Hollister schools to operate in budget deficit for ‘19-’20 year

District trims teacher coaching program, assist supe spot

With a few modifications to its Local Control Accountability Plan, Hollister School District’s Board of Trustees ratified its budget for the upcoming 2019-20 school year.

Total revenues for restricted and unrestricted funds were $62,276,550, while total expenditures were $63,693,750, according to the district’s budget presentation.

State aid accounts for 49 percent of general fund revenues, with 25 percent generated from property tax and the rest with other local, state and federal revenues. The district’s Average Daily Attendance for the 2019-20 year is estimated at $5,370 per student.

“In total, General Fund revenues are anticipated to be less than expenditures by $1.41 million (budget deficit),” according to the staff report. “It is not uncommon or cause for concern for a district to periodically deficit spend. This happens when the district receives money for a particular project or program in prior years then spends it in the current year.”

Even with that, the district is projected to maintain a $6.91 million general fund balance at the end of the 2019-20 year, according to the report. The total available for reserves is $6.24 million, which is 9.8 percent of budgeted expenditures.

The Hollister District’s 10 schools (five TK-5 elementary schools, two TK-8 schools, two 6-8 middle schools, one 4-8 school) serve about 5,670 students, which includes 40 percent English Learners.

Nearly half (49 percent) of unrestricted general fund expenditures pay certificated salaries (about $28 million) and 27 percent go toward employee benefits ($16.5 million) and 13 percent cover classified salaries ($9.5 million). The district employs more than 560 staff members. The district’s health benefits contribution for employees increased from $15,639 to $16,666 per full-time employee or $16.5 million the 2019-20 year.

“We’re good to go,” said Board President Stephen Kain of the district’s 2019-20 LCAP and budget. “We’re very positive about the future of Hollister School District. Our budget reflects the LCAP changes and we had quite a few. I’m very proud of both of them. I think we did a great job.”

Gone for the 2019-20 year is the district’s teacher coaching program, where the district pulled some of its top teachers from the classroom to work with colleagues to improve teaching methods and student outcomes.

“We pulled exceptional teachers from the classroom to work with any teacher who wanted help and they worked with them to improve their teaching methods,” Kain said. “We decided that we weren’t seeing enough bang for our buck from that program.”

Kain explained that by having less teachers in the classroom it also increased class sizes in Hollister.

“We did away with the program,” said Kain, nothing that those teachers either returned to the classroom or transitioned into assistant principal positions in Hollister or elsewhere.

Another major change was reorganization of the district office that included the elimination of the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum position. Those duties were divided up among various other current employees, according to Kain.

The first day of the 2019-20 school year for Hollister schools is Aug. 19.

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