Prop. 30’s effects felt in district

Prop. 30’s effects felt in district
A view from outside the Encinitas Union School District’s office. Prop 30 buoyed the district’s fiscal outlook, a big reason the district refrained from issuing layoff notices this spring. Photo by Jared Whitlock

ENCINITAS — The EUSD (Encinitas Union School District) didn’t see an influx of new money as a result of Proposition 30 passing. 

But the ballot measure still saved the district from some budget cuts, including preventing as many as 30 teachers from receiving pink slips.

In November, California voters backed Prop. 30, which hiked taxes on those earning more than $250,000 a year and increased the state sales tax by one-quarter cent.

Prop. 30, billed as a way to avoid deep spending cuts for schools, translated into EUSD keeping $2.3 million that would have otherwise gone to the state.

John Britt, assistant superintendent of business services for the school district, said Prop. 30 funds aren’t “new money” that has to be earmarked, which makes it difficult to say where “each dollar” is going.

But because Prop. 30 money buoyed EUSD’s fiscal outlook with added revenue, the district refrained from issuing layoff notices, rescinded planned furloughs and continued an after-school program called Intervention.

Several years ago, the state enacted a “fair share” cut for districts like EUSD that receive most of their money from property taxes, as opposed to other districts that get most of their funding from the state’s attendance-based formula.

If Prop. 30 hadn’t passed, EUSD would have lost $5.2 million from the fair share cut this year. But with the measure moving forward, the district was allowed to keep $2.3 million of the $5.2 million not only for this year, but potentially for the future as well.

Britt said the district’s fair share cut is likely to hover around $3 million in subsequent years, though that depends on what happens at the state level.

“Fair share has been extremely tough on us,” Britt said.

The district had budgeted the 2012-13 school year assuming Prop. 30 wouldn’t pass. But due to its approval, the district was able to reverse the cuts built into its budget.

In November, the district reversed plans for two unpaid furlough days for teachers and management at a cost of $375,000. Also, the district was able to put $85,000 toward the Intervention after-school program for students who are struggling academically.

With Prop. 30, the district was also able to maintain current class sizes.

The district would have been looking at sending layoff notices to 30 teachers, which would have increased kindergarten through third grade class sizes from 24-to-1 students to teacher, to 31-to-1 for the 2013-14 school year. The layoff notices would have saved $2.2 million.

But the pink slips aren’t on the table, largely due to the district’s budget outlook improving as a result of Prop. 30, said Britt

Should Prop. 30 have failed, the district would have either issued the layoff notices or funded the entire cost of the teachers with deficit spending, Britt said.

As of Jan. 31, with the Prop. 30 money included, the district’s revenues totaled $44.7 million, while expenditures were about $48.8 million.

“If Prop. 30 hadn’t passed, we would have looked at further digging into reserves to fund the teachers,” Britt said. He added that the district is still dipping into its reserves, just not as much.

 

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