Even though the state has received funds from the federal stimulus plan, it has yet to trickle down to the Pleasanton Unified School District.
At the regular school board meeting Tuesday night, assistant superintendent of business services Luz Cazares provided an update on the budget situation. As with the last updates, there is still a degree of uncertainty as to how the state will handle the money.
What is known is that PUSD is said to be receiving $2.1 million from the federal government to support special education. Cazares said the one-time funds, to be used over two years, would be divided in two: half of that would help offset the current shortfall and the other half to support cost increases in special education programming. PUSD has also applied to receive the federal dollars to the state. With applications due May 4, Cazares said she should know the status of the funds by mid-May.
Looking to the state, Cazares projected a grim picture from the Legislative Analysts office, which predicts being $8 billion short of their previous budget assumption and that deficit could increase to $14 billion come mid June. This latest shortfall would be in addition to the $41-billion deficit announced earlier in the year.
When it comes to handling the federal dollars, Cazares said the state may keep the federal dollars to offset the current cuts and will not be available to help for future cuts to funding.
School board member Pat Kernan called the federal aid "boomerang dollars."
"Not only are they going to take that money given away, but we're going to take more cuts," he said.
Responding to claims of mismanaged money, Kernan said they have had to dip into reserves in order to meet increasing state standards that come without funding. He also challenged people to be patient and come to the board meetings.
Until state funding is confirmed, Superintendent John Casey said that employee givebacks have resulted in $1.04 million in reductions. The management team has agreed to three furlough days, and classified employees and teachers both agreed to two. These concessions, however, are dependent on the Measure G passing.
"If [the parcel tax doesn't pass, we're going to come back to see what we need to do," Casey said. "We'll see what the scenarios are and may give more or the same, or we may give less days."
One confirmed reduction the district made was with cell phones. By reducing the number of people with district-supplied cell phones and reworking the plan agreements, they were able to save about $75,000 from this year to next year.