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FUHSD board defers maintenance, addresses $203,474 budget deficit

 

Last updated 6/12/2008 at Noon



Monday, June 2, in the midst of recognizing athletes, graduates and valedictorians for being high achievers in academics, sports and extracurricular activities over the past year, the Fallbrook Union High School District board voted to accept a deferred maintenance plan for the following year, extended their search for a new superintendent and plans to be able to end the 2008 school year above the school budget’s deficit line with the help of state funding.

According to board president Bill O’Connor, funds from the newly accepted deferred maintenance plan will be used to supplement moneys needed to maintain upkeep at the high school, including fencing to secure the campus, which the board has already discussed.

The deferred maintenance program is dependent on funds placed aside by the board of trustees specifically for upkeep of the school property, and the state department of education matches anywhere from half to 100 percent of the board’s funds to help with the upkeep on campus.

“Most of our expenses and maintenance are pretty programmable. Last year, we put a lot of money into the infrastructure in the sports facilities, especially the track,” said O’Connor. “We also were able to redo the parking lots, and it is evident that we were able to paint the front buildings of the school, which were all on track according to the maintenance schedule.”

And while the school budget receives funds from developers, and is required to set aside money specifically for the upkeep of the school grounds, the budget is still dependent upon state money to keep high school class sizes down and be able to offer quality extracurricular courses for students.

The state board uses a specific formula using the amount of students enrolled throughout the school district, taxes from the surrounding communities and fees brought in by area developers to be able to determine the amount of money each school district receives for the school year.

However, Assistant Superintendent of Business Chester Gannet says that because of Governor Schwarzenegger’s plan to put focus on other areas in education, the state may not assist school districts this year in order to place the funding in special education, meaning FUHSD will be working with half of its usual budget for maintenance and upkeep in the upcoming year.

This is no help to the current deficiency of revenues to expenditures, which, according to Gannet, is currently at $203,474 when using the revised budget. To make up for the loss, the board of trustees has made several reductions throughout the district, including a reduction in staff, supplies and transportation, which Gannet forecasts will leave the school budget with an ending fund balance of nearly $2,317,000 for the end of this school year.

This new budget would allow for approximately $950,000 for economic uncertainties, $1,300,000 for specific uses and $42,500 as available reserve.

“This is not what we wanted to do,” said Gannet, “but we are dependent on the state’s funding, and as much as we would like to keep what we have now, we have an obligation to keep a balanced budget for the district.”

“The school board has been and will be very careful with funding, and we will make sure we don’t spend money that we don’t have,” stated O’Connor.

Another topic also brought up at the meeting was the ongoing search for a superintendent to replace Tom Anthony, whose contract was bought out early by the board at a cost of nearly $400,000.

It was stated that a search committee has been elected, will begin their search this week and will compile a list of candidates with recommendations to bring to the board for review so that a decision can be made by mid-July.

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