YUHSD's tale of two budgets

April 14, 2010

YumaSun.com

The Yuma Union High School District is doing parallel planning all hinged on whether Proposition 100 passes in the special election May 18, said a district official.

Richard Faidley, YUHSD associate superintendent, said part of the administration's responsibility is to refrain from advising people how to vote, but they do need to inform everyone of what could happen and share those facts with the public.

If Prop 100, which proposes to raise the state sales tax 1 cent for three years, fails it could mean significant losses for YUHSD, Faidley  noted.

Dianne Cordery, YUHSD director of financial services, explained what could happen if the tax does or doesn't pass.

Even if  Prop 100 passes, the district loses 80 percent of its soft capital funds that buy texts, computers, furniture and buses. If it fails, YUHSD loses all soft capital plus its unrestricted capital plus 2 percent cut from its base funding.

In 2008 the district's total budget, including soft and unrestricted capital and the maintenance and operating budget, was $59.8 million. In 2009 it was $61.4 million but in the middle of the year, the state cut $1.1 million. In 2010, the district got $57.7 million.

Even if the tax passes YUHSD expects to receive just $55.7 million next year, Cordery said. But if Prop 100 loses, the district will see a cut of $7.2 million.

Also, next year insurance premiums are going up, she noted. Just to maintain current coverage for employees, not taking into account spouses or children, the district needs another $1.5 million for benefit coverage.

With Prop 100, YUHSD needs another $3.5 million; without it, the district will need $8.7 million, she said.

The district has a contingency fund of $2.3 million. But, Cordery cautioned, if they use all of that, they will have nothing left for an unexpected emergency such as when the Legislature cut their budget midyear, she reminded the board.

Cordery also talked about the decline of Proposition 301 funds, the ballot measure that passed at the beginning of the decade and among other things provided incentive pay for teachers who take on extra training and whose classes meet target achievement goals.

Prop 301 is divided into three different funds but as to teacher performance pay where teachers can earn the most, it has declined, noted Cordery.

In 2007, teachers got $2,750 each, in 2008 $3,050, in 2010, $2,700 but next year it is projected they will receive only $138, a substantial difference from what they are accustomed to. Part of the decline is attributed to lower tax revenues but also because some districts have overspent the fund. YUHSD did not overspend its fund, she noted.

YUHSD Superintendent Toni Badone said last year the district made some decisions that served them well for this year. But they have already cut to the bone the number of teachers they have and cannot sustain further cuts if they are to keep all their programs.

New teacher contracts for next year will include language that stipulates, if there is not enough state funding, they may choose:

  • Reducing salaries by 10 percent.
  • Closing schools and that way have a commensurate reduction in force.
  • Having a general reduction in force.


Although the district can plan, it is disconcerting to jump to conclusions before the May 18 election, said Badone. But none of the above three choices if the tax does not pass is a good answer on how the district can find $7.2 million, she said.

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