The Brentwood School District has taken a financial hit, with first-ever receding property values in 2009 and 2011.
Superintendent David Faulkner is new this year. He was the assistant superintendent before that, so he knew what he was getting into. He said the district has made cuts in every area, and have been careful to target those cuts far away from students.
Approximately 93 percent of the school district’s funding comes from Brentwood tax revenues, with the remaining 7 percent from county, state, and federal sources, superintendent David Faulkner said in an email to Patch.
Patch also met with Faulkner in his office on Oct. 26 to talk about the district’s finances. A previous article covered the school district’s financial situation.
He said the school district has been forced to borrow money the last three years to make it from June to December during the period when no revenue comes in.
He said 24 percent of the revenue needs to remain in the fund balance at June 30 to last through the year. From a graph Faulkner uses in presentations to teachers and PTOs, the fund balance on June 30, 2010 was 22 percent, in 2011 it was 11.6 percent and in 2012 it was down to 9.5 percent.
For comparison, in 2009, it was at 30.8 percent.
“Board policy requires that once the fund balance drops below 15 percent, the administration is required to recommend a plan of action to increase the fund balances,” he said. He is in the process of forming a task force now, to look at the budget and make recommendations.
He said while the use of a tax anticipation note is common in school finance, which is what Brentwood did to make it from June to December in those three years, it means the school district paid interest and fees that do not benefit students.
He said cutbacks have delayed several facilities improvements. The high school, though, is 90 years old and Mark Twain Elementary is 70, and it takes money to keep them safe and useful, he said.
He said in the last two years, staff has been reduced through attrition.
‘Two school secretaries resigned and were not replaced, which added duties to other staff,” he said. “We did not hire an additional custodian when we added the Early Childhood Center, so those duties were also spread out.”
Faulkner said this year is the first year they’ve had to reduce instructional staff, “unfortunately.” One elementary school teacher’s aide was cut.
“Currently, we have four unfilled positions—a high school English teacher, a middle school science teacher, the middle school intern, and the district social worker,” he said.
The schools are a year behind on their technology replacement cycle, as well.
He said every budget line item has been reexamined, “which has been a good thing to go through.”
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