WUSD adopts deficit budget

The Williams Unified School District Board of Trustees approved its $17.2 million budget for the 2018-19 school year at a special meeting on May 29.

The school board voted 3-0, with Kelly Lewis and Yareli Mora absent, to adopt the budget, which reflects a planned one-time deficit of $101,124, which will come from reserves.
Mechele Coombs, director of fiscal services, said salaries and benefits, including retirement obligations that continue to skyrocket, account for 71 percent of the budget, including $6.6 million in salaries for teachers, up from 6.4 million the previous year, and $2.1 million for classified staff, up from $2.0 million the previous year. About $3.6 million goes toward employee benefits, and includes $10,800 for medical benefits for each full-time teacher, and $8,568 per year for each classified staff member, manager and administrator.

Next year’s budget is based on total anticipated revenue of $17,125,111, Coombs said.
“WUSD receives revenues from various sources,” she said. “The Local Control Funding Formula ($14.2 million) is the major source of revenue for the district. LCFF sources are comprised of a combination of state aid and local property taxes, based on funding formulas, and represents 83 percent of total revenues.”

Federal revenue represents about 7 percent of the general fund budget, and funds grants and entitlements for special purposes.

“One of the major components of federal revenue is the School Improvement Grant of approximately $951,181,” Coombs added.

Coombs said about nine percent of the budget comes from other state revenue sources, including the lottery, After school Education and Safety grant, the Career Technical Education Incentive grant, and the One-Time Mandate funds.

The district anticipates having an ending fund balance of just over $4 million on July 1 of this year, and $3.9 million next year, which takes into account the deficit from one-time expenditures for the California Clean Energy Jobs Act ($100,024) and the Medi-Cal Collaborative reserves ($1,000).

Coombs said the goal of the district is to maintain a balanced budget.
“When ongoing expenditures in the budget do not exceed the revenue, the result is a balanced budget.”

Coombs anticipates the Public Employee Retirement System to increase from the 2018-19 rate of 18.1 percent to 20.8 percent in 2019-20, and to 23.5 percent in 2020-21. The State Teachers Retirement System will increase from 16.3 percent in 2018-19 to 18.1 percent in 2019-20, and to 19.1 percent in 2020-21.

Coombs said utilities, and property and liability insurance have also been budgeted with an anticipated increase

WUSD will continue to reserve 3 percent of expenditures for economic uncertainty, and will maintain reserve levels at 17 percent, officials said.

Superintendent Edgar Lampkin said the school district’s fiscal solvency and strong reserves are essential to earn the best credit rating, which will ultimately be enjoyed by taxpayers in the form of reduced interest rates on the district’s bonds.

The general obligation bonds, which voters approved in 2016, will modernize, renovate, or construct classrooms, restrooms, libraries, and other facilities; make health, safety and handicapped accessibility improvements; replace temporary portables; and upgrade physical education fields and facilities for school and community use.

Work is underway on the new weight room, and the school board just recently approved the use of McCarl Field next year for admission-based soccer.