For the first time in over two years, Denair Unified School District received news that merited applause during a Board of Trustees meeting.
The reason behind the refreshing outburst was the 2014-15 interim report budget, which projected a positive ending fund balance of $421,750—meaning that the district will finally be able to meet obligations for the current and subsequent financial years.
“We’re positive a whole year earlier than what we were originally projecting,” reported DUSD Chief Business Officer Linda Covello. “In addition to a positive ending fund balance, we are also estimating a positive ending cash balance—which we haven’t seen in a while either—of $330,000.”
According to Covello, who presented the first interim budget on Thursday, the district closed its books last year with a negative ending balance of $202,000. Taking into account a projected operating surplus of $624,390, the district will be left with a positive surplus at the end of this year.
“It’s not any one thing we’ve done, it’s been multiple measures,” said DUSD Superintendent Aaron Rosander. “I’m very encouraged by the slowdown of declining enrollment and I’m very encouraged by our employees and their desire and motivation to make our district what it can be.”
In addition to positive ending fund balance, the district also reported its ability to meet its 3 percent minimum reserve requirements.
“I know we’re clapping that we made our 3 percent, but it’s on the backs of every employee here,” said Board member Robert Hodges. “Every employee took a cut. That’s the reason why, and it’s not forgotten.”
Nearly two years ago, the district was threatened with a potential state takeover and was listed as one of the negatively certified districts not projected to meet their financial obligations for the 2014-15 school year.
Since then, the district has made pay cuts across the board, as well as eliminated 19 full time teaching positions and one administrative position. The district also eliminated a number of non-essential academic programs.
“I don’t want to paint an overly glowing picture, but this is very good news,” said Rosander. “This is where you want to be. This is that juncture in time where you start turning the corner to go in a new direction.”