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Dixie School District Uses One-Time Solutions for Budget Woes

The budget passed last night is predicted to only be sustainable for the next year or two.

The Dixie School District will be relying on one-time solutions and continued reductions in services to fill budget gaps left by expected cuts from the state.

The budget was approved at last night’s school board meeting, although board Vice President Brad Honsberger was absent.

Using data from Gov. Jerry Brown’s May revise of the state budget, as well as advice from the Marin County Office of Education, the district will continue to cut maintenance by 80 to 85 percent, continue to freeze the library assistant position and offer no summer school.

A number of one-time solutions and funds will also be used to fill the budget gap. To offset the cost of furlough days, $177,00 of federal money aimed at keeping teachers and other governmental workers will be used. Money will also be taken from the general reserve fund to fill in the holes. One bus route and driver will also be cut.

Despite the added income expected from the parcel tax that was approved by voters in May, the district still faces a more than $1 million reduction in state revenue and a possible $330 cut per student based on average daily attendance.

The Dixie School District serves approximately 1,750 students in , , and schools. The $330 cut per student would amount to more than $500,000 in additional cuts.

These cuts are expected to continue into the foreseeable future, something the current year’s budget cannot account for.

“It is evident that our current budget cannot be sustained for more than one to two years,” the budget cover letter states, echoing sentiments expressed at the June 14 school board meeting.

The use of one-time solutions means that next year the budget will most likely need to be revised again in order to either find more one-time solutions or determine where more cuts will be.

As for this year, “We’re trying to keep the budget as close to the 2010-2011 budget as possible,” said Robert Marical, business manager for the district.

Districts like Dixie are normally less affected by state budget cuts because they get most of their funding from high local property tax revenue. Most districts get their funding through the state depending on how many students attend the schools.

Due to the on-going economic crisis in California, districts like Dixie have lost state funding to keep cuts between tax-reliant districts and state funding-reliant districts as even as possible.

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