Casey Goodall, TUSD Assistant Superintendent for Business Services, told the board during the Friday night meeting that the district’s expenditures of $116,717,955 is short of the state funding numbers by approximately $4.4 million and TUSD won’t know what funds will be available until after the Nov. 6 election. No members of the public were present during the meeting.
Goodall said the San Joaquin County Board of Education want districts to know that a failure of the tax initiative could mean a reduction of $441 per student. With approximately 15,000 students, Tracy Unified would take about a $6.9 million reduction in its approved budget.
He said the district can only afford to lose $275 per student.
Director of Financial Services Reed Call told the board that the loss of $275 per student could be covered by their reserve funds, but not much more. He did say that projected enrollment for 2012-2013 included 25 fewer students in August, but those numbers tend to fluctuate during the first few weeks of school.
If approved, Brown education tax initiative plans to generate about $9 billion annually by increasing the income tax by 3 percent on households earning more than $1 million dollars; by 2 percent on households earning $600,000 to $1,000,000; and by 1 percent on households earning $500,000 to $600,000. All of those increases are slated to expire after seven years.
The other aspect to the initiative would be an increase of the state sales tax by a quarter of a cent for four years.
Goodall said it was his understanding that the governor feels education has taken enough financial budget hits in recent years, and that schools shouldn’t have to endure additional cuts this year.
He said if the initiative passes, Tracy Unified — the largest school district in the Tracy and Mountain House area — would see revenues still be short by about $4.4 million bringing revenue to $112,332,242 at the start of the 2012-13 FY beginning on July 1.
It’s a financial loss that the district can sustain for at least three years, Goodall said.
But those totals only pencil out, Goodall said, if a majority of voters pass the initiative that would provide more funding to public schools by generating funds to balance the state budget. He said in the past his financial projections have been made five years into the future, but right now they can’t even predict the next school year.
“There’s a dramatic difference if it (tax) passes or not,” Goodall said. “November changes everything.”
Board members expressed their concerns over leaving the districts financial future in the hands of the voters.
“They’re saying to the public you’d better be informed,” board member Walter Gouveia said. “It’s (cuts) already effected two generations of kids. I don’t like taxes, but my grandchildren and great grandchildren are going to benefit. It’s cheaper to educate children than incarcerate.”
Board member Greg Crandall encouraged voters that need to become educated about the ballot initiative before casting a vote in November.