Board reviews trimmed budget

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, August 3, 2013

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The Chico School District may have a smaller budget and slightly higher tax rate for the 2013-2014 school year.

On Thursday, the school board reviewed a draft budget that showed cuts in most areas of the general fund.

Superintendent Mike Jones explained that projected local revenue would decrease approximately $584,872 from the current year’s budget, from $6,566,210 to $5,981,338, a nearly 10 percent decrease. Tax values dropped by $13 million in the district this year.

State revenue is projected to increase, from $890,000 to $1,276,487. Total revenue would be down nearly $200,000.

With decreased revenues comes decreased expenditures, and the preliminary budget included plenty of cuts. Perhaps most noticeably, seven staff positions have been eliminated from next year’s budget through attrition. Those positions include one of each of the following: pre-kindergarten, first grade, third grade, middle school science, high school at-risk math, high school credit recovery and high school history.

Payroll costs for next year are projected to be $185,500 less, according to the preliminary budget numbers.

The maintenance budget also shows more than $500,000 less than the current year’s amended budget. Jones explained that the high expenditures this year have been the result of large projects such as roof repairs at several district facilities.

As it currently stands, expenditures outpace revenues by $81,613.

“Hopefully we can continue to pare that down,” Jones said. “It’s not a final budget, but I think we’ve made some progress.”

The board later proposed a tax rate of $1.2581 per $100 property valuation, which represents just over a penny increase from the current rate of $1.24533. A public hearing on the tax rate and budget will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 26.

The board has not talked in depth about employee pay increases, but next year’s preliminary budget includes the same salary schedule as this year, Jones said.

Three teachers were also hired: Guy Birdwell (band director), Valerie Birdwell (middle school English language arts) and Katherine Day (high school math).

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