’s worst-case budget scenario remains $51 million short next school year, a gap that will have to be plugged by the end of next month.
The Board of Trustees heard a financial report Wednesday from , deputy superintendent of business services. Despite , which show the state is facing its own budget crisis more harrowing than previous expected, CUSD’s financial crunch pretty much remains the same: The district needs to make $30 million in cuts should a November tax measure pass; $51 million if it doesn’t.
“We’re looking between the cushions of the couch at this point,” Trustee John Alpay said later in the meeting in response to a $21,000 expenditure the board ultimately did not approve.
The governor’s May revision to the budget proposal he made in January is “not good news,” Hampton said. In January, the state expected to be $9.2 billion in the hole, but actual tax receipts have come in way short. Brown believes the state now faces a $15.7 billion defecit, while a state analyst said the governor may be a “few billion dollars” off.
Even if the November initiative passes to increase taxes temporarily, the school district would receive flat funding, Hampton said.
“There’s actually no new money for schools,” he said.
If the taxes don’t pass, the school district will receive $441 less per student, which totals $21.8 million, Hampton said. The rest of the school district’s shortfall comes from declining enrollment – school districts receive money based on how many students show up to class – and the exhaustion of one-time federal stimulus and jobs moneys.
Hampton said ultimately, funding for education is tied to the economy at large, which is experiencing the most fragile of recoveries in California.
“It doesn’t look like there’s much end in sight to this depressing news,” Hampton said.
In other financial news, the board heard from a consultant about the possibility of refinancing several debts, including a financial vehicle called “certificates of participation” it used to pay for the district’s headquarters. Of the $31.9 million the district borrowed in 2002, it still owes $22.8 million, according to the report.
Refinancing the debt could save the district $180,000 annually, and $2.12 million in total, said Lori Raineri, president of Government Financial Strategies of Sacramento.
“We’re managing it to the lowest cost. That’s the stewardship we are trying to achieve,” Raineri said.
The item will come back for board approval likely in the summer.