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RESERVES ARE LIKE YOUR OWN SAVINGS ACCOUNT. YOU CAN KEEP DRAWING IT DOWN, BUT IF YOU CAN'T REPLENISH IT, EVENTUALLY IT'S GONE

Original post made by Pleasanton Resident, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on May 12, 2009

Back in 2003, a year of "unprecedented level of budget deficit for the state," which Dr. Casey said could go on for 2 or 3 more years, PUSD realized the value of maintaining reserves to weather future financial storms.
But as former Business Services Director Sandra Lemmons noted - the reserves are like a savings account - once you spend it it's gone.
See the following Pleasanton Weekly article.


Publication Date: Friday, January 24, 2003



District wrestles with 'drastic' funding shortfall
State deficit hits Pleasanton schools
by Jeb Bing


Already nearly seven months into the school year, the Pleasanton school board Tuesday took the first steps toward covering an estimated $2.2 million shortfall in its current budget year and considered ways to handle a $3 million shortfall looming next year.
The shortfalls, which Superintendent John Casey called "drastic," result from state funding cutbacks for education as Gov. Davis and the Legislature deal with a $34.6 billion state budget deficit.

And there could be more financial problems ahead.

"This is an unprecedented level of budget deficit for the state," Casey said. "This thing could be going on for two or three more years after the current fiscal year."

In a special 2-1/2 hour workshop to discuss potential budget adjustments, the board heard proposals by Assistant Superintendent Sandra Lemmons and others that would cover the shortfalls, but possibly at a cost to programs, services and school district staff. Although no votes or actions were taken, there appeared to be consensus among board members to accept Lemmon's plan to tap into a reserve fund for $1 million to meet shortfalls in both the current budget year and again in 2003-04.

There was also agreement to consider using $600,000 set aside to pay for the planned Neal Elementary School startup, at least for the current year. School Board President Kris Weaver said she would object to using this budget set-aside next year, which could be needed if Neal is built and opened before 2005. The $10 million school, which is planned for property the school district owns in the Vineyard Corridor, would serve elementary age children from nearby Ruby Hill and other eastside neighborhoods.

Although the "L" word - for layoffs - wasn't used as part of Lemmon's initial adjustments, cutbacks in the school district's management, clerical and teaching staff have been the talk on school campuses for weeks. As part of the collective bargaining process, teachers must receive notification by March 15 if their jobs could be on the line for the next school year.

"To make these adjustments without paying attention to the March 15 deadline would be unrealistic," Casey said.

Pleasanton may be in better shape to meet one or two years of state cutbacks than other districts because the school district here has maintained a reserve fund of about 6 percent of its near-$100-million budget. The state mandates a 3 percent reserve for school districts.

"But these reserves are like your own savings account," she explained. "You can keep drawing it down, but if you can't replenish it, eventually it's gone."

Unlike other districts, including some that don't have even the 3 percent in their reserves, Pleasanton is fortunate to have kept its reserve level high at about 5.7 percent, Lemmons said.

Besides using Neal startup funds and tapping into the reserve, Lemmons said the district could realize $279,000 from a mandated school improvement fund that the state may allow districts to use, and another $150,000 in reductions in staff development hours.

Casey said that more than 100 e-mails, phone calls and letters from school district staff, teachers and the community have been submitted as suggestions for coping with budget shortfalls this year and next. They included proposals to stop approving new courses to save on textbooks and materials, reducing the number of counselors in the elementary and middle schools, a custodian hiring freeze and to review the need for reading specialists at elementary schools.

Lemmons said that the state's allocation of $300,000 for class size reductions also has been cut, but board members indicated they would vote to continue the program. Lemmons said that the state could help districts continue these programs by allowing more flexibility so that schools could exceed the 20.4 absolute limit set by the state on a temporary basis. The state now strips schools of state funding for any school that exceeds that limit, even for a day.

Arick Little, a mathematics teacher at Amador Valley High School, urged the board to keep Class Size Reduction (CSR) programs in the ninth grades.

"As a teacher of 13 years, the CSR program helps students overcome obstacles they are facing in math," he said. "Don't pull this program out from under the kids. They need it."

Other teachers, including Amador Valley's Vivian Straight and Kelly Ching, joined Little in urging that the board continue funding CSR programs.

"The high number of kids who are passing the high school exit exams in Pleasanton can be attributed to the emphasis we are giving these kids in smaller writing classes," said Ching, a teacher of freshman English. "We are seeing the difference that these 20-1 class sizes have on just the first essay that they write."

Alisal Elementary School reading specialist Candace Cease and PE specialist Laurence Cohn of Fairlands Elementary told the board that specialists are needed at the elementary levels.

"We read every day about our young people who are overweight and in dire risk to their health," Cohn said. "We're seeing juvenile diabetes at younger ages and other problems due to obesity. Pleasanton is five times above the current state level set for PE standards. We want to continue that."

Board members also asked staff help in looking at possible revenue generators that could help reduce program costs and add money for more. Suggestions included charging fees for staff development courses, which are now paid by the district, charging for summer school and raising fees for school lunches.

Board President Weaver said the district should also consider a parcel tax for Pleasanton.

"Many people I have talked to who have moved to Pleasanton from other districts have suggested that we should consider a parcel tax," she said. "We should consider it in time for a vote on the issue in November if it would make a difference."

Casey said he will have firm recommendations on covering the 2002-03 budget shortfall ready for the board's consideration and approval at its meeting this Tuesday at 7 p.m. At its Feb. 11 meeting, he will make similar recommendations for handling the anticipated budget shortfall for the 2003-04 school year.



Comments (30)

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Posted by Troy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 11:45 am

I am not sure why the history lesson is needed. We all are aware of the nightmare of the politicians in Sacramento spending without a plan. In 2003 PUSD considered a parcel tax and opted to not to put it on the ballot. This PUSD budget shortfall is 4.5x greater than the one in 2003. All due to the free spending politicians in Sacramento. Let's have some local control over our schools and keep State politics away from our schools.


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Posted by Bob
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 11:50 am

Troy

So true. I am sick and tired of the State trying to micromanage our schools. I am hearing that the district is getting more money $4M but it will only go to restore the manatory 3% reserve. What the Feds give the State takes away. Seems odd that the State would take current year dollars away only to give some of it back from the Feds. More over its only one time $. The State budget continues to cut funds from the schools.


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Posted by Troy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 11:51 am

Bob

Yes. The State budget roll back funding for the schools back to 2007 levels next and subsequent years. Indeed tough times.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 12, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Apparently PUSD's spending has increased by soooo much that they can't live on 2006-2007 levels? Hrm what happened in 2007? Oh yea, they hired a bunch of counselors to lower the ratio. How does that improve test scores again?


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Posted by Linda
a resident of Foothill Knolls
on May 12, 2009 at 12:41 pm

There has not been an explaination of what happened to he reserve. We have been told that the district has done a great job making millions of dollars worth of cuts, to the point that "there is no fat left to cut." But at the last budget meeting Luz said the 4 million that was left in reserve (after administative raises?) went to offset the state cuts.
It does not appear to me that PUSD has done any belt tightening yet, only moving money around.
I would like to see an itemized list of where the reserve went.


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Posted by Rosemarie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Linda,

This is the way I understand the budget process to work:

1) The schools are given budget in the February timeframe from the state. The district then has to plan the upcoming school year's expenses against this budget.

2) In May, after all taxes are accounted for, there is a May revise from the state and this budget number (and monies) can go up or down. The district then has until July 1 to submit a new balanced budget for the upcoming school year to the county based upon the revised amount promised from the state.

3) Last year, PUSD was given a number that they planned against (which was $2M less than the budget from the year before), cuts were made and a budget was put together and given to the county for the 2008/2009 school year on July 1, 2008. This number had well over $4M in reserves as part of the budget.

4) In the middle of the year (try January 2009 I believe), the state came back and told the district that the money they were told they were going to receive for the 2008/2009 school year, and had planned against, was now being reduced by over $4M!

5) Since the district was in the middle of the school year, and had programs (can you say classes and teachers?) going full swing, their only option was to cut expenses that were not related to the classroom, which they immediately did.

The other programs had to be paid for from the reserves (you can't cut classes in the middle of the year - can you imagine the chaos of re-allocating children into different, and larger classes, in the middle of the year?)

6) Hence, our reserve was used up based on the money promised from Sacramento and then not delivered to the district.

7) The $4.5 or so in Federal money that is being talked about is being given to the school district to make up for using their reserves for programs in the current (2008/2009) school year - it does not help for the upcoming, or following, school years, as it is one-time money.

If a school district does not have at least 3% in reserves, it is taken over by the state. There are currently over 240 school districts in CA that are in state receivorship.

By law, the district HAS to give a balanced budget to the county by July 1. If Measure G does not pass, the programs outlined by the district will be cut. Once cut, it will be very difficult to recreate them and get them back up to speed.

NOTE: For people to say that we can get these programs back in the future, ask any manager the amount of time that is spent when you try and hire someone. The district will have to go thru a re-hiring process to get the teacher's back into these programs. Some teachers will be lost to the district permanently as they will have either moved on, or maybe even out of the state.

I have yet to hear any mention of the re-hiring, and re-start costs of these programs from the anti-G folks, as there will be thousands of dollars, as well as hundreds of hours, needed to accomplish this.

These programs are not like a car that will just sit there until you turn the ignition on! It took the district years to create what we have.

Also, the current budget given to PUSD this past February for the 2009/2010 school year, assumed a certain revenue amount from taxes (which we already know is over $8 billion short), as well as the passage of the May 19th propositions. If the May 19th propositions fail, then the May revise numbers given to PUSD either the end of May or in early June, will be reduced from those given in February.

The state will need to cut an additional $14-16 billion from the budget; 40-60% of these monies was to go to education.

Hope that helps.






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Posted by Get educated!
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 5:32 pm

Rosemarie- very well said. Especially points 3,4,5. PUSD is not asking for more money because they have wasted it away from poor management, they are having to work with millions less because funding for the schools did not arrive from the State. The schools have had to run all year dealing with this lack of funding.

Many of us hear you loud and clear since this is an accurate picture of what has been happening. Our high performing schools are a reflection of our stellar school district and committed community.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 12, 2009 at 5:43 pm

Read the date of the article, 2003. Read the superintendent's comments: "drastic" and "unprecedented." Then read: "Pleasanton may be in better shape to meet one or two years of state cutbacks than other districts because the school district here has maintained a reserve fund of about 6 percent of its near-$100-million budget. The state mandates a 3 percent reserve for school districts.

"But these reserves are like your own savings account," she explained. "You can keep drawing it down, but if you can't replenish it, eventually it's gone."

"Unlike other districts, including some that don't have even the 3 percent in their reserves, Pleasanton is fortunate to have kept its reserve level high at about 5.7 percent, Lemmons said."

From drastic and unprecedented and a nearly 6% reserve to 14+% in COLAs (raises) in 2005-08 and a spending down of the reserves. There is the problem in black and white. They know, as I have said, that state funding ebbs and flows. But they went from cautious to careless.

And now, even with nearly $7 million coming in from the feds, money that buys us time to get back to control, there is a push to believe the fed money isn't enough either. How can anyone believe the parcel tax will be enough or that it will disappear in four years?


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 6:47 pm

Before voting on having a parcel tax, ask yourself Has the School District done everything they can to bring down costs or does the School District just want maintain business as usual and keep their current salaries and benefits? With the economy the way it is dont you think everyone should share.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 12, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Rosemarie wrote: "3) Last year, PUSD was given a number that they planned against (which was $2M less than the budget from the year before), "

Do you know what that $2MM was for? It was so they could "rollover" (i.e., raises) the budget without a COLA from the State. It wasn't $2MM less than the budget from the year before. The budget from 2008-2009 was $2MM BIGGER than the budget from the year before. It's on the district's own website. Their costs INCREASE by $2MM annually.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 12, 2009 at 7:26 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Now someone tell me that they seriously believe that after the budget crisis of 2003, when PUSD was getting quite high COLAs from the State because of the windfall in property taxes due to the hot housing market, that PUSD was unable to replenish their reserves up to the 7% goal.


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Posted by Rosemarie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 7:33 pm

Let me see if I understand this correctly;

From 2005 thru 2008 PUSD had over 5% in reserves; balanced a budget every year; became one of the top 10 districts in the state with numerous blue ribon schools and phenommenol API scores, and awarded the teachers with negotiated COLA raises? (not to get on a left tangent, but it would be interesting also to see what our property values did during that time....)

I am a big believer in rewarding preformance, and if this is not performance on the side of PUSD, then I do not know what is.

One could say that PUSD should have had 10% in reserves, but no one - none of us on this blog - could have predicted what was going to occur in 2008/2009 from an economic perspective. If PUSD had a 10% reserve, I am sure there would have been people out there bashing the district for being too 'stingy' and robbing our students of other items or not rewarding those who teach our children.

So, how much should the district have had in reserves if the 5-6% was not enough?

Another point: Has the state ever come to the district and drastically cut, in the middle of the year, a budget previously given?!? If so, when and how much was cut? I am unaware of this ever having happened....how could the district prepare for this type of event?

I understand that there are those that are not supporters of the parcel tax, but how can one say that $7M will give us time to get things into control when the funds are specifically allocated?

I am getting the feeling that if anything, the state and Washington D.C. are going to leave us to 'take care of our own' until this mess turns around.

As for the 4 years, it will have to be re-voted in by a 2/3rd majority at that time. There would need to ba another campaign, and I am sure, another round of 'blog' dialogues. We can only hope that by that time, Sacramento and DC will have their act together (or other people in charge).

Here is my understanding of the $7M that is mentioned:

Pleasanton is projected to receive two types of one-time federal dollars as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA):

$2.5 million in Special Education funding, half of which can be used to offset what we already spend for special education and half of which must be used for new student program costs.

$4.24 million in State Fiscal Stabilization Funding, which is intended to backfill cuts the state made mid-year, as announced by the California Department of Education on May 8th.

It is important to note that these funds, while very welcome, are one-time monies that do not address the ongoing reduced level of education revenue to our school district from the state.

Further, the State Budget Act of February 2009 assumes passage of all of the statewide propositions on the May 19th ballot:

If the propositions fail, as are projected at the time of this writing, the independent Legislative Analyst's Office is predicting a state budget shortfall of $6 billion.

This comes on top of a state budget deficit that has grown by an estimated $9.8 billion since February.

The legislators will have to go back to the drawing board and come up with further cuts in order to balance the state's budget. School districts are being told to prepare for additional cuts to education in the state's May & June budget revise, as well as to expect delays in cash payments from the state due to the state's cashflow problems.

There really is 'no time' and the picture as it relates to public education financing, is ugly here in CA. It may well be that the parcel tax is not enough, but it will at least protect those programs identified by the district as well as the Budget Advisory Committee.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 12, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Much of the discussion in this thread is about revenue history and expectations based upon its history of usually increasing each year. Nothing is discussed about expense reduction, increasing efficiency of spending, or productivity increases in view of uncertain revenue amounts or lack of revenue increases.

THAT'S THE PROBLEM FOLKS! Government generally, school districts being a big part of government spending, is not responsive to real world economic realities and simply looks to tax increases as the solution to the problem THEY CREATE BY THEIR BEHAVIOR of being large revenue consumers. Union dictated step and column increases are a big piece of that along with a great propensity for government to hire excessively in order to consume revenue windfalls, which over the last decade and a half they have come to expect.

Fun time is over. Parcel tax or no parcel tax. Planning has to be realistic and not assume the golden goose of the private sector is laying golden eggs every year for government to spend. School district management is guilty of the sin of expecting gratuitous revenue increases each and every year. Soon, you will see the cities suffering the same problem. Many already are.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 12, 2009 at 9:19 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Rosemarie wrote:

"From 2005 thru 2008 PUSD had over 5% in reserves...became one of the top 10 districts in the state"

How disingenuous. PUSD has been a great district from before 2005 and many in Pleasanton moved here for the schools long before.

"none of us on this blog - could have predicted what was going to occur in 2008/2009 from an economic perspective."

How is this a reason to vote yes on G? Trouble signs were already occurring in 2007 and PUSD gave raises right before the State told them to not give raises. PUSD, like most government, has been spending money on the expectation that enrollment will grow. That's fiscally irresponsible of them. PUSD knows better than most of us that funding from the State is up and down and that they must plan accordingly. They stopped doing that. That's a big problem.

"It may well be that the parcel tax is not enough, but it will at least protect those programs identified by the district as well as the Budget Advisory Committee."

Perpetuating this myth, eh? There's nothing written into Measure G that guarantees specific funding levels for those programs. What do you think the District is going to do with Measure G programs if the State indeed cuts even more? Instead of spending time campaigning for Measure G, perhaps SPS should get in gear and start lobbying the State now to prevent more cuts.


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Posted by Russell
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 12, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Kathleen,

The downturn in funding earlier in the decade was far smaller than the one that is occurring now. Look at the numbers. I don't need to repeat them here. This is not a normal cyclical downturn. It directly tied to the credit crisis caused largely by a hidden derivatives market. No one, not the PUSD, not you are I could have seen this coming. The magnitude of the downturn could only have been anticipated by people like John Paulson, and they weren't telling.

Web Link

I would have been surprised if PUSD had not come to the taxpayers now, with a downturn of this magnitude.

I'm not convinced that they have managed money recklessly, but even if I grant that, not passing Measure G will clearly impact the children. If those programs are cut, the children will suffer the loss. I'm willing to step forward and say education is too important. I don't see how defeating Measure G will accomplish the goal of "punishing" the department. I do see how it will punish the children.

I think it bears repeating that our good schools are part of what keeps our property values high. I've asked before -- Why would real estate agents say failure to pass measure G would impact home values if they didn't believe it was true? What's in for them?


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Posted by Be Positive
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 12, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Actually disingenuous is not the correct term. PUSD did reach the top 10 percent in the state in the last five years. Disingenous means to lie, deceive, or be hypocritical.

Rosemarie, you couldn't have said it better. In no way are you being disingenuous with the facts you have explained so clearly.


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Posted by Russell
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 12, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Following on to my previous post, if you want to punish PUSD, the best way to do it is in 2010 when voters have the opportunity to replace them.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 12, 2009 at 9:48 pm

The best way to reduce run-away government spending is to simply use your right to direct democracy to vote NO on any and all tax increases, no matter how well they may be hidden in the myriad propositions that special interests like teacher's unions put before you, the voter.


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Posted by Russell
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 12, 2009 at 9:58 pm

@Frank

In general terms, I agree that runaway spending in things like medicare and social security are wrecking the economy and placing a huge burden on future taxpayers. But I don't agree that all tax increases are bad. It is similar to across the board spending cuts. Some agencies clearly need deep cuts. Others probably need their funding increased. If a tax a targeted at a specific area that needs increased funding I'll vote for it.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 12, 2009 at 10:03 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Top 10 as measured by what? I'm sure it wasn't due to the lower student-counselor ratio, which Measure G funds will go to. Nor did we have CSR at other grade levels. And the parental involvement part of the equation is left out completely. PUSD didn't do it on their own.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 12, 2009 at 10:06 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"I've heard throughout the community people saying, 'The Excellence Committee is great, but you're just going to add a parcel tax and make us pay.' But that is not the case," Kernan said. Web Link


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 12, 2009 at 10:10 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"In the end, the board agreed to authorize the district to hire new counselors up to the $602,126 maximum cost, but left it open where the funding would come from. Casey said the hiring of counselors will be contingent on the additional state funding and if the district receives any additional funds from increased enrollment."

(Note that it costs close to $1MM now for those counselors hired two years ago.)


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 12, 2009 at 10:14 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Rosemarie,

I forgot to also point out that you left off mention of the additional ARRA funds expected to be announced in June to restore cuts to the categorical programs. The $4.2MM is for general revenue limit cuts.

You also sort of brushed the $4.2MM amount off as offsetting cuts made to this year. Well, cuts made to this school year are about half of the $9.7MM total budget shortfall. The cuts to the next school year make up the other half.


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Posted by Russell
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 12, 2009 at 10:20 pm

@Stacey

"And the parental involvement part of the equation is left out completely. PUSD didn't do it on their own."

I don't get the point of including that. School quality can fall apart in districts with good demographics (lots of highly educated parents) and high parental involvement. I've seen it personally. When schools lose too much funding, parents who can afford it eventually give up and put their kids in private schools or move. The ones who remained did worse and worse.

It happened where I grew up.


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Posted by frank
a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on May 12, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Russell, your definition of run-away government spending and mine are really different. I and you pay huge amounts into medicare and social security and these money's flow back to us, or are supposed to. When you pay your property taxes, sales taxes, and state personal income taxes they flow into salaries of government employees!!!! What are you talking about? I am totally confused how medicare and social security taxes are to be compared to taxes paid that go to pay government employees. What are you smoking?


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 12, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

From Web Link

For 2008-2009, PUSD's revenue limit was reduced by $210 ADA for a total of $3MM. Categorical programs were reduced by 15.4% for $1.1MM.

For 2009-2010, PUSD's revenue limit was reduced by $83 per ADA for a total of $1.2MM. Categorical programs are reduced by 4.5% for $0.3MM.

Add them up...
Revenue limit: $3MM + $1.2MM = $4.2MM (wow! same amount received by PUSD for revenue limit cuts from State Fiscal Stabilization Fund)
Categorical programs: $1.1MM + $0.3MM = $1.4MM (who wants to bet with me that this is the amount PUSD will receive in June from State Fiscal Stabilization Fund?)

But wait just a minute! The shortfall is $9.7MM over two years! These numbers don't add up, you say? Well that's because we forgot to throw in the step and column increases! The State isn't providing a COLA increase to the revenue limit to pay for these this year and probably next. $1.5MM for this year. $1.5MM for next year. Now we're up to the shortfall!


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Posted by Russell
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 12, 2009 at 10:56 pm

Frank

As I understand it, medicare is just government sponsored health insurance. It isn't some pool of money that's kept somewhere that is eventually paid back to the tax payer. An individual could easily receive far more in Medicare "benefits" than he ever paid in taxes. Current taxpayers pay for current medicare recipients. Social security is a government sponsored retirement program. The "lock box" is just a myth. Current tax payers pay for current recipients. It is spending pure and simple. Medicare and social security are huge, inefficient bureaucracies with thousands of employees. Look at the pie chart for government spending. 38% of federal spending is for retirement programs, and it is the biggest category. Defense is the next biggest at 23%.

Web Link

I don't see how, at the federal level, you can balance the budget without doing something about Social Security and Medicare. What else can you cut that will have a big enough impact? Well this year and last you could cut the bailouts to financial services companies, but that is an anomaly (I hope).


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 12, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Rosemarie and Russell: From 2005-08, the district gave 14% in raises that required future COLA increases and enrollment growth to sustain them. Getting $x in and spending the same $x dollars is not balancing a budget; it's spending all you get. The district didn't put aside money for unfunded liabilities; it didn't put money in the budget line item "designated for economic uncertainty"; it's spending twice as much on this election than it had to.

Districts KNOW state funding ebbs and flows and so does enrollment (what their funding is based on). Good districts plan for it; 7% was the district's goal; it would make all the difference now.

Yes, the state has cut district budgets mid-year before. I'll let the yes side do the homework on that this time.

DC is handing us $7 million—how is that saying "take care of your own"?

So you want us to give the district $18 million and hope for better management from them and the state? The definition of insanity (not calling you insane) is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

$2.5 million for special education relieves the encroachment on the general fund—making general fund dollars available for, say, CSR.
$4.24 million in SFSF funds . . . relieves pressure on the general fund—making general fund dollars available for, say, CSR.

Parcel taxes are ONE TIME money, just longer by definition, in this case four years.

Russell, You seem to be ignoring the federal money. As to real estate agents –see how supportive our community is of schools, buy this house vs. you won't have to pay a parcel tax here, buy this house (apologies to my friends who are realtors). It's all about marketing.

Be positive: Rosemarie didn't have any facts.

Russell again, I'm all for waiting until November 2010 for new people and for waiting on the parcel tax. Why would we give $18 million to people we are willing to vote out of office?????


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on May 13, 2009 at 10:42 am

Stacey is a registered user.

The total actual cuts from the State for years 2008 through 2010 amount to $5.6MM. Supposedly most of the reserve was used to cover 2008-2009 cuts. The Federal stimulus so far covers the whole amount of cuts to revenue limit from 2008-2010. In June we should expect the whole amount of cuts to categorical from 2008-2010.

Another part of the shortfall is caused by increased funding requirement of $1.3MM for special ed. The district got $2.5MM from the feds for special ed.

All that leaves is figuring out how to pay for raises for 2008-2010 because they normally get paid for by State COLA, which the State isn't giving. No raises during years of no State COLA!


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Posted by Russell
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on May 13, 2009 at 9:05 pm

"see how supportive our community is of schools, buy this house vs. you won't have to pay a parcel tax here, buy this house (apologies to my friends who are realtors). It's all about marketing."

But if buyers see it that way, doesn't that mean it really does increase the value of houses if Measure G passes?

"Districts KNOW state funding ebbs and flows and so does enrollment (what their funding is based on). "

But it seems that this was a bigger ebb than anyone could have anticipated.

"7% was the district's goal; it would make all the difference now"

But I don't know when they stopped doing that? Was it long before the downturn started? If someone already posted this, I may have missed it, sorry if I did. I thought they were claiming to have spent down the reserves in response to cuts.


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