The Finley and Columbia-Burbank school districts don't expect they'll have to lay off teachers or other employees in 2010-11 despite losing thousands of dollars in state funding in the latest round of cuts.
Both districts recently adopted their budgets for the coming school year. Officials said they were able to find ways to shift dollars to save jobs and maintain programs.
They'd faced another year of significant belt-tightening because of reductions the state Legislature made to balance the 2009-11 budget. In the last session, $755 million was cut from programs, including K-12 education.
That was on top of $800 million in public school funding cut during the 2009 session.
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Finley and Burbank officials said although they'll be able to weather this year, they're already thinking about the next year, when the federal stimulus money that's been used to backfill some state reductions will drop off.
"We are in good financial shape this year," said Finley Superintendent Suzanne Feeney of her district.
"Next year, I don't know if I'll be saying that."
The Finley School Board adopted a $10 million general fund budget for 2010-11.
It's based on having 910 full-time students, an increase of 20 over what was budgeted last year. Enrollment is a key factor in budgeting because districts get money from the state based on how many students they enroll.
Finley doesn't expect to cut staff or programs.
The budget does reflect elimination of Initiative 728 money, which was used by districts statewide to reduce class sizes, typically by hiring staff. It was eliminated in the last Legislature, which meant the loss of about $500,000 in Finley. Last year, the district used I-728 to fund the equivalent of three full-time jobs.
The district will dip into its money left over when the bills are paid to save the jobs.
The district's fund balance still is forecast to be a healthy 5.5 percent of its budget, Feeney said.
The school board also approved $921,100 for debt service, $128,000 for school buses and $263,515 for the associated student body.
Feeney said the district will continue providing a solid education.
"We'll be able to weather the storm of I-728 not being with us, and we'll be able to do great things for kids," she said.
Columbia-Burbank's general fund budget for 2010-11 is $9.3 million.
It anticipates having about 20 fewer full-time students than what was budgeted last year. That's because the graduating high school classes recently have been larger than incoming elementary classes, said Business Manager Debbie Williams.
Like Finley, the district's biggest hit was losing I-728 money, with which Burbank schools used to pay for the equivalent of nearly two full-time jobs.
But employee attrition, coupled with some more money from the district's maintenance and operations levy, means no one will have to be laid off, said Superintendent Lou Gates.
The Legislature raised the cap on how much districts can collect through property tax levies, he said.
Still, the tight finances do mean the district will cut high school summer school in 2011. All other programs are intact.
The budget "will allow for quality education for our students while also maintaining positions for our employees in a difficult economic climate," Gates said.
The district's fund balance is projected to be just shy of 5 percent of the budget.
The budget adopted this week also has $1.6 million for debt service, $262,000 for the associated student body, $523,000 for capital projects and $128,000 for school buses.