Lindbergh board to consider approval of balanced budget later this month

Board will consider approval of ’11-’12 budget on June 14.


The Lindbergh Board of Education will consider approval of a balanced operating budget for the 2011-2012 school year when it meets Tuesday, June 14.

The proposed operating budget projects revenues of $60,812,763 with anticipated expenditures of $59,435,504 — a surplus of $1,377,259, Chief Financial Officer Pat Lanane told the school board during a budget workshop last week.

The proposed operational revenues are an increase of $7,548,326 over the current school year while the projected operational expenditures total $2,112,284 over the 2010-2011 school year.

“… The goal — we never can lose sight of our goal and our goal is education,” Lanane said during the May 24 workshop. “It’s not managing numbers. It’s not estimating expenditures. The goal of a budget is to provide a high-quality educational program and the last few years during a time of severe economic downturn. It’s quite a challenge … but I think if you look at the track record, look at our test scores and the ratings different agencies have given the district, I think the board has met that challenge …

“When you look back and look at a cumulative loss of over $15 million over the past several years in revenue — what a challenge. Adopting $6 million in budget reductions over that period time, good grief. Every board they say has their high hurdle that they had to get over and I think economic downturn will certainly be one of the items that this board will be given credit for having managed and succeeded in managing in the most severe economic times imaginable.”

Lanane credited Lindbergh voters for stepping up last November and approving Proposition L — a 65-cent tax-rate increase that will generate nearly $8.4 million for the 2011-2012 school year.

But except for the $8,378,450 in Prop L revenue and modest increases in sales tax and tuition, “everything else went down,” he told the board. The total revenue decline is estimated at $842,224.

“So was Prop L needed? Oh yes, because there was no help coming anywhere and if you take that out, net loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars would have been apparent again this year without Prop L,” Lanane said. “So those who said: Oh, it’s too soon, wait longer — I think it was the right time to ask the voters for help.”

More than half of the new Prop L revenue will eliminate the district’s deficit spending, he said.

“… That’s very important. That deficit represents people,” Lanane said. “The deficit as a deficit is meaningless, but as 60, 70, maybe even as many as a hundred employees — and we all know the largest portion of that would be our teaching staff — that’s what Prop L bought in a large part. It bought those jobs and kept that level of staffing, kept those class sizes, kept the number of offerings.

“It maintained that high educational program,” the chief financial officer continued. “Without it, tonight would be a devastating night — absolutely devastating for all of us, and no one would have wanted to be here for the work we would have been approving tonight.”

The more than $2 million in increased operational expenditures in the proposed budget “will restore expenditures put on hold for library and textbook purchases. It will also support the transition changes needed to fulfill the promise of the Prop R 2008 bond issue to eliminate the middle school overcrowding and move toward a neighborhood school model for the elementary schools,” the budget’s executive summary stated.

“It will continue to meet the mandated obligations to the retirement system and maintain the self-insurance program. Over a two-year period, it will also provide a-close-to-CPI (Consumer Price Index) increase in staff compensation. Finally, it designates that $250,000 be restored to the reserve fund,” according to the executive summary.

Board members voted unanimously last week to approve a two-year teachers’ salary schedule that will provide an average annual increase of 2.8 percent.