At the Calaveras Unified School District (CUSD) board meeting on May 7, the third interim report was presented by Kassandra Booth, director of fiscal services.

The report detailed an update of the current state of the $1.5 million shortfall for the 2018-19 schoolyear and projected shortages in future years that have left the district looking at possible financial solutions.

The financial activity through April 30 has been compiled, with the projected financial activity through June 30. There were not a lot of changes from the second interim report. The second and third reports include the governor’s January proposal. The next revision will come out in early May.

There were a few differences between the third and second interim reports. One item is that the attendance was updated and the daily attendance rate was higher than projected; 26.48% was projected, based on enrollment from past trends, which is 19% average daily attendance (ADA) higher than it was previously. The district still anticipates a 2% reduction in attendance based on the trends and average reduction sin attendance from the past five years.

Booth said that it would not impact the fiscal situation for the current year, but future years would be affected.

Property tax contribution to the district’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) increased from 72% at the second interim, to 74% at the third interim. Booth explained that from last year, property tax contributions to the LCFF had increased year-over-year by $1.1 million.

Of the overall revenue of the general fund, 77% of expenditures are to salaries and benefits. Books and supplies were 6%, capital outlay was 4%, other services and operations were 11% and other outgoing or miscellaneous expenses came in at 2%.

The next interim report will be released in June.

In the current school year, CUSD is facing a $1.5 million deficit; a $361,290 deficit in 2019-20 and a $436,990 deficit in 2020-21, which includes $1.5 million in reductions for 2019-20 and $344,981 reductions in 2020-21, which is part of the multiyear reduction plan (MYP).

In June the 2019-20 budget will be presented, which will include the MYP/budget for all three years, which will include further reductions.

Budgetary reductions were expected to be $1.8 million, around $300,000 more than the actual $1.5 million, which was due to a higher attendance level. That kept the district from making its reduction, including layoffs of certificated staff.

After May’s revised budget is released, the state’s adopted budget will alter it. The following items are expected to affect the MYP, moving forward: LCFF revenue and unduplicated pupil count, retirements, increasing needs of students with disabilities, instructional program upgrades, deferred maintenance, technology upkeep, future contract negotiations and minimum wage increases.

Of the different reasons cited for the decrease of funding for CUSD in recent years, attendance has been one of the major concerns for CUSD. According to Booth, countywide enrollment has declined significantly over the past decade. Since 2007, attendance for CUSD has declined in enrollment by 21.4%; the schools along the Highway 4 corridor school districts (including Bret Harte Union High School District, Vallecito Union School District, and Mark Twain Union Elementary School District) have experienced declined enrollment by 19.4%. Attendance is projected to continue to decrease at a steady pace of 2% in future years.

The governor’s 2019-20 revision will be released in May, the 2019-20 LCAP and proposed budget will be released in June, and the 2018-19 unaudited actuals will be released in September.

Megan Long, a former speech pathologist for CUSD and mother of two Calaveras High School students, is currently the CHS Grad Night chairwoman. Long addressed school maintenance, specifically the pool at CHS. The pool edge is failing, she said during public comment, causing injury and discomfort to swimmers.

Long said maintenance and continued repairs could have kept the issues from happening.

“The pool needs to be repaired, and it needs to be open prior to June 6 – this is ridiculous … it appears that the maintenance is being deferred to create a reason to fly a bond being researched for our next ballot,” Long said. “Board members are the overseers of this district; you continue to support Mark Campbell, even though his performance as a fiscal director of this district is dismal. We are in the second financial crisis under Mark in the leadership role. You can only blame the bookkeeper once, and that has already been done.”

Long went on to say she would not support a bond measure unless there were changes to the leadership of CUSD. According to district records, deficit spending is nothing new to the district. The total revenue received in 2017-18 was less than the revenue received in 2006-07.

Hugh Logan, manager of the San Andreas Sanitary District, and another representative from the district, gave a presentation on what is being called the Toyon Middle School Wastewater Regionalization Project, and the different options for building it.

Logan said that the project would be completely funded by a grant from the state, with a $6 million max cap of funding received from the grant. He said the plans and logistics intend to keep the yearly maintenance costs as low as possible. Part of the goal would be to obtain pasture land that is adjacent to the field, where an offsite spray field would be initiated. Logan said the district has already entered into negotiations with the owner of the land. There was deliberation about whether or not the property would be purchased at the appraised value or the offered value.

Logan was asking for the board to vote on closing the planning stage of the project and to move forward on the construction stage. The actual construction portion of the project would be contingent on the district obtaining the grant funding from the state.

After continued discussion about the project, the board passed the motion 4-1.

The plans will now go to the state resource board and if approved, the project manager will be notified and the construction phase will begin. If not approved and the grant money not received, the project will not happen.

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