School district’s financial report could be moot
An interim financial report for the school year, that could be useless depending on what the state does with its budget, and the election of a board president are the highlights of tonight’s Lake Tahoe Unified School District Board of Education meeting.
The financial report, to be presented by Chief Financial Officer Diane Head, was put together prior to Gov. Gray Davis’ proposed budget cuts, meaning the second financial report due in March will provide a more accurate picture of the grim outlook for the district.
“We have to keep it general because we don’t know what will happen,” Head said. “What the governor proposed and the way the Legislature enacts it could be different. We had to print it, but almost immediately we knew it would be out of date.”
Davis has produced a plan that includes $3.4 billion in midyear cuts and transfer of expenditures from the state’s $98.9 billion budget, and about $6.7 billion in cuts and savings in the fiscal year that begins July 1, all to help deal with a budget shortfall expected to exceed $21 billion.
The governor’s plan includes 3.7 percent in immediate across-the-board cuts to elementary and high schools and community colleges — which would shave about $1 billion from education spending — and more than $700 million in other education-related cuts including child care and training programs. The K-14 cuts, plus cuts to some programs in 2003-04, will total $3 billion.
Education spending accounts for about $46 billion of the current budget.
“The governor’s budget cuts really threw us into a loop and we need to see what comes out of the Legislature because it really can affect anything we’re going to do,” said Lennie Schwartz, school board president.
The Legislature took up Davis’ proposal Monday to help find an answer for the more than $21 billion shortfall the state is experiencing.
The district’s first financial report of the current school year listed revenues at $37.6 million while expenditures were $38.8 million. It resulted in a $1.3 million decrease in funds, but with a beginning fund balance of $5.2 million, the bottom line was a $3.9 million ending fund balance.
All California districts receive $4,743 per student from the state based on average daily attendance. ADA consists of 66 percent of total revenues at $24.7 million. Head expects the governor to trim the $4,743, but doesn’t know by how much.
The district’s woes are expected to continue when projections of future declining enrollment of more than 200 students per year are expected.
Salaries and benefits account for 82 percent, or $31.9 million, of the $38.8 million in expenditures.
In other news:
n Today’s meeting marks the time for annual organization. Most important, the meeting will establish a president and clerk of the board as well as set dates, times and places of regular board meetings.
Current board President Lennie Schwartz said he is ready to keep the reigns if the board decides that way.
“It’s been interesting,” Schwartz said. “I learned a lot and have more to learn. It takes a while to get used to, running meetings, getting all the nuances of running those meetings. I would certainly be ready to carry forward if I was elected president again.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
— Contact William Ferchland at firstname.lastname@example.org
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