Local school districts continue to face tough times

December 21, 2011
Santa Paula News

Both the Santa Paula Elementary (SPESD) and the Santa Paula Union High School Districts (SPUHSD) are looking at very tight budgets the next two years, as the state budget crisis continues.

However, not all the news is bad. 

The SPESD has declared a positive first interim certification for the next two years. The district had issued a qualified report for the past two years. A positive report means the district will be able to meet its financial obligations. The SPUHSD also has declared a positive certification.

Terri Renelli, director of Budget & Finance, told trustees of the SPESD, “This district has worked very hard and made tough decisions and although we’re saying we are going to do a positive certification, we’re not out of the woods yet. There are still many things that can happen, but at this point in time we have an ending balance that we felt warranted a positive certification.”  

Renelli noted the district is maintaining a balanced budget by using ending balance money to cover the deficit spending. “Thank goodness because of the prudent activities of the district over the last two years we have an ending fund balance that will help us sustain that,” she added. 

If the state doesn’t come up with cost of living increases, she said the carryover money will disappear and the district could be insolvent by 2013-14. She also said the state budget deficit is estimated at $13 billion dollars and mid-year cuts can be expected.

Renelli said the district will likely face more tough decisions. This could include furlough days, increased class size, “all of those things that we really don’t want to do, but we will probably continue to have tough decisions to make for a little while into the future.”

The SPUHSD is facing a similar situation. Donna Rose, executive director of Business/Administrative Services told the board the adopted budget ending fund balance for the current year has been increased by $926,000 dollars. That increase is because of carryover funds and deferred revenues. She said they do show a continuing deficit over the next two years, and added that the governor could make budget cuts in January so they need to have more than one plan.  

Assuming the status quo, a potential mid-year reduction in revenue would take at least $328,000 from the district budget. That would increase the deficit from $762,000 to about $1 million dollars. As is the case with the SPESD, the High School District probably has enough carryover funds to balance the budget the next few years.

Governor Brown is anticipating that voters will approve an increase in the state sales tax, which could bring $7 billion dollars in additional state revenue. The governor has said he will propose more budget cuts next year, even if voters approve the increased tax.

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.