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Downey : Tentative Schools Budget Is $200,000 in the Red

June 08, 1989

A $54.2-million tentative budget was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Downey Unified School District Board of Education even though it is reduced by 10% from last year and more than $200,000 in the red.

There are no personnel cuts in the budget, but an audit is being conducted of all positions, job functions, titles and salaries for possible renaming or reclassifications.

One school official said a balanced budget is expected by September when surplus funds from Sacramento and the state lottery will arrive and offset the deficit.

"There is a lot of unknown that we haven't budgeted for until we hear from the governor's office," said Peter Hardash, director of financial services. He said that money from the lottery alone is forecast to be $250,000. Until it arrives, the district took a "conservative approach" in approving a workable budget.

Last year's budget was bolstered for the addition of a wing to the Gallegos Administration Center that cost about $1 million, several new relocatable buildings on some school sites and field lighting at Downey High School, Hardash said.

Trustee Donald LaPlante presented his own calculations of the budget to other board members at the meeting. He said his findings on income and expenses were that the budget is balanced with a surplus of $640,375.

However, other members debated the legality of LaPlante using restricted funds in one general account.

Meanwhile, as the budget awaits final approval, preliminary negotiations with the California School Employees Assn. started Wednesday for all of the non-administrative and non-teaching jobs in the district.

Hardash said that a 3.2% cost-of-living increase is expected to be approved by Gov. George Deukmejian that, once it is received, will go toward employee salaries and benefits.

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