Alameda school officials say the latest budget proposal from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will not help them balance their books and they still face a shortfall.

Moreover, local officials say the deficit will remain roughly the same as it was when the governor offered his initial budget and they faced a projected $4.5 million deficit.

Under the most recent proposal, Alameda will lose about $3.2 million in revenue, such as the money generated through Average Daily Attendance, said Luz Cazares, the district's chief financial officer.

It also would mean the loss of $300,000 earmarked for Special Education and $200,000 for class size reduction, as well as other money, Cazares said.

"It's easily more than $4 million," she said.

Alameda school district must approve a budget by July 1.

What helps make it difficult to work out the numbers, however, is that state leaders may not actually approve a budget until the fall — despite having the same deadline — and so local school leaders do not know if the figures will change again.

The state budget deficit is projected at more than $17 billion.

The governor's most recent proposal, which he unveiled earlier this month, calls for state officials to be able to borrow money against anticipated state lottery proceeds as a way to offset the shortfall.


Advertisement

But Schwarzenegger also has backed away from his initial idea of suspending Proposition 98, the state's guarantee for education funding, a move that state schools Superintendent Jack O'Connell has welcomed.

The governor's initial proposal led Alameda trustees to cut money from sports, music and other programs, as well as to place a $120 parcel tax on the June ballot to generate cash.

The tax requires a two-thirds majority to pass. If it does pass, most of the slashed programs will be restored, district spokeswoman Donna Fletcher said Thursday.

The tax may not prevent future cuts, however. But it will allow trustees more flexibility when making their decisions, Cazares said.

"The parcel tax will allow the board to make cuts in a more timely manner," Cazares said. "It will allow them to make a more thoughtful decision and to gather more community input."

Reach Peter Hegarty@bayareanewsgroup.com or 510-748-1654.