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Mantecas best guess: Budget has $5.9M deficit
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For now, the Manteca Unified budget for the 2010-11 school year adopted Tuesday is one based on assumptions.

“It’s our best guess,” Superintendent Jason Messer said. “The State of California is still without a budget – all we can do is hang on and see what the state does and proceed until the 45-day revise.”

That best guess includes a deficit of minus $5,945,293 based on the projected revenue of $147.6 million and offset by expenditures at $153 million.

The revenue comes from several sources – local, state and federal – while expenditures include mostly staffing. Rollover money from the previous years could narrow the gap in the area of deficit spending, Messer said.

Trustees, as an assurance given any worst-case scenario, had approved a fund transfer from a retirement fund to a designated account or economic reserve of $9.5 million that only they can monitor in order to take care of payroll.

A large portion of the MUSD budget is tied to employee salaries, according to Jacqui Breitenbucher, director of business services.

In order to develop the budget, she and her staff went on the following assumptions:

•The district, during the 2010-11 school year, will continue to reduce spending in response to the state’s unexpected reductions in revenue.

•Administration will continue to use funding from Tier III categorical programs to meet the general obligations of the district.

•Administration will continue to staff classes at contract maximums, eliminating class-size reduction at kindergarten-through-third-grade levels and freshmen English and Math.

•The district is projecting an additional loss in revenue due to a reduction of 145 ADA (average daily attendance).

•Cash flow is expected to be negatively impacted due to state revenue deferrals and further state reductions.

•The cost of living adjustment (COLA) for 2010-11 will be minus-0.39 percent.

•Administration has budgeted 3 percent for economic reserve.

•The state has not finalized its budget and MUSD administration can only expect to make additional cuts.

The district will also lose $8 million in federal Title IV (Safe and Drug-Free Schools) funding. This was one-time money used last year to help pay employee salaries.

Public schools have until June 30 to pass next year’s budget.

“We still have to wait and see what the state does,” Messer added.