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Orange County Focus

NEWPORT BEACH COSTA MESA : Budget for Schools Includes Reserve

March 10, 1994|BOB ELSTON

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District is accomplishing something this year that it has not managed in almost a decade: Its operating budget for the current school year includes a 3% reserve.

It does not sound like a big achievement, but for a district that suffered through a multimillion-dollar embezzlement scandal in 1992 and spent millions this year to reduce the class ratio by about two students per teacher, it is cause for celebration.

"I believe this is somewhat of a historical occasion for us," district Supt. Mac Bernd told the small gathering of parents and teachers at Tuesday's school board meeting.

Of the $88-million budget for the 1993-94 school year, about $2.6 million is being kept in reserve to comply with state mandates. In the past, the district has used endowment money or proceeds from the sale of district property to plug shortfalls in reserves, school board President Edward H. Decker said. He added that the reserves are an indication of the district's financial health.

"It was great news," Decker said about meeting the reserve-fund mandate. "Especially since we have not been in compliance for some time."

The budget report will be filed with the county by Tuesday.

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