BARSTOW • The Barstow school board decided against closing two elementary schools and cutting adult education Tuesday as it came up with ways the district could save money.
By leaving unfilled teacher and classified positions vacant, shifting restricted funds into the general fund and using its share of funding from the federal jobs bill passed in August, the Barstow Unified School District Board was able to come up with $4,418,272.
Tasked in July with closing a projected deficit of $1.5 million a year for the next three years, the district could have saved $600,000 a year by closing two elementary schols, and $108,000 a year by cutting adult education. The board declined to make those cuts.
The changes to BUSD's budget comes two weeks after the board found out that the state allocated $1.5 million a year to the school district for the next three years. District officials, worried that the state could reduce the revenue allocated to public schools, encouraged the board to continue with the budget changes.
"We should have breathing room," said Tony Wardell, BUSD's assistant superintendent of business. "We can prepare ourselves for a new governor and a new budget."
For 2010-11, $600,000 of the district's $1.2 million share of the federal jobs bill will supplement the budget. The district will also use $360,000 in federal jobs bill funding in its 2011-12 budget.
Board members made the savings by leaving six teacher positions and one classified staff position vacant between the 2010-11 and 2012-13 school years, saving the district $360,000 a year for the next three years. Hours for noon duty aides at elementary schools will be reduced in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, saving roughly $20,000 total.
Board members also transferred $230,000 used to reimburse teachers for working on days off to the general fund for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years.
The board swept $100,000 in deferred maintenance funds to the general fund for the 2010-11 school year. According to Wardell, the deferred maintenance funds would have paid for landscaping at Barstow Junior High School as well as other district projects. Safety won't be an issue by postponing those projects.
Roughly $100,000 in textbook funding was also swept to the general fund for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years. According to Teresa Healy, assistant superintendent of educational services, the district doesn't expect to have to purchase new textbooks until 2014.
The school district also expects to save $200,000 for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 as a result of an audit of its administration. Wardell said the school board voted to do an audit of the number of administrators employed by Barstow Unified in relation to the district's size.
The consultant will compare BUSD with other districts of similar size and from a similar economic base as Barstow. The school board sent the audit out to bid Oct. 13. The district expects to receive bids by Nov. 4
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