The 2014-2015 school budget was approved by the Oakdale Joint Unified School District Board of Trustees at the June 9 regular meeting.
Susan Dyke, OJUSD Chief Business Officer, reported that the district has revenues of $44.2 million and expenditures of $44.87 million. This also includes five percent in reserve for economic uncertainties of $2.2 million. The state requires a three percent reserve but the OJUSD board requires five percent.
Dyke said that of all the revenues in the general fund, 85 percent is from the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) monies, four percent is from federal, three percent is from state, and seven percent from local. Of expenditures, she reported that about 77 percent is in employee salaries, there are also increased costs in property and liability insurance and new added coverage for cyber liability, as well as increase workers compensation insurance costs – of which she noted that there are more expensive claims that are coming through. The cost also keeps increasing to transport special education students to programs in other districts. This was pointed out that it will now cost $800,000 to transport 66 special education students for the programs. Superintendent Marc Malone noted that the transport contract will be expiring next year and he’s hoping to negotiate a better cost. He said that some restructuring of the transportation may have benefitted larger districts, but the costs have become “outlandish” to smaller districts. Other expenditures are new costs tied to the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) which include two new math/technology coaches, a new Ag teacher position, and two elementary vice principal positions.
Dyke told the board that they are waiting for the state’s decision regarding the CalSTRS (California State Teachers Retirement System) unfunded liability and whether it will start in 2014-2015 or 2015-2016. She said that this will be a big issue in the next seven years. She reported to The Leader that it could be up to 19 percent of certificated payroll in the next seven years. She said that at 19 percent, for the district, it would go from $1.7 million now to $3.9 million in seven years and it all has to come from existing LCFF funds. This is all to get on a plan to make CalSTRS solvent by 2045-2046.
The board unanimously approved adopting the LCAP. Kristi Rapinchuk, the OJUSD Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, told the board that the document was reviewed for comment by various committees and stakeholder groups during the public review process. She added that no public comments were offered during the May 12 regular meeting, when it was presented for public hearing, and no comments have been received since. The board also approved the LCAP for Oakdale Home Charter. Rapinchuk said that the LCAP is a three-year document that will go through an annual review and revision process.
With the new Common Core Standards adoption, the LCAP and the budget must be approved at the same time.
In other business, the board approved the contract with Acme Construction for the district’s new Central Kitchen facility. The approved “guaranteed maximum price” for the project is a little over $1.2 million, which is within the district’s budget for the project as part of a “lease/leaseback” agreement. It’s being funded by developer fees and previous facility project savings.
Also in other business, the board also voted to cancel the regular July board meeting. Superintendent Marc Malone said that the county office of education took a poll and discovered that more than half of the school districts, including large districts, didn’t have July meetings. He added that the July agenda is “light” and that the business could be dealt with in either the June or August meetings. Malone also noted that if a pressing issue arises, a July meeting can be called.
Of note in consent calendar items, the board approved an increase in cafeteria prices for full-priced breakfast and lunch meals served through the food service program, effective July 1, due to the increase in food costs and operating expenses. At the elementary level breakfast will go from $1.40 to a rate of $1.60 and lunch will go from $2.20 to a rate of $2.40. At the junior high, breakfast will remain static at $1.80 and lunch will go from $2.40 to a rate of $2.75. At the high school, breakfast rates will remain the same at $2 and lunch will go from $2.75 to a rate of $2.95.
In reports, Superintendent Malone gave the board an update on the district’s Brady Road property, which the district is considering for a school farm. However, there are some access issues and the district is having discussions with a neighboring landowner about entering the Brady Road property through the neighbor’s property. The issue is being considered by the neighbor’s family and reviewed by legal counsel and Malone said the district is waiting for a response.
Trustee Mike Tozzi commented that he’d like to see the Ag farm become a reality and that he sees it as highly beneficial to the students and the community. Malone said that the district hopes for it to be more than just a school farm, but to be a “civic Ag center.”
The next regular meeting of the OJUSD Board of Trustees will be at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 11 at Oakdale City Council Chambers, 277 N. Second.