Having to deal with the state's massive $15.7 billion deficit, the Charter Oak Unified School District recently passed a budget that must address a plethora of possible reductions.
Charter Oak is considering salary rollbacks, furlough days, class size adjustments, reductions in books and supply, in addition to other options. The Governor's May Revision would also allow school districts the option of reducing the school year by up to 15 days for the next two years, officials said.
The district is anticipating a $2.6 million deficit for next year. Due to declining enrollment, the district projects continued loss in Average Daily Attendance funding, with $2.8 million projected for 2013-2014 and $2.7 million in 2014-2015.
Governor Jerry Brown's May Revise stated that flat funding would be provided for next year, but is predicated on the notion that voters will pass the Governor's November tax increases on sales and those with an income of $250,000 or more. If the tax increases are defeated, "trigger" language in the state's budget could slash current ADA by $441, according to the Department of Finance, officials said.
Charter Oak's budget was built with the view that voters would approve of the Governor's tax increases, said Kathy Perkins, chief business officer for Charter Oak.
"The shortfall is due to deficit spending due to years of greatly reduced state revenues and not enough reductions in spending to make up for that loss," Perkins said. "Our district has lost approximately $35M in revenue over the past 5 years."
A June 9 poll in the Sacramento Bee reported support for the tax hikes lingers ad 52 percent.
"52 percent is probably within the margin of error, so it's rather scary," said Joe Probst, Charter Oak board president. "At graduation, it was the students that really pointed out the loss of a week of education since last year and how it hurt them. The possibility is that it could do more damage."
The 2012-2013 budget was calculated using the previous year's ADA, which stood at 5,677. The district estimates enrollment could drop to 5,514 next year and fall even further to 5,348 by 2014-2015. Charter Oak has been allowing teachers to retire without replacing them to adjust for the decline, officials said.
"Should the student population begin to grow, Charter Oak Unified will begin to hire teachers to accommodate number of students," Perkins said.
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