By Karen Billing
The Del Mar Union School District board approved its 2013-14 budget with a sense of accomplishment at its June 26 board meeting. As a result of a reduction in expenditures of more than $2 million, the district has been able to whittle its deficit spending down to $269,357.
Cathy Birks, assistant superintendent of business services, said the budget is the result of district staff, unions and the community really coming together to find solutions.
“The board should be commended for everything we’ve gone through,” Birks said. “It just says how fiscally responsible all of you have been and I do appreciate those efforts.”
Trustee Scott Wooden reflected that while it is definitely good news, they need to continue those efforts and they can’t rest on the impression that they no longer have a huge deficit.
“[Those reductions] need to be renewed next year or we’re going to go back to that $2 million deficit,” said Wooden.
Birks reported the good news that the budget saw an additional boost in revenue as the approved budget reflects a difference in revenue limit sources of $1,905,766 from the first read.
The district saw an increase in property taxes that can be attributed to the sale of L’Auberge Del Mar for $77 million that resulted in a $40 million increase in assessed value, new construction, fully funded 2 percent annual inflation and a decline in value assessment from Prop A.
“We are currently realizing the restoration of temporary reduction in values,” Birks said.
The district will also see money from Prop 30’s Education Protection Account (EPA), a total of $854,666.
“This is excellent news,” said Birks of the EPA monies.
A condition of receiving the funds is that the district has to provide information on how the money will be spent and Birks said that should be posted by July. Restrictions include that the money can’t be spent on administrative costs, salaries or benefits.
“The information has been very quickly communicated,” said Superintendent Holly McClurg of the EPA funds. “We want to be in compliance but still be thoughtful.”
The district will receive EPA monies for the next five years, but McClurg said they are still unsure what it will look like — at the minimum they will receive $200 per average daily attendance.
The approved budget also included a $6,488 difference in expenditures, the result of seven certificated staff accepting a retirement incentive, the addition of a new curriculum coordinator position, and the addition of post employment benefits for eligible retirees and the upgrade in security at several sites.