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Failure of ballot measures may mean up to $23 million after Tuesday’s vote

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POSTED May 20, 2009 2:21 a.m.
Manteca Unified School District could be faced with having to make additional cuts somewhere between $5 million to $23 million based on Tuesday’s special election results.

That’s on top of the identified $23.5 million in cuts for a portion of this year and the 2009-10 school year, with those figures further supported during the first and second interim reports, according to Superintendent Jason Messer.

Ripon Unified expects to lose at least $1.8 million.

As of Tuesday, he received two proposals on the May revisions, providing him with six different financial projections. “The numbers are all over the place,” Messer said.

Regardless of the special election results, he’s anticipating the district may be forced to make more cuts this year and possibly next.

“The good thing is the year is almost over,” he said. “However, we may have to roll over (the cuts) to next year.”

The figures the district receives from the state are based on ADA or average daily attendance. Messer said his lowest projection ADA amount per student is $225, with that amount multiplied into 23,000 students totaling $5.1 million for MUSD.

“Even with some of the numbers we have it’s confusing,” Messer said. “If I had a crystal ball, it would be broken, shattered and thrown into the corner of the property by now.”

Take the ballot initiatives from the special election, for example.

“For education, I’m told we should be in better shape (if passed),” said Messer.

Many of the top educators including Superintendent Dr. Rick Wentworth of the San Joaquin County of Education have come out in support of the initiatives affecting education. In doing so, they’re hoping to put a cap on spending in California, recover some of the Prop 98 money for education, and earmark the tobacco tax as a coffer for preschools.

Educators are also anticipating legislature to go back in session if voters reject the initiatives to look for direction on making adjustments.

Regardless, Manteca Unified and other school districts throughout the state must have a budget in place by the June 30 deadline.

The district has already issued 261 layoff notices and has reached several stipulated agreements with the unions.

Messer said the pink slips will provide options for his board of trustees, who could be in position of rescinding some of the notices in the coming months.
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