By Mila Besich-Lira
Dr. Robert Dunn the Superintendent for the Ray Unified School District informed the school board that the district will need to make additional cuts to the Maintenance and Operations budget for the 2013-14 school year. These announcements were made at the monthly board meeting in March.
Currently 81 percent of the M&O (Maintenance and Operations) budget is devoted to the salaries and fringe benefits of the staff. In the 2012-13 budget the district slashed $200,000 from the M&O budget. Dunn explained to the board that they will need to cut $400,000 from the budget for 2013-14. According to the press release prepared by RUSD, the board is considering the following measures to achieve the cuts to the budget: the elimination of program(s), the elimination of paid assistant coaching positions, reductions-in-force, pay to play for athletics, replacing retiring teachers from within current faculty, and use of the funds from Employee Benefit Trust Fund.
The Employee Benefit Trust Funds would provide the district about $50,000 for the next year. These funds are generated from a difference in health insurance premiums collected and the actual amount paid to the insurer. Over time, this fund grows through this difference as well as interest collected.
Over the years the district has been steadily losing state funding. An example provided in the news release stated that district received $626,000 in state funding in the 2009-10 school year. In 2012-13 the district only received $47,000 in state funding.
The board will have a budget hearing to discuss these cuts in an executive session on March 27, 2013. This meeting will not be held in public session. On April 11, the board will meet in a public session to approve the cuts. The public is encouraged to attend.
The following comment was in the press release from the district. “These are not easy decisions. Every effort will be made to maintain the integrity of our school and the excellent programs available to our students.”