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Capo's Budget Gap Shrinks—at Least Today

If the state pulls the trigger on massive budget cuts because of less-than-expected tax revenues, the impact—according to the latest assumptions—would be a onetime occurrence, changing the outlook at CUSD significantly.

The financial picture at hasn’t totally improved, .

The large district's budgetary hole stands at $37.1 million combined for the next three years. A few days ago, that figure was as high as $90 million.

So what changed? The assumptions, according to Ron Lebs, deputy superintendent for business and services.

The new numbers figure that any midyear cuts needed this year will be onetime occurrences. Lebs earlier estimated that would be ongoing.

“Our understanding is that this is a onetime cut,” said David Carter, executive director of fiscal services, “but given the ongoing financial situation of the state, it could be ongoing.”

In addition, Lebs forecast that if the board makes continual cuts—versus onetime cuts—in 2012-13 to bring down the deficit, then the district would not face additional cuts in 2013-14.

“Expenditures had been cut so much on the non-salary side,” Lebs said. Now, the best viable place for cuts is in salaries, which make up between 85-87 percent of the district’s budget.

Recently, the district learned that if and when the state pulls the “trigger” on its automated cuts, as required by the state budget should tax revenues come in at least $2 billion lower than expected, the school’s transportation funding will get hit first, Lebs said, possibly as much as $1.3 million.

If state tax revenues come in at $4 billion or more under expectations, the district would then lose about $260 a day per student, for a total of $12.9 million. Lebs said. That brings the projected maximum deficit for this year to $14.2 million.

The district does have some carryover money from last year, so the cuts potentially needed by February would total $11 million, Lebs said.

But the situation is always changing, Lebs said, and the information he presented was only as good for the day.

“We again find ourselves in the situation where we really don’t have available information about what’s going to happen,” he said. “We have to operate with the information we have.

“It will change from where we are today undoubtedly.”

In other news, the board:

  • Unanimously approved, with Sue Palazzo absent, to leave the contract with its Teamsters union employees unchanged. The current contract is good through the end of the school year. In February, the district considered reopening the contract to discuss wages and hours. Both the union and management agree to reopen the contract should the district face midyear budget cuts.
  • Hired National Demographics of Glendale at up to $38,000 to redraw the trustee boundary lines. Voters chose during the Nov. 4 election to change the way the trustees are elected to the board. While trustees have always had to live in one of seven geographic areas, the electorate has always chosen them at large. Starting with the 2012 election, voters in the geographic areas can only vote for one trustee. At a meeting last month, . 
  • Awarded a bid to complete the to Ohno Construction Co. of Fontana. Randy Rowles, executive director of facilities and plant operations, said Ohno has completed three bleacher projects for school districts throughout Southern California to rave reviews. The stadium is scheduled to be completed by June, and the synthetic track will go in during the summer, Rowles said. Everything is on track for the Stallions to enjoy home football games at home. They currently use ’s facilities to host home games.
  • Heard from . Patton's supporters continued their protest over how the district has handled its investigation into allegations that Patton was involved in a kickback scheme with a now-defunct sports equipment company.
Capo mom September 30, 2011 at 01:09 PM
"These "assumptions" are not made randomly." No they aren't, lol. They are made when CUEA requires them.
Capo Parent September 30, 2011 at 07:54 PM
Private businesses and individuals make reasonable assumptions and projections based on facts. Gov't entities seem to make assumptions based on hopes and wishes. Prime example, Cal. gov't "assuming" $4 billion in additional revenue. What "facts" did the Cal. gov't rely on in making such an assumption? (Was it the 12.1% unemployment rate? The depressed housing market? The increase in the number of familes living below the poverty line? The increasing number of adult kids who have to live with their families to survive? The dramatic drop in the value of homes and real property?)This assumption was widely ridiculed and for good reason, it has no basis in fact or reality. The Cal. gov't made the assumption so it didn't have to make more cuts to education. So far this yea, Cal. collection of taxes is behind last year. Let's hope the substantial automatic cuts to education are not triggered because things could get ugly if they are triggered.
Pam Sunderman September 30, 2011 at 08:33 PM
Are you making the assumption that only forecasts by private businesses are always on target or "based on facts?" And assuming the experts are found only in the private sector? Your summations reflect your opinions but are not based on fact. Even individuals must make predictions based on potential ups and downs in the economy. The schools must be funded..or do you consider them expendable?
Capo Parent September 30, 2011 at 10:04 PM
I'm not assuming anything, I'm explaining to you how the real world works vs. how gov't entities operate. Yes, people make assumptions and predictions basd on the ups and downs in the economy, i.e. facts and reality. Cal gov't forecasted $4 billion in additional revenue based on what? CUSD is relying on that forecast based on what? (Leave aside that by relying on the state's rosy & unrealistic projection of additional revenue CUSD avoids making real tough cuts.) If you want a glimpse of why the Cal govt. projection of an additional $4 billion in revenue is pie in the sky dreaming read the following: http://money.msn.com/market-news/post.aspx?post=a4094841-2f9e-40d8-ba1a-ffc9928d6835 Education already consumes roughly 50% of the state's budget. Schools are funded, just not at the level you would like. Given how hard the Big Recession hit and the percentage of the budget education consumes, it is not surprising that education funding has been cut hard. However, cutting back dramatically is a reality that most individuals and businesses have faced for the last 3 to 4 years. Relying on unrealistic revenue projections does not alter reality, even if the state and CUSD think otherwise.
Pam Sunderman September 30, 2011 at 10:51 PM
I wonder how cutting back drastically on education will affect the future employees of the business community... No one is relying on unrealistic revenue projections. School districts are already planning for the worst.

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