School District officials from the traveled to the state capitol Tuesday for a firsthand view at the budgeting process, and that evening Superintendent Steve Enoch reported a discouraging scenario.
"We face an additional $7 million cut for next year," Enoch told the school board of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District at its meeting. "Our budget scenario already shows us running out of money and I wanted to give a heads up to the board."
"I see us slipping into 'qualified' status," he noted. "There are red flags."
State school district certifications are classified as positive, qualified or negative, according to the California Department of Education. A district receives a positive certification if it will meet its financial obligations for the current and two subsequent fiscal years.
A district is assigned a qualified certification when it may not meet its financial obligations for the current or two subsequent fiscal years. A negative certification means a district will be unable to meet its financial obligations for the remainder of the current year or for the subsequent fiscal year.
"Because of the sharp downturn in our economy and deep cuts to education, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of districts that are on the negative or qualified certification list," said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell in a press release in June. "Unfortunately, the cuts to public education that are part of the state budget are likely to result in even more districts being added to this list."
The governor is hoping for increasing funds from the federal government, Enoch reported Tuesday, adding, "But I had a sense that was wishful thinking."
He said the good news is that the COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) is going to be fully funded this year.
Enoch went to Sacramento for the presentation and examination of the governor's budget proposal with the district's budget director, assistant superintendents for business and education services, and a representative of one of the employee unions.
"Hope is not a plan – they opened the session with this statement," said Enoch. "The state missed its financial goals by $6 billion for 2009-10. The proposed deficit for '10-'11 is $13.6 billion."
"I'd like to say there was a silver lining but we couldn't find it," he concluded.