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County approves school’s budget plans for 2018-21

October 11, 2018

NEEDLES —The Needles Unified School District’s 2018-19 fiscal year budget is near $14,205,009 ($11,790,354 unrestricted and $2,414,655 restricted); their projected budget for FY 2019-20 is about $14,031,982 (about $11,617,327 unrestricted and $2,433,327 restricted); for FY 2020-21 the district’s projected budget is about $14,308,276 ($11,893,621 unrestricted and $2,433,327 restricted.)

The district’s unrestricted funds balance reserves, or funds the board sets aside for a specific purpose that can be used for general and discretionary needs of the district, see a little dip from the adopted to the projected budget. The adopted budget for FY 2018-19 is $596,000; in FY 2019-20 and FY 2020-21 the funds drop to $560,000 for each year.

Patricia J. Trevino, business services advisor for the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools’ office, stated in a letter to the NUSD: “As adopted by the district’s governing board, the budget reflects an unrestricted ending balance reserve in the general fund of 4 percent in 2018-19, 4 percent in FY 2019-20 and 3 percent in FY 2020-21. Although not meeting the required reserve level of 4 percent ($568,706) in FY 2020-21, the district does have sufficient reserves in the 9780 Assigned Fund Balance.”

The NUSD is not faced with any deficit spending since they’re projecting their unrestricted revenues to exceed their expenditures.

The district is anticipating expenditures out of the unrestricted fund of $11,682,442 for FY 2018-19 which gives them a positive budget of $107,912. Projected expenditures in FY 2019-20 are $11,554,954 which yields a positive budget of $62,373; the projected expenditure in FY 2020-21 is $11,802,997 which give them a positive balance of $90,624.

“The funds that make up the unrestricted reserve percentage are assigned money (money saved to purchase books, school supplies, air-conditioner repair etc.) and Reserve for Economic Uncertainties which is money the state mandates the school district to set aside,” stated McNeil.

The district’s unrestricted reserve percentage is projected to have a steady climb starting from FY 2018-19, $919,685.62 ($350,685.62 assigned, $569,000 mandated ); FY 2019-20, $982,058.62 ($422,058.62 assigned, $560,000 mandated); FY 2020-21, $1,072,682.62 ($512,682.62 assigned, $560,000 mandated).

“With no deficit spending, the district is within the established state standard for the current and two subsequent fiscal years,” stated Trevino. “The state’s established standard is one-third of the district’s available unrestricted reserve percentage.”

The total unrestricted salaries and benefits for the NUSD see a steady increase, starting with a FY 2018-19 amount of $8,543,779; rising to $8,670,106 in FY 2019-20; and $8,873,169 in FY 2020-21.

“If salaries and benefits are growing at a rate faster than total expenditure those will consume a disproportionately greater share of the district’s resources, putting significant pressures on the rest of the budget,” stated Trevino. “The district’s ratio of unrestricted salaries and benefits to total unrestricted expenditures is within the state’s established standard for the current fiscal year with 73.3 percent; in 2019-20 it’s 75.2 percent and in 2020-21 it’s 75.3 percent.

“Additionally, the audit report identifies the district’s net pension liability of $10,822,640 as long-term debt. This is recognition of the present value of the district’s portion of the unfunded liability for earned CalSTRS (California State Teachers’ Retirement System) and CalPERS (California Public Employees’ Retirement System) retirement funds. The district’s portion is approximately 0.00859 percent (CalSTRS) and 0.01962 percent (CalPERS) of the statewide liability.

The district’s cash flow for FY 2018-19 was provided with the adopted budget.

“Our internal cash analysis indicates that the district will have a positive cash balance at the end of each month and at the end of the current fiscal year,” said Trevino. “To maintain a positive cash position, the district used a constitutional advance of $1,293,334 which is scheduled to be repaid by April 25, 2019.”

The district’s average daily attendance (ADA) is a major component of the district’s budget.

The district’s projected enrollment for FY 2018-19 was 972 but in a recent report provided by school staff, the total enrollment is 1,009 across the district. The enrollment is split between Needles High School, 288 students; Needles Middle School, 256 students; Educational Training Center, 13 students; Vista Colorado Elementary School, 406 students; Chemehuevi Elementary School, 35 students; and the community day school, 11 students.

The projections for the district’s enrollment are FY 2019-20: 960 students; and FY 2020-21: 959 students.

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