School board members braced for another tough budget battle that could mean both lost jobs and services -- along with significant tax increases -- as they began on Monday to try closing a $2.4 million budget deficit.
During the latest budget presentation at the meeting, Superintendent John Ramos was blunt in his assessment of the district finances, declaring, "We all have to understand ... yes, we are losing services. We are losing programs and services, year in and year out. That's the reality."
He later added, "We
cannot expect that when you cut 19 positions one year and you are faced
with another deficit, as we are this year, that programs and services
are probably going to remain the same. They are not. They're not."
His comments followed Business Administrator Paul Roth's budget update that revealed a budget deficit that could top $2.4 million if the district remains within the state-limited 2% tax increase cap.
More on that HERE.
Roth described it as a "budget stress."
"We're pushing more classes to maximum class size limits than ever before," Roth said. "We
have more people working later and later into the night and at some
point we will begin to struggle at meeting deadlines and quality of work
... if we don't have some funding relief."
He cited a growing enrollment vs. staffing disparity. See that below:
"At some point we can't do more with less," Roth declared. "At some point we have to say, 'if we cut this we really can't provide the service.'"
Ramos agreed: "If we continue to go forward at the same trajectory, then we will continue to lose programs and services," the superintendent said. "That's the answer. We can't fund them."
But Ramos said there is a solution if the district seeks funding and revenue in new ways.
"There's no way around this unless we become a revenue-generating source ourselves," he said. "I think the people are beginning to understand that tax dollars go only so far as long as we continue to abide by the 2% cap. We have to find other ways of generating revenue."
No formal cost-cutting or revenue generating proposals were made at the meeting. But more details are expected at the next board meeting, which will be a budget workshop on March 7.