TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — The school district projects deficit spending will continue into the 2014-15 school year, a situation that may lead to future cuts in order to maintain a healthy reserve, officials said.
The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District budget adopted last month by trustees estimates $48.48 million in revenue and $52.15 million in proposed expenditures, equating to roughly a $3.67 million deficit that district reserves will be used to cover.
According to board policy, the district’s reserve for economic uncertainty and basic aid must not fall below 10 percent of general fund resources. While the 2014-15 will meet that standard at 10.08 percent ($10.04 million), 2015-16 (7.72 percent, $8.37 million) and 2016-17 (5.55 percent, $6.92 million) will not, based on projections, according to the district.
Multi-year assumptions for revenue include no increase to state funding, along with increases in property taxes, while expense projections include an ongoing 2 percent one-time salary increase for Tahoe Truckee Education Association and California School Employees Association members, as well as year-over-year increases in various payments to employee retirement plans.
“... If changes don’t occur, if we don’t pursue additional unanticipated revenue, we’ll have to make some decisions here on the district level and some changes to our expenditure side of the budget,” Todd Rivera, district manager of budget and payroll, explained to the TTUSD board at its June 18 meeting.
“... The purpose of this isn’t to scare anyone. We’ve always been very responsible with how we’re spending money. We’ve always been very conservative in what we anticipate for revenue, so a lot can change in this period. We just use this as a tool to anticipate and to plan for changes that may need to occur in the near future.”
Tom Gemma, executive director of administrative services, said in a follow-up interview that expenses will be examined on an ongoing basis.
The largest expense for the district in the 2014-15 budget is salaries and benefits, totaling approximately $42.25 million, roughly 81 percent of expenditures.
As for district revenue, the largest source is property taxes, with $36.75 million in 2014-15, up by $1.07 million from last year based on the assumption property taxes will increase by 3.5 percent.
The budget is subject to change based on state and local factors.
“It’s a moving target,” Gemma said.
To view the 2014-15 budget, visit www.ttusd.org.