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Ripon Unified budget includes $986,041 deficit

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POSTED June 26, 2013 1:39 a.m.

Ripon Unified will see some increased staffing along with restoration of more furlough days.

That’s among the highlights for the 2013-14 budget adopted Monday at a special school board session.

On other side of the coin, RUSD has to deal with decreased enrollment along with deficit spending.

“Development of this budget has been very challenging with the economy of the State, passage of new Propositions, and still continued uncertainty of the State’s direction in a possible new funding formula,” Superintendent Louise Johnson said.

Included is Gov. Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula that recently gained approval from the state Legislature. Superintendent of Schools Mick Founts call this “a complete redesign of the funding formulas for K-12 education to a magnitude not experienced since the passage of Proposition 13 which occurred 35 years ago.”

He urged districts to proceed with extreme caution in making financial decisions that may be dependent on “any expectations of new discretionary unrestricted revenues” resulting from LCFF.

Founts added: “There is still more that we do not know about the specific effects of the LCFF.”

RUSD Chief Business Officer Clarice Luis gave estimated actual consisting of a year-end surplus of $551,192 for the 2012-13 fiscal year budget.

The district will welcome one high school Spanish/English teacher, a Coordinator of Instructional Service person, staffing for the new Continuation High School and instructional aides to help out with the Continuation school site and Independent studies.

Luis pointed out that the restoration of six of the seven furlough days along with all current programs currently budgeted will continue on for next year.

For teachers, step-and-column increases are included but other from that no other salary increases will be budgeted.

Unemployment insurance was reduced for the upcoming budget year while funding for home-to-school transportation will continue.

The projected budget included revenue at $19.8 million – down $728,824 from the 2012-12 budget – and expenditures at $20.8 million, which is up $808,409 compared to a year ago. The result of that is an overall deficit of $986,041 for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Not to be alarmed, but Luis described the upcoming budget as “a living, breathing document” that’s subjected to change almost on a daily basis.

Some of the loss in revenue can be traced to enrollment being down 59 students and the Averaged Daily Attendance showing a reduction at $114.70 per ADA due to those declining numbers. The result of that, according to Luis, is a loss of revenue limit funding at $541,949 for 2013-14.

The district awaits contributions for restricted programs such as Special Education, JROTC, and transportation. Some of the funding here could come from the federal and/or state.

A routine restricted maintenance match coupled with the on-going deferrals from the state also factor into deficit spending.

The total general fund will be made up of 76.23 percent in revenue limit and the other 23.77 percent coming local, state and federal revenue.

As for expenditures, Luis noted that 83.59 percent will account for salaries and benefits. “We are in the people business,” she said.

Her budget assumptions included a possible 45-day revise if Gov. Brown’s LCFF is enacted for 2013-14 fiscal year coupled with the project Cost of Living Adjustment at 1.565 percent , deficit factors at 77.728 percent, ADA decline, changing staff, and changing laws and regulations, to name a few.

Other revenue assumptions were based on ADA projected to decline to 122 for 2013-14, and minus-75 for the next two fiscal years.

RUSD’s estimated reserves are anticipated at $8.1 million. Of that, $3.2 million would be for cash and the balance of $4.9 million is earmarked for deferrals owned to the district from the state, according to Luis.

“We will continue to keep a close eye on cash flow,” she said. “As you know, deferrals are money that is owned to us in the form of an IOU and we cannot consider this money available to spend until we actually receive those funds.”

In addition, Luis is scheduled to close the books for the 2012-13 fiscal year – included are the unaudited actuals, reflecting the district’s financial activity for the past year – in September.

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