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Newhall School District passes budget — with backup plan

Posted: June 19, 2012 5:19 p.m.
Updated: June 19, 2012 5:19 p.m.

Newhall School District board members recently signed off on a $52 million budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year, but officials are prepared for deep cuts should the November tax initiative fail, the superintendent said Tuesday.

"It's all about the uncertainty and triggers right now," Superintendent Marc Winger said.

Even if the state of California doesn't have a balanced budget, school districts are required to adopt budgets by July 1 - in time for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

While the California Legislature has approved a budget, Gov. Jerry Brown has yet to sign it as he works with state leaders to figure out cuts to social service programs and other state reforms.

As for education funding, Brown has been trying to land support for a series of tax initiatives that would appear before voters on the November ballot. Education activist Molly Munger has been pitching her own tax plan that may come before November voters and help fund public education in California.

Until then, school districts, like Newhall, have been told to prepare for deep cuts should the November tax ballots fail.

"We've all developed our backup plans," Winger said. "We don't want to use them because they are really disastrous."

For Newhall, more than $3 million, or $455 per student, has been set aside in case of mid-year cuts.

"In our case, we'd be using every dollar of our reserve, and then we'd be left in a really bad place for the year after," Winger said.

The district has also negotiated up to four furlough days for the 2012-13 school year to save money.

Even though the tax initiatives would boost public education funding, especially after years of deep cuts, districts like Newhall still face financial difficulties.

Costs continue to increase and the number of enrolled students declines, creating less revenue for the elementary school district.

"Even if November is successful, we still are projecting numbers that don't balance in the coming years," Winger said.




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