Revised budget affects Hollister School District

Trustees unanimously endorsed Superintendent Gary McIntire's plans for Calaveras School at this week's meeting.

Hollister School District officials don’t anticipate much additional money for public schools after taking a look at Gov. Jerry Brown’s May revision of the state budget.
The state’s new Local Control Funding Formula will still receive funding to the tune of the $4.5 billion level originally proposed in January. Changes to the budget that affected education included a plan to increase school district, employee and state contributions to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (Cal STRS) so the pension system won’t run out of money in the next few decades. If no action was taken, the pension system was projected to run out of money in 33 years, according to the state budget summary.
“I think the biggest takeaway was there wasn’t any big, big changes since his January proposal with the exception of the CalSTRS increase,” said Kathy Cunnane, the district’s director of fiscal services.
The district currently pays 8.25 percent into the pension program, but that number will bump to 8.88 percent in the 2014-15 year and will increase steadily to more than twice that number – or 19.1 percent – in the 2020-21 year.
The revised budget did not include additional funding to support the new Common Core State Standards, address special education shortfalls and fund early childhood education. There is also no proposal of a statewide school facilities bond, meaning districts will have to ask their local communities for facilities bonds to help fund capital improvement projects not already in their budgets.
Cunnane is not surprised that the revised budget didn’t provide any significant, new funding to the schools, but she had hoped things would turn out differently.
“They were kind of expected – especially about the facilities bond,” she said. “It was just unfortunate. We were all kind of hoping that some of these things he might include when it comes right down to it.”
Still, the schools are getting more money this year than in previous years. The passage of Proposition 30 – which temporarily raised tax rates to prevent cuts in education – and the growth in economy and resultant tax revenues led the governor to offer education the highest funding increase in history in his January proposal, according to a PowerPoint Cunnane shared with school board trustees at the regularly scheduled May 27 school board meeting.
In preparation for next school year, the Hollister School District approved next school year’s budget with $49,105, 254 in total expenditures at the regularly scheduled school board meeting June 24.  Under the new state funding formula, they’ll receive an additional $3.78 million more next school year than the district did this school year, Cunnane said.

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