2012-06-22 / Front Page
District passes $47.5-million budget
School officials await results of tax initiative on November ballot
The Pleasant Valley School District board of trustees voted earlier this week to accept a $47.5-million general fund budget for the 2012-13 school year.
The budget reflects an approximate $5-million loss in revenue over last year due to cuts by federal and state governments. As with other districts throughout the state, Pleasant Valley officials will wait to see whether voters pass Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax initiative in November.
The ballot measure calls for a quarter-cent increase of sales taxes and increases personal income taxes for those who earn more than $250,000 a year.
Jennifer Clark, director of budget and technology, said even if the tax initiative doesn’t pass, PVSD won’t make any midyear cuts or adjustments.
“We will be able to finish the year without any major changes,” she said. “We have a healthy ending fund balance for the 2012 to 2013 school year and have budgeted assuming the propositions don’t pass.”
Should the tax initiative fail, Pleasant Valley is in for deeper budget cuts.
Herb Gooch, director of public policy at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, said the state’s budget is based on the contingency that the tax initiative will pass.
The economist said if voters torpedo the initiative, the state has “triggers” in place that will result in cuts to schools.
“These triggers act like trip wires, and the cuts will start coming automatically,” Gooch said.
District officials say if the tax initiative fails they will have to negotiate with the teachers union to minimize cuts to the classrooms.
“If you ask the school board or anyone in administration, it is possible for anything to be potentially on the table for cuts,” Clark said.
The district could institute larger classes, fewer class days, and cuts to salaries and benefits to balance its budget.
The district now receives an average of $4,940 per student every year, based on attendance.
This number is an average of the total funding received from the state of California to educate each child.
The amount could be cut to $4,500 if the tax initiative fails.
The district stands to lose $2.8 million for the 2013-14 school year.
“Come November, there is a big decision point,” said school board president Bob Rust. “We will be opening negotiations with the teachers union pretty soon after the election as there will be a great deal to talk about.”