As school districts all over the state continue to wrestle with the effects of the state's budgetary woes, the Fountain Valley School District's Board of Trustees will consider the district's $45 million budget at its regular meeting Thursday night.
The $45 million figure is about $2 million less than last year's $47 million budget, thanks in part to a reduction in federal money of about $2.5 million. Overall, the district would be operating under what Assistant Superintendent for Business Steve McMahon called a "status quo budget," meaning that the district has essentially been able to maintain, with programs neither added nor cut.
What have been cut, however, are days from the school year. Even if Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative passes in November, the district will cut five days from its school year to make up the $2 million reduction in the overall budget. Should it fail, the state has authorized districts to cut as many as 15 additonal days.
"We're just so dependent upon what happens at the state level that when the state's in finanacial difficulty, schools, welfare, unemployment take up a certain portion of the state government," McMahon said. "And we're just one of the mouths that need to be fed. Pending what happens in November, we're going to be either sticking with what we have, or we're going to have to make some major changes. We're going to start the year off with a wait-and-see attitude."
In addition to funding problems at the state level, cost for benefits could also go up by 9.6 percent by January, McMahon said. For the time being, the district will be able to offset that increase through retirements.
The board will also make a final decision as to whether to go forward with a proposed bond issue election in November. In a survey conducted earlier this month, 54 percent said they would be willing to vote for the bond issue, which would bring in about $19 million initially, and a total of about $30 million over the life of the bonds.