SDUSD budget proposal balanced, but deficits expected in upcomin - San Diego, California Talk Radio Station - AM 760 KFMB

SDUSD budget proposal balanced, but deficits expected in upcoming years

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego Unified School District's proposed $2.5 billion budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year is balanced, despite a sixth consecutive year of budget shortfalls, but significant deficits are projected for the years ahead, according to a presentation made to the Board of Education.

Among the district's solutions to fill the gap are about $97.7 million in projected revenue from real estate sales and another $27.8 million in savings from employee attrition, according to district Controller and acting Chief Financial Officer Jenny Salkeld. However, those one-time solutions could lead to multi-year problems.

Superintendent Bill Kowba called the proposed budget "very, very, very challenging."

"We must aggressively pursue the attrition model through the next 60 to 90 days and we must aggressively pursue the property sales, and in the years to come, substitute out one-time fixes for the recurring, sustainable strategies," Kowba said.

Total spending is projected to be around $600 million over the current year, thanks primarily to a bond issuance from Proposition Z, which was approved by voters last year.

The unrestricted general fund, which pays for basic services, is set to be $729 million, about $33 million more than this year.

The proposed district budget is based on Gov. Jerry Brown's May revised state budget, but assumes that his local control funding formula, which aims to fund districts at a base level but would increase funding for English learners, students from low-income families and those in foster care, would not be implemented next year, according to Salkeld.

Teachers will receive a 2 percent pay raise over the current school year, while staff will receive a 3 percent increase, according to the proposal.

A final vote on the budget is set for June 25. Revisions to that budget will be voted on July 30.

According to Salkeld, projecting future years is difficult because state funding plans are uncertain. However, as things stand now, San Diego Unified faces a $100.8 million shortfall for the 2014-15 school year and a $54.3 million deficit the year after, according to the presentation.

"Our out years for '14-'15 and '15-'16 respectively do demonstrate deficit shortfalls that we need to address, and with limited options to solve those budget gaps, so we'll have to address budget solutions accordingly," Salkeld said.

Also at Wednesday night's meeting, the board unanimously approved Superintendent-designate Cindy Marten's approximately $718,000 plan to reorganize the district's central office positions, eliminating some titles, adding others and changing the position titles of others. The changes are set to take effect July 1.

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