plans to reach 3.75 percent in reserves by 2013-2014. “By making $7 million in cuts, revenues will exceed expenditures,” Lopes said. “It would increase but not by much.”