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Hart district projections show financial improvement

Posted: December 14, 2012 5:23 p.m.
Updated: December 14, 2012 5:23 p.m.

With economic conditions improving, the financial outlook for the William S. Hart Union High School District remains positive for the next several years, according to a report approved by school board members earlier this week.

The district should be able to meet all of its financial obligations for the remainder of this fiscal year as well as the next two fiscal years, according to the district’s interim financial report.

The district also has about $44.4 million in total reserve funds on hand — a figure that represents roughly 23.4 percent of the district’s annual expenditures, according to Susan Hoerber, the district’s chief financial officer.

The vast majority of that reserve is funds that have been set aside for “economic uncertainties” to provide the district breathing room in difficult financial times, Hoerber said.

“This cash balance is actually the largest we’ve ever had in the district,” Hoerber said. “We’ve been very frugal.”

These figures were included in the district’s first interim financial report of the current fiscal year. These reports, which the California Department of Education requires be issued twice a year, allow a school district to certify its financial outlook as positive, negative or qualified.

A positive certification means a district will meet all its financial obligations for the current fiscal year and the next two fiscal years; a negative certification means a district will not meet financial obligations during any of those three fiscal years.

A qualified certification means it is uncertain whether a district will be able to meet its financial obligations. The last time the Hart district had a qualified certification was during the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

The report approved by the Hart board Wednesday gives the district a positive certification.

But despite the positive certification the district is likely to get into deficit spending next year as a result of increasing expenses such as teacher pay and the cost of materials, Hoerber said.

“Even if revenue stays flat we end up eating into our reserves,” Hoerber said.

Funds from the Proposition 30 tax increases are not likely to have any major impact on district finances because the district created its budget assuming the measure would pass.

If Proposition 30 had not passed, the district would have faced roughly $11.1 million in cuts, Hoerber said.
Some board members questioned whether it was wise to expect the state to deliver on its promise of Proposition 30 funds.

“I would like us to be very, very cautiously optimistic,” said new board President Joe Messina during the Wednesday night meeting. “But we tend to run forward based on what the state has said and then we get bit on that.”




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