Mar 14 2012

School Board Discusses $2.5 Million Shortfall: March 14 Meeting

Superintendent Projects Deficit in 2013-14 –

Piedmont School Superintendent Connie Hubbard will submit a required multi-year budget plan on Wednesday, March 14, 2012 for certification by the Piedmont Board of Education. The board will meet in the City Council Chambers beginning at 7 p.m. Hubbard’s proposed budget anticipates breaking even in the upcoming school year FY 2012-13, but a $2.5 million deficit in FY 2013-14, as follows:

  • FY 2011-12:  positive $2.3 million ending balance, plus standard 3% reserve ($922,000), 3 months from now – as of June 2012.
  • FY 2012-13:  dip into reserves to fund the next school year
  • FY 2013-14:  $2.5 million deficit

Describing the plan as a conservative or “worst case” approach at pages 18 and 19 of the background material, Hubbard includes an assumption there will be step and column increases for most employees, which will total 6.1% in total salary increases over the 2 years.

The plan states that one of its assumptions is that no new state tax initiative or new local tax measure will be passed.  Gradual adjustments to program and personnel costs consistent with a reduced level of revenues are not recommended.

Positive certification with a projected $2.5 million deficit –

The District is required by the State of California to submit a budget certified by the Piedmont School Board as Positive, Qualified or Negative. Hubbard is requesting a “positive” certification from the School Board with an unaddressed $3.5 million shortfall  ($2.5 million deficit in addition to unfunded reserve of $1 million).

A Qualified Certification would indicate the district “may not” be able to meet financial obligations over three years.  A Positive Certification means the District “believes it can meet” its financial obligations through 2013-14.  A Negative Certification states it cannot met its obligations.  Hubbard’s request for a Positive Certification is based on her premise that the district has the “ability to increase revenues and decrease expenditures as needed and in time . . . .”  Specific proposals for closing the $2.5 million gap and restoring the reserve were not provided.

The multi-year plan being presented on March 14 assumes continuing automatic “step and column” salary increases of 1.5% over each of the next 2 years, but not cost of living adjustments (COLAs).  “Step” increases are for years of service; “column” increases for any increased level of education.   Together, these automatic increases are estimated to total $350,000 each year, although some teachers have already reached their maximum steps and columns.  The increase of $350,000 offsets the $430,000 generated from the 5% per year increase in Measure B parcel taxes.

Additional Piedmont parcel tax increases of 5% –

A 5% increase in the School District parcel tax (Measure B) has been recommended by the Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) every year since its 2009 passage.  The 5% increase recommended for FY 2012-13 has been included in the projections for FY 2012-13.   A 5% increase has not yet been recommended or included for FY 2013-14, and it would cut the anticipated $2.5 million deficit by $430,00.  The 5% increase can be imposed by a vote of the School Board without a new taxpayer vote.

The CAC expressed its concern that “historical rates of increases in parcel taxes cannot be sustained in the future, and that existing levels may already impose unsustainable hardships on fixed-income and low-income taxpayers.”  Parcel taxes and other local support rose at an annualized rate of 15.1% between 2000 and 2010.


Link: Multi-year Budget Report, Citizens’ Advisory Committee Recomendation for 5% parcel tax increase, and other background materials.

Complete  March 14 School Board agenda link:


2 Responses to “School Board Discusses $2.5 Million Shortfall: March 14 Meeting”

  1. many neighbors in my area bought at the height of home prices and cannot afford another hike in Parcel Taxes. If they have to sell and move then there will be fewer kids in our schools, so fewer teachers needed.

    The teachers/administrators of our schools should reassess their benefits and retirement packages. They are squeezing us dry.

  2. ” The 5% increase can be imposed by a vote of the School Board without a new taxpayer vote. ”

    This is not good! The school board, like the City Council, needs to get out a sharp pencil BEFORE heading to the trough for more feed.

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