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Jobs, Programs Remain Intact in New School Budget : Education: Board approves $113-million spending package. Legislation regarding state funding is pending.

June 24, 1993|TOMMY LI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

GLENDALE — The Glendale school board adopted a $113-million budget that keeps jobs and programs intact for the 1993-94 academic year.

The mood during Tuesday's board session was much lighter than a similar meeting last June, when the trustees of the Glendale Unified School District were faced with a $107-million spending package that called for cuts of nearly 100 positions and programs targeting troubled youth.

"That was very painful," recalled board President Jane Whitaker. "We had not only staff members in here, but we also had parents.

"It was standing-room only . . . It was a trying time."

The picture was quite different Tuesday.

No one stepped forward to comment on the new budget during a public hearing. And when the time came for approval, the trustees did not dawdle.

"This budget is something that we're required to turn in," said Lynda Rocamora , who was elected to the board in April. "We can make changes (as state funding changes). . . . There's some comfort with that."

Stephen Hodgson, assistant superintendent of business services, cautioned trustees that Gov. Pete Wilson has yet to sign the state budget, which the Legislature approved this week.

Wilson and legislators had worked out an agreement in which school funding could be maintained at current levels through a $2.6-billion shift in property tax monies previously belonging to local governments.

Although it will cost the Glendale school district $489,000 in property tax administration fees, the infusion from Sacramento allowed administrators to produce what they call a "status quo" budget for the next school year.

Hodgson told board members that changes in state lottery funding could also help the district's budget.

California Department of Education officials are expecting lottery funding to be $90 per student for the 1992-93 school year and $80 per student the following year--up from previous projections of $74 per student in 1992-93 and $71 per student in 1993-94. The projection for 1992-93 has not been finalized because the fiscal year runs through June.

"(Another) main reason I think the district is able to have a carry-over budget this year is the fact that the district made significant reductions last year" totaling $6.3 million, district Supt. Robert A. Sanchis said before Tuesday's meeting.

Based on the new budget, projected spending for salaries, benefits, supplies, operations and equipment will increase from as low as 2.5% to as high as 9%. No wage hikes were offered to the district's 2,400 employees.

Salaries for certificated employees, which make up more than half of district funds, will jump 6% from $56.5 million to $60.1 million, mainly to cover an additional 20 teachers needed because of student population growth, Hodgson said.

The 9% boost in spending will involve employee benefits, rising from $9,124,226 to $9,962,736.

The district's at-risk programs will continue operating at the same level as last year, when funding was slashed from $494,161 to $125,000.

Meanwhile, if state tax revenue for the district remains the same for the next two years, the district could face a $3.2-million deficit in the 1994-95 school term and an $8.5-million deficit the year after, according to board reports.

Board members said they plan to keep a close eye on future budgets.

"It will be tougher," Trustee Blanch M. Greenwood said. "But we're watching our expenditures and trying to avoid the deep cuts that we'd have to make."

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