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School Board Adopts Budget

POSTED June 23, 2009 3:24 p.m.
The Oakdale Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday night to approve the 2009-2010 proposed budget. Trustee Mike Tozzi was absent.
OJUSD Assistant Superintendent for Business Tim Hern gave a PowerPoint presentation that provided an overview of where the district stands through 2012. He pointed out that California’s fiscal crisis translates to the school district’s fiscal standing. He reported that in order to have approval from the county Office of Education, the governor’s budget revisions must be incorporated.
Hern reminded the board that the budget will change. Overall, he painted a fairly bleak picture of the budget situation but said that OJUSD is in better shape than many other districts. On cash flow issues, OJUSD is okay, he said, but other school districts are not.
“Cash is very important to us…Cash for next year for this district should not be a problem,” Hern said, adding that if cash is a problem then the district has options such as borrowing from the county, which has about $1 billion in its coffers.
The district currently has $19 million in cash available. For 2009-2010, OJUSD revenue is $39.6 million, while expenditures are $40.5 million. Expenditures exceed revenues by $860,202. Hern noted that in the 2006-2007 year, the district received over $4.3 million more compared to now.
Hern noted that payroll per month in the district is $2.4 million to $2.6 million. He also pointed out that the federal stimulus funds are a one-time only benefit and they will go away — they will only support salaries for 2009-2010.
Hern said that the district is fortunate to have stayed fairly steady with enrollment levels and that the district saw larger than normal pre-Kindergarten enrollment this past year, which is encouraging.
He reported that by 2011-2012, the district will be below a four percent reserve. OJUSD has traditionally held a five percent reserve; however, a three percent reserve is the minimum required by the state.
“We will have to make adjustments… We do that with expenditure reduction,” he said, adding that adjustments have to be made starting next year.
Hern also said that if this budget is passed without modification then the district can be certified as positive for 2009-2010 and for the next two years. However, the district won’t be able to maintain a four percent reserve, and the district must also maintain a 1.5 percent reduction in salary or a reduction in staff in order to maintain a three percent reserve.
“This was not a usual year for budgeting,” Hern told the trustees. He added that district staff had to tear apart and rearrange the budget, pulling money from some areas and reallocating it to others.
Superintendent Fred Rich commented that the district has wisely spent money within its means, also noting that administrators look for ways to save, and that’s what has kept the district in sound fiscal condition.
In other business, the board ratified a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Superintendent, Management, and Confidential employees for 2009-2010 to take a 1.5 percent decrease in salary effective July 1 through June 30, 2010. The decrease will be a $55,353 savings to the district.
Also in other business the board approved a resolution ordering governing board member election. There are three four-year term seats on the district’s board of trustees that will be expiring in November. All three are “at large” seats from Area 2, which represents the former Oakdale Union Elementary School District boundaries.
The Stanislaus County Office of Education coordinates the election to take place on Nov. 3, wherein OJUSD seats will be included on the ballot with the available seats of Valley Home and Knights Ferry school districts, so as to share in the cost of the election.
Trustee Rick W. Jones said that he will run again. Mike House and Bill Dyer also seemed to chime in with plans to run again, although not clear statements like Jones’.
The next regular meeting of the OJSUD Board of Trustees will be at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, July 13 at Oakdale City Council Chambers, 277 No. Second.

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