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Ripon Unified rescinds most layoff pink slips
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A $20 million budget for the fiscal 2010-11 school year was approved by the Ripon Unified School District Trustees Monday night with the most of the layoff pink slips expected to be rescinded.

District superintendent Louise Nan said that all certificated, classified and management staff members should be thanked and recognized for their cost-saving efforts through the spending and hiring freeze along with numerous budget cuts.

The state’s cost of living adjustment dropped less than half of one percent.  Ripon’s base revenue limit was tentatively funded at $6,335 per student or average daily attendance, but was reduced to $5,188 due to the critical financial environment.  

The decrease represented $1,166 per student attending Ripon schools or an ongoing loss of $3.44 million.  The state also amended its 2009 one-time ADA reduction to an ongoing reduction for an additional $721,471 reduction in the new budget that goes into effect today.

Trustees adopted a resolution to accept state categorical funds with the authority to implement flexibility authorized by the state to use those funds for any educational use.

The state legislature and the governor have already imposed $11.6 billion in statewide education cuts over some two years since September of 2008.  Senate BillX34 allows the limited flexibility over the next five years giving school districts the ability to utilize funding received from the State Budget Act for “Tier 3” categorical programs.

The categorical funds amount to $818,841 of which $269,206 is listed as being encumbered for the particular stated uses.  The remainder of the flexible designation amounts to $549,635. The San Joaquin County Office of Education has reportedly agreed to accept the state categorical funds and utilize the flexibility provided through the related senate bill during the state’s fiscal crisis for needed educational program shortages.

Cuts toward balancing the new budget included reduction of five instructional days for the upcoming fiscal year from 180 to 175; the reduction of two staff development days for teachers and a reduction to the CLAD stipend to $325 for full-time employees; continuing of eight furlough days for administrators, management, confidential, custodial, secretarial and library staff; the decrease of 6.5 full time teachers from kindergarten through high school.

The reduction in the high school athletic stipends by 20 per cent will hopefully be restored in the 2011-12 fiscal year.  The elementary school teacher stipends are also cut out in the budget, but they are expected to be resumed beginning in 2011-12 through the following year.

The elementary schools lunch program cost to students was increased by 25 cents eliminating the need of a general fund allocation to the Food Service program.

Five full time teacher positions are being funded through a one-time federal stimulus appropriation of $355,450.  All teachers are expected to be moved back to unrestricted funding in the 2011-2012 school year.

The “home to school” transportation fee was increased to $1 per day producing $175 per student over the course of the school year.

The Special Education transportation costs carrying students to county programs saw a nine percent increase from $175,000 to $191,521.  Also in the next year is a carryover one-time federal stimulus funding for a district-wide upgrade to the Internet network.

The school site budgets are being restored to 80 per cent of their 2008-09 allotments.  

The state’s transportation contribution was decreased due to the increased transportation and five less days of school attendance.  It was cut by 23.25 percent being reduced to $107,961.  JROTC saw an increase of 1.2 per cent and the Special Education program saw a boost in funding of a little more than 20 percent to $761,193.

The funding for the Special Education program was increased due to the loss of one-time stimulus funding.  While there was a decrease in the cost of living adjustment for next year, there is expected to be no cost of living adjustment factored into the budget during the following year.