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Castaic schools budget appears stable

Officials figure how to keep district funded through 2011-12

Posted: June 22, 2009 10:31 p.m.
Updated: June 23, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Board members Monday dealt with the local impact of the state budget crisis that is expected to put the district in the red for the 2011-12 budget year.

District officials organized a budget that keeps the district fiscally stable for the 2009-10 and 2010-11 fiscal years, Superintendent James Gibson said.

"This budget will need a reduction of $850,000 in the third year out," Gibson said, referring to the 2011-12 budget year.

Those reductions could include teacher layoffs and issuing four furlough days for employees.

The district is continuing talks with the associations representing classified and certificated staff to find a solution to the projected shortfall.

"We're having a very cooperative discussion with our bargaining units," Gibson said. "Everything is very positive."

By 9:30 p.m., board members had not passed a budget.

The budget discussions come as education funding in California has seen a severe drop.

The state has made a $4.5 billion reduction to K-12 revenues over the last 13 months, Gibson said. The state projects a $3.1 billion reduction for the 2009-10 fiscal year, he said.

"The loss is catastrophic for all the districts," Gibson said.

For Castaic Union, that means a $1,772,113 loss in revenue over the last 13 months, Gibson said.

For the current fiscal year, which has eight days left, the district has sustained a $701,545 loss in revenue.

The state has deferred $1,569,862 to the district from the February and March 2009 revenues to July 2009, he said.

The district has borrowed funding from its capital programs fund until the state funding arrives, he said.

As part of the reduction, the district will cut $100,000 from the transportation budget, which means three less bus drivers, said Marcia Dains, director of administrative services.

The district will also transfer money from various district funds, like the deferred maintenance fund, to make up for the shortfall.

While the federal stimulus package has added $1,570,743 to the Castaic district through stabilization, Title I and special education funding, the district has still faced a loss of $2,216,662 through the reduction of state funding, Gibson said.

Also during the meeting, board members celebrated the dedication of four staff members - Daria Tucker, Susan Vincent, Pam Wellcome and Judy Whitmire, who retired after years of service.

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