Fiscal Director Jessica Denison (Photo: Kirkner)
The purpose of Wednesday night’s Eastern Sierra Unified School District Board meeting was for the Board members to review the District’s second interim budget report, which provided actual numbers of where the District stands at this time, and what they need to cut in order to avoid going into the red next school year. Fiscal Director Jessica Denison presented a PowerPoint walkthrough of the numbers.
According to her report, the District had spent $972,572 over what they had budgeted, while concurrently receiving $894,565 less in revenues than they had counted on. The decrease in revenue was mainly due to receiving $493,000 less than was anticipated in property tax revenues as well as being disqualified from receiving a $301,500 class size reduction grant because of missing the Jan. 31, 2009 deadline.
“This was my responsibility,” Denison, referring to the missed grant application deadline, admitted to The Sheet in a phone interview, but added that there were several factors that led to the mistake. “The grant application was not available when it usually is and we were not notified when it came in. We received our money as usual and didn’t even realize there was a problem until the State came and took the money back.”
She added that the statute that says any schools that missed the Jan. 31, 2009 deadline were now closed out of the program completely was just added this year.
“We are in touch with School Services of California and the School Legal Service to try and get a change to the statute,” Denison explained. “We are not the only school that this is affecting.”
During her Wednesday night report Denison said that administration was also discussing budgeting low tax projections going forward. Then if they receive more than anticipated it will be a bonus rather than counting on it and having it come in low.
Denison’s report assumed that all of the 17 pink slips would be enforced for 2010/11 creating a 25 percent reduction in salaries; book and supply expenditures would be reduced by 10 percent as would services and operating expenditures. The report also assumed that there would be no capital expenditures budgeted for in 2010/11 or 2011/12.
Even after these cuts the District is still looking at a $515,320 deficit next year if more action is not taken.
The Board plans to hold community budget workshops over the next few months to determine where to make the rest of the cuts.
For the full story and more on the destruction of morale among the schools in the District pick up a copy of tomorrow’s print version of The Sheet.