As officials have stared in the face of a daunting (and ever-changing) in recent months, they have .
District officials are in the midst of ongoing negotiations with its teacher and employee unions. The PTA Council is deciding if it can pick up 100 percent of the cost of material and supplies for the 2012-2013 year at $60 per student. The district is working with political consulting firm on a that will both sufficiently address the deficit and stand a chance at getting approved by the voters.
And then there is the old standby.
, the Mill Valley Schools Community Foundation, said this week that it reached its annual fundraising goal of $2.4 million, and Kiddo leaders have posted thank you thermometer signs around town to thank parents, local businesses and the broader community for raising a ever-growing amount of money to both pay for all arts education in the district and supplement a number of other key programs.
“Thanks to exceptional community support, we are able to maintain our arts programs and increase funding for additional programs that are no longer funded by the state,” Kira Keane, the chair of the Kiddo! B, said in a statement. “We are lucky to live in a wonderful community that places a high value on providing our children with an excellent public school education.”
The fundraising tally includes $950 from parents for each of their students in the district, as well as approximately $235,000 from local businesses and shopping-based donation programs and $144,00 in interested from Kiddo’s endowment fund.
Kiddo Executive Director Trisha Garlock noted, however, that $420,000 of the $2.4 million pledged had not yet received by the organization. She urged those donors to send in their checks.
The district’s budget deficit is ever-shifting, as local economic conditions improve slightly but are tempered by continued cuts at the state level. An unexpected 1.3 percent rise in local property tax revenues has trimmed the deficit, as has the district’s decision to forgo the planned launch of a transitional kindergarten class.
A new state law requires children to be 5 by Nov. 2 in 2012-13, Oct. 2 in 2013-14 and Sept. 1 in 2014-15, and districts are set roll out new transitional kindergarten classes to account for the students who won’t be old enough to attend kindergarten under the new rules. But in his latest budget, Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a permanent elimination of funds for transitional kindergarten.
Without the funding to pay for it, the district won’t be offering transitional kindergarten, leaving the parents of approximately 18 incoming kindergarten students to find another option for that transition year, according to district Superintendent Paul Johnson. The district will save an estimated $85,000 for the 2012-2013 school year, Johnson said.
The additional revenue and savings are countered by the state’s cuts to school bus funding. The cut to the group with which the district shares bus routes amounts to a revenue loss of $50,00 this year and $100,000 next year, Johnson said.
Those changes amount to a deficit reduction for the current school year from approximately $700,000 to $446,000, according to the latest budget report from Michele Rollins, the district assistant superintendent for business services.
For subsequent years, the deficit is projected to shrink from $2 million to $1.5 million in 2012-2013 and $1.6 million the following year.
“It continues to be a volatile situation,” Johnson told the school board last week. “Things have improved slightly but we don’t want to give a false impression as there is still plenty to be concerned about.”
Johnson and Rollins also noted that one big bright spot of Brown’s latest budget had an ironic twist for Mill Valley. As a basic aid district, the state has reached the $2.2 million limit it can take away from the district, so there isn’t much more it can take, Rollins said.