Schools facing cuts for 2012-13
Sonoma Valley Unified School District administrators are wasting no time setting up meetings for input on how to cut $2.1 million from the 2012-13 budget.
At Tuesday night's school board meeting, Deputy Superintendent Justin Frese put out a timeline with the initial meeting to take place the second week in September with principals and directors to identify possible reductions, and ending with a special board meeting sometime in January.
In addition to the regular board meetings, Frese has tentatively scheduled seven meetings with various stakeholders, including principals, directors, staff and the community.
The cuts are necessary because of California's continuing budget brouhaha, and the fact that the district will have to send Sacramento a check this year, next year and years into the foreseeable future, for about $2.6 million as its "fair share."
The state is demanding an 8.9 percent "fair share" kickback from "basic aid" districts, which are those districts receiving all of their money in property taxes and other taxes, as opposed to a revenue-limit district that receives state aid to make up the difference between property taxes and state funding levels. Only about 10 percent of the state's school districts are basic aid districts.
Frese told the school board that the district should have about a $2.95 million balance at the end of this financial year, which ends June 30.
In the budget Frese presented to the board, the district will tentatively outspend revenues by more than $2.6 million this coming fiscal year, and by more than $2.9 million in 2012-13, leaving the district with more than $2.6 million in red ink by the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year.
Without the state take-backs, the district would be in far better shape financially, with a projected $2.8 million ending balance in 2011-12 and about a $2.6 million ending balance at the end of 2012-13 - a swing of more than $5.2 million that year.
Boardmember Helen Marsh asked Frese if the $2.1 million in cuts would be for salaries and benefits. Frese told her - and the board, "This will affect people."
"Eighty-five percent of our expenses are people," Frese added. "It's hard to cut without cutting people."
Marsh queried, "Eighty-five percent of $2.1 million?"
And Frese said, "Could be."
Frese blamed the state's budget brouhaha. "The state implemented almost a 9 percent cut to basic aid districts," he said. "We never anticipated it would be 9 percent - and that it would be ongoing."
He said that revenue-limit districts are being funded at about an 80 percent level. "This means they're only getting 80 cents on the dollar."
Boardmember Cam Hawing said he was frustrated. "Our employees will have to work harder and be rewarded with cuts," he said. "This financial uncertainty makes our lives miserable at the expense of our students."
The board then approved the 2011-12 budget which estimates revenues at $34,932,315 and expenses at $37,678,532 leaving a deficit of $2,746,217. The district will have an estimated $2.9 million ending balance this fiscal year.