Prop 30 passing makes ‘a bad situation a little better’ for EUSD

Prop 30 passing makes ‘a bad situation a little better’ for EUSD
A view from outside the Encinitas Union School District, which will be allowed to keep $2.3 million due to Proposition 30 getting the go-ahead from voters. Photo by Jared Whitlock

ENCINITAS — The Encinitas Union School District will see some relief thanks to California voters approving Proposition 30. 

For the district, passage translates to holding onto $2.3 million that would have gone to the state this year, and possibly in the future. Roughly $374,000 of that money will go to reversing two planned furlough days and $83,000 for reinstating funding for an extracurricular school program; however, the district has yet to decide where to allocate the remaining $1.8 million.

“It’s made a bad situation a little better,” said John Britt, assistant superintendent of business services for the school district.

Not including the $2.3 million, EUSD’s revenues currently total $40.6 million, while expenditures are estimated to be about $45 million.

The district had planned for Prop 30 not to pass when adopting its budget in June for the 2012-13 school year, Britt said.

To reduce its deficit, this summer the district agreed to: Slightly increase class sizes for K-3, departmental cuts, shorten the school year by two days and also to strip all funding from Intervention — a before-and-after school program for students who are struggling academically.

But Prop 30 getting the green light means that Intervention money will be replenished. The program will receive around $83,000 almost immediately, because so many school officials have been vocal about restoring funding, Britt said.

Ocean Knoll Elementary School Principal Angelica Lopez was among them. “Not that test scores are everything, but there’s a direct correlation between improving test scores and Intervention,” Lopez said.

Intervention students are tutored in subjects like math and reading for 30 minutes before school and an hour after school. In the past, the program started in October. However, due to budget cuts, Intervention has yet to begin at Ocean Knoll, and Lopez wasn’t sure if the program would take place at all this year.

But, with Prop 30 moving forward, she hopes to continue the before-school part of the program with 50 students after Thanksgiving and the after-school portion shortly following that.

Plans for two unpaid furlough days, which would have been scheduled for March 11 and June 30 for teachers and management were also nixed. EUSD will likely decide at the beginning of the year what to do with the rest of the funding, Britt said.

“There’s no shortage of ideas out there,” he added.

$2.3 million would have likely continued to be taken from the district’s budget for future years should Prop 30 have failed, Britt said.

“That wasn’t totally certain, but that’s what we were told,” he said.

Seventy six percent of the district’s funding comes from property taxes.

In recent years, districts that are funded primarily by property taxes like Encinitas have been forced to take a “fair share” cut, which would have required the district to give the state $5.4 million this year. But Prop 30’s passage let the district keep $2.3 million of the $5.4 million going to the state, Britt said.

“This isn’t new or discovered money,” Britt said.

Gov. Jerry Brown campaigned heavily for Prop 30, arguing it could bring in up to $8 billion for public schools. Brown said voting against the proposition would have triggered $5.5 billion in cuts for K-12 schools.

 

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