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Capo Shortfall Projection—at $6.9 Million—Rosier Than in January

A deficit is expected next year even though the Capistrano Unified School District is expected to end this fiscal year 2010-11 in the black.

The governor’s most recent budget proposal presents a sunnier financial forecast for Capistrano Unified, where staffers had earlier this year projected a deficit as high as $21 million.

The shortfall projection for fiscal year 2011-12 was reduced Wednesday night to $6.9 million.

Deputy Superintendent Ron Lebs said he arrived at that estimation after taking into account several onetime revenue sources, including $12.2 million in federal money.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s revision this month to the draft budget released in January proposes flat funding to school districts, a mechanism Lebs said he “rejoiced” over. He said Capo stands to get $17 million more under the latest budget proposal —when school money would have hinged on approval of tax extensions.

How much money the district will to its students remains uncertain.

In preparing his projections for the next fiscal year, Lebs also included losses in revenue tied to average daily attendance, including the loss of about 550 students expected to attend a new charter school,, and a general decline in enrollment. Combined, they are expected to result in a hit of about $6.11 million.

Lebs said that to balance next year's budget, he will likely recommend that the board of trustees look at reducing employees' salaries and benefits, increasing class sizes in grades four to eight and the implementation of furlough days. A 1 percent reduction to salaries would save $2.7 million, increasing class sizes by one student per class would save $3.6 million, and one furlough day would save $1.3 million.

Since 2006, the district has cut $91 million.

In this fiscal year, the $26-million concessions are made up primarily of salary reductions for all of the district's bargaining associations. Even after a portion of the employees' salaries were restored in December (at a cost of $8.2 million), the employees bore roughly $18.72 million in losses.

Still, salaries and benefits have accounted for 70.3 percent of the district's $439.3 million in expenditures this year.

Lebs said he expects to conclude this fiscal year with a positive end balance of $21 million that will be carried over into the next budget cycle.

cusd mom May 26, 2011 at 08:34 PM
The shortfall projection for fiscal year 2011-12 was reduced Wednesday night to $6.9 million. Deputy Superintendent Ron Lebs said he arrived at that estimation after taking into account several onetime revenue sources, including $12.2 million in federal money. So does that mean we are just delaying more pain?
Shripathi Kamath May 26, 2011 at 11:18 PM
Delaying is still better than suffering it now. I am happy because this would probably mean fewer cuts, smaller increases in classroom sizes or both.
Reality Check May 27, 2011 at 04:54 AM
In the midst of a slow recovery, there is no reason to assume that "more pain" lies ahead, but one-time money is sorely needed. We are not talking about splurging on a vacation or a boat while mortgaging the house here. We are talking about the year-by-year task of educating the next generation, which will fuel our economy, sustain Social Security, and protect our property values. Children will not get a second, better-funded chance at this year, whether it is their first grade or graduation year. We cannot afford to be stingy while the recovery is underway; we've already cut over $90 million in just five years. It's time to start reinvesting.

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