Cuts, cuts everywhere and not a penny to spend is how most people feel with this down economy. But on Monday, the Turlock Unified School District was able to get a few extra pennies — $2.37 million — to help save jobs.
“This could help us have one year of not having people worry about their jobs or their programs getting cut,” said Sonny Da Marto, TUSD superintendent.
The Education Funding Bill (Senate Bill 847) provided the California Department of Education $1.2 billion from the federal Education Jobs Fund to give to local school districts. It is estimated that the bill will save 16,500 education jobs in California.
“These funds are intended to avoid potential layoffs or reinstate layoffs,” said Lori Decker, TUSD chief financial officer.
The $2,327,899 will be in the district’s bank account within the next couple of weeks and must be spent by Sept. 30, 2012. It is one-time funding and must only be used on school site level staff members.
The $2.3 million is only 90 percent of the money that will be given to TUSD and is based off of last year’s Average Daily Attendance numbers. The other 10 percent will be based off of this year’s ADA numbers in period two that runs from the first day of school until the end of March, which is down so far by about 100 students.
The district will probably not get the full 10 percent, Decker said. But whatever money they get will be allocated to the district about a year after the school year is over.
Local education agencies must use the funds at the school site level for compensation and benefits and other expenses, such as support services, necessary to retain existing employees; to recall or rehire former employees; and, to hire new employees in order to provide early childhood, elementary or secondary educational and related services, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
District staff presented the good news to the budget advisory committee on Monday but only one recommendation was made on how to use the funds with no action taken.
Da Marto recommended using the funds to stop next year’s potential cuts to help give one year of “normalcy” to the TUSD staff and provide a break from the economy for a year.
The district is expecting to see about $6 million in cuts for the next two years — $3 million will need to be taken from the budget and $3 million taken from the reserve funding.
Da Marto suggested using that money to avoid more cuts from the teachers in the 2011/2012 school year as teachers just agreed to take an on-going two percent pay cut adding onto their three percent cut they took a year prior.
The budget advisory committee did not approve any recommendations on how to use the money on Monday. They could possibly decide at their next meeting, scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 25 in the Turlock High School library. The committee is hoping to have a passed state budget to work with by that time as well.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.