District has cash to pay teachers | TahoeDailyTribune.com

District has cash to pay teachers

by Jill Darby

The 1998-99 and 1999-2000 Lake Tahoe Unified School District negotiations have come to a close, and with the financial state of the district still intact.

“The money for salary increases was already budgeted,” Interim Superintendent Barbara Davis said. “The other money will, in essence, come from ending balances, then it will become our job to find monies for future years from general revenues or from cuts.”

LTUSD Chief Financial Officer Joe White said more than $600,000 in budget cuts will go toward salary increases. That, coupled with other state revenue enhancements, make the current settlement affordable.

“These cuts have been in the budget all year,” White said. “We put them aside until salary negotiations were over with.”

White said the district anticipated using the money for raises, but could not apply it until amounts were agreed upon by both negotiating teams.

Some new terms of the agreement, such as the implementation of a beginning teachers program and three new staff development days, will be funded by the state.

“Two sources added on to the salary schedule really did not cost us any money,” White said.

According to the 1999-2000 LTUSD budget, 82 percent of the budget goes to salaries and benefits, for teachers and administration.

The problem is, and has been, the district gets 70 percent of its funding based on average daily attendance. As enrollment numbers decrease, so does state funding.

“Our big detriment is we’re declining in enrollment,” White said. “Seventy percent of revenue (ADA funding) vs. 80 percent of dollars (for salaries). They don’t grow at the same rate.”

Budget cuts and outside sources have made district compliance with new terms possible, but White said there is still plenty of work to be done.

“We have been working on this for a year and, in fact, the process won’t stop,” White said. “Until enrollment turns around, which would relieve a lot of problems, we have to continue to look at our budget.”

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