The Pleasanton school board signed off on last year's unaudited financial actuals and added a little over $7.8 million to its reserves during its meeting earlier this month.
According to the Pleasanton Unified School District staff report, assigning more money to the reserve funds was necessary due to "economic uncertainties."
The unanimous vote on Sept. 8 brought the district's economic uncertainties fund to 3.78% -- the minimum required reserve level is 3% of total expenditures.
Unaudited actuals are an annual statement reporting the financial activities of school districts in which the data is not yet formally audited.
These financial activities include the district's actual revenues, expenditures and fund balance activity for the 2021-22 fiscal year. It also includes any financial activity since last year's actuals were reported during this year's budget adoption at the June 23 board meeting.
Tom Gray, executive director of fiscal services for PUSD, told the board that the district had a fund balance of $27.8 million and a deficit spending of up to $2.5 million mainly driven by "expenses on the unrestricted side of the general fund."
He added that the district's total revenues were $196 million and that the district's total reserve balance, which includes the economic uncertainties fund, stands at 6.94%.
"The 3.78% reserve for economic uncertainties is part of the 6.94% ... and it's actually reserved, it's in a separate accounting code and all of that," Trustee Joan Laursen said. "The undesignated part is just our overall balances and reserves, which includes the reserve for economic uncertainty."
Gray said that to him it's still very low.
"In my opinion, it's kind of a low balance," Gray said. "It's only like three weeks worth of expenses; we're operating a $200 million operation with a three-week reserve."
But Laursen said that it's still good practice to have extra money saved up in case of emergencies.
"It's better for us as an organization to have a bigger savings account, if you will," she said. "So having a little bit higher reserve protects us, protects our employees, protects our students and protects the district."
Another big category, Gray said, was in the district's total expenses of $199 million where salaries and benefits made up about $165 million.
Gray said that looking at variances from estimated to unaudited actuals, the district projected revenues were up by $1.4 million.
Looking at some of the comparisons from previous years, Gray highlighted that the total salaries and benefits compensation went up by 13.72%, the total reserves grew from 6.39% to the current 6.94% and contribution to special education increased by 20.92%.
"When we approve raises for our employees, those raises are also obviously applied to our special education staff and so whenever we have increases in our overall salary expense, we also increase our salary expense in special education," Laursen said. "Since that has never been fully funded by the state or the federal government ... the district has to make a contribution to that."
One of the main questions Trustee Kelly Mokashi had for Gray during the meeting was for clarity on a special reserve fund that shows $400,000 left to support the professional development.
Gray said that the district no longer sets money aside for professional development and will be fully spending the money this fiscal year.
As of Sept. 15, district staff were expected to have reported these financial statements to the Alameda County Board of Education, Alameda County Office of Education and California Department of Education.