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TUSD expects additional $3.5 million from state
Payment deferrals troublesome for district budget
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After the state budget was finally passed last week, education looks like they will be getting more money from the state, but district staff are cautious of the risky state budget.

The Turlock Unified School District will be receiving about $3.5 million more than they planned compared to the budget from the May Revise, said Lori Decker, TUSD chief financial officer.

But with the good news comes the bad news.

The state has added payment deferrals to each district, at times paying them nothing one month and 17 percent of their budget another month.

“It delays how the state pays us,” Decker said.

The payments also roll into the next fiscal year ending in August, according to district information. By the end of the 2010/2011 fiscal year in June, the state will still owe TUSD 25 percent of their budget.

Because this new payment plan will create a 25 percent cash deficit in the district’s budget by the end of the fiscal year, Decker said they will most likely have to dip into their reserves for that time until they receive the remaining state funding.

Instead of giving the district equal monthly payments, funding is split up between zero percent to half a percent to nine percent to four and a half percent and every percent in between. This makes the district constantly in cash deficit spending until July 2011.

The state also suspended Proposition 98, which was designed to establish a constitutional minimum funding guarantee for K-14 education of $54 billion. With this suspended, education is underfunded at $49.7 billion, a reduction of $4.3 billion for the 2010/2011 fiscal year.

But the expected $3.5 million extra coming in is a result of the state getting rid of additional on-going reductions and lowering the deficit inside the base revenue limit, Decker said. So the state is giving districts an additional $277.11 per Average Daily Attendance resulting in the estimated total of $3.5 million.

The extra money will most likely go toward the deficit spending this fiscal year so the district won’t continue to dip into their reserves for the next three years as was planned, Decker said.

Even though this money will help the district, Decker is wary about the passed state budget because the “state budget is risky, built on overly optimistic assumptions” of incoming revenue.

“There is a fear of future cuts,” Decker said. “I am not sure the level of funding for education can be sustained.”

Other worries include what the new governor will do with the budget and possible mid-year cuts.

To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.