Schools still struggle with budget deficits
Even with the passage of Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax measure to support education, the Sonoma Valley Unified School District may still have to make cuts.
But the cuts won’t be as deep as the projected $1.75 million if Proposition 30 had failed.
At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, deputy Superintendent Justin Frese told the board the Prop. 30 passage “makes life a lot better for us. It keeps us from another $1.75 million in cuts.”
He said he was watching the early returns on election night and Proposition 30 was failing when he decided to go to bed. “I woke up early and found that it passed,” he said.
But he reminded the board that some cuts still need to be made since the district is running an $800,000 deficit this year.
“And that’s with eight furlough days,” he said. He told the board that the eight furlough days saves about $880,000, so without the furlough days, the district would be looking at a deficit of almost $1.7 million. “We have deficits this year and next year,” he said.
Frese said he’ll be setting up meetings with the Valley of the Moon Teachers Association and the CSEA, the classified employees union.
“There seems to be some thought about an uptick in funds (from Proposition 30 monies),” he said. “We’re not expecting any additional funds, but it could happen a couple of years down the road.”
And Frese reiterated there will be cuts this year and cuts next year.
He said he’d go into more detail when he presents the first interim budget at the December board meeting. “In December, we’ll look at the next three or four years,” he said.
One indicator that looks promising is that the local taxes have been higher than anticipated.
In September, Frese told the board that instead of being flat, property taxes went up 1.08 percent giving the district an additional $273,000.
“We budgeted for a zero increase in property taxes,” he told the board at that time. “This is a good trend.”
He said he was going to assume property tax growth this fiscal year at 1 percent, and 2 percent in both 2013-14 and 2014-15.