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Manteca Unified budget at mercy of Sacramento
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Manteca Unified’s revenue and spending plan for the school year 2012-2013 was accepted Tuesday night by the Board of Trustees by a unanimous 7-0 vote.

However, while the fiscal blueprint is approved, the numbers remain fluid until everything is settled in Sacramento where state lawmakers are still hammering out and massaging a new budget in a marathon effort to get rid, or at least, whittle down a $15.7 billion budget gap. Much of the figures from Sacramento will affect the school district’s final budget since the major source of its revenues – 90 percent which comes from average daily attendance (ADA) which translates to $141,661,304 – comes from the state. The rest of the revenue comes from federal and local sources at 5 percent each.

Other highlights of the budget as presented by district Senior Director of Business Services Jacqui Breitenbucher:

• the new budget has a deficit of $1,692,828 with the projected revenue at $157,309,046 lower than expenses which stand at $159,001,874;

• the hiring freeze will continue to stay in place;

• inconsistencies in the adopted budget are due to the economy and other factors which make projections difficult;

• the district is not deficit-spending.

“Our district is in very good standing compared to surrounding districts,” and that’s mainly due to the conservative stance adopted by the board in spending money and approving previous budget cuts, said Breitenbucher who thanked the board for their prudent foresight.

Superintendent Jason Messer added that the district did not deficit-spend the last two years either.

The district officials did not mince their words in their criticism of what state officials are doing with the budget in Sacramento. Messer cited as an example the money for the legally mandated Transitional Kindergarten program but which state officials could still decide not to fund. Struggling to find a less harsh term to use for the word “rape,” the superintendent said the governor “has the right to take money” from such programs which already has been done to the RDA (redevelopment) monies.

Trustee Manuel Medeiros made no effort to sugarcoat his words. “We have a bunch of idiots in Sacramento. This is insane; it’s insane,” he said.

Trustee Michael Seelye chose to exercise restraint and prudence. When his turn came to make a comment, the soft-spoken retired professor simply told board president Evelyn Moore, “I would, but it’s not printable.”

“Even though the state has not given us a real budget, we still have to adopt a new budget,” explained Moore just before the roll-call vote.