Merced City School District looking at cuts

June 26, 2009 

Leaders in the Merced City School District met Wednesday to discuss budget decisions one last time before a final spending plan will be passed Tuesday.

Associate Superintendent Greg Spicer presented the budget plan, which includes state budget reductions to bus transportation, delayed state payments, a possible shortening of the school year and an 18 percent cut to the revenue limit (state and local taxes that provide the majority of school funding).

Under the state's normal funding scheme, the district should receive $6,088 for each child counted in the district's average daily attendance (ADA) next year. Due to funding cuts, that number has dropped to $4,994.83 per ADA, resulting in decreased funding tantamount to an $11 million cut.

The district is also bracing for a 20-65 percent cut in home-to-school transportation, which could equal as much as $994,000 in lost funding.

Chief Business Office Kris Cavallero said the district will stretch $6.9 million in expected federal stimulus funding as far as possible.

The district also plans to "sweep" $2.2 million from programs with leftover funding from last school year to stabilize the budget for the next two years.

Earlier this month, Cavallero announced that the district may have to borrow money from its bond fund to make payroll in August.

The board is scheduled to meet next Tuesday in the district office at 6 p.m.

Reporter Danielle Gaines can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or dgaines@mercedsun-star.com.