The Piedmont school district has passed a balanced budget for this fiscal year, thanks to conservative planning and generous support from the community.
Trustees voted 4-0 to approve, with member Sarah Pearson absent from the June 27 meeting.
"Our priority is preserving breadth of programs and (salary) compensation," Assistant Superintendent Michael Brady told the board. By law, school boards must adopt their new budgets by June 30 each year. The budgets can change, however, during the year due to ups and downs of state funding and other factors.
The adopted operating budget for 2012-13 shows revenues of $28,796,950 and expenditures of $30,454,130. The $1,657,180 deficit will be offset by transferring money from reserve accounts and allowable programs such as the adult education fund. This will leave a general fund balance of $1,971,976, an acceptable level, Brady said.
"We are still looking at a $1.25 million deficit the next two years (2013-14 and 2014-15) based on current conditions," Brady noted.
That picture could change, depending on the November election -- if school bond measures pass or not. The district gets most of its money, $12,967,066 this fiscal year, from revenue limits. Revenue limits, based on complex formulas, are funded by local property taxes and state aid. A percentage of property tax revenue from property within a district is assigned to the district; state aid makes up the difference. Schools receive
Federal funds bring in $671,341 this fiscal year with $8,995,755 from the Measure B parcel tax. The Measure E emergency parcel tax has expired.
Piedmont gets $397,753 from the state lottery, and $1,965,711 from parents, parent club donations and the Piedmont Education Foundation.
"We depend on fundraising to maintain programs," Brady said.
On the expense side, teacher's salaries are 51 percent of the budget at $15,449,890. Employee benefits of $6,280,747 represent 21 percent of the budget and classified personnel use 16 percent of the budget at $4,843,935. Books and supplies cost $882,155, with $2,537,115 for capital outlays.
Some teachers at the top of the pay scale -- $88,000 per year -- retired in June. New hires may save the district some money, estimated at $18,000 per employee.
"Looking at the past four years, it's clear what is happening," trustee Rick Raushenbush said. "Revenues are declining precipitously. We thought we would bridge the gap, that the recession would be over by now. ... We appreciate the district's conservative approach to budgeting," he said.