Del Mar school district faces $2.5M deficit


Still facing a $2.5 million deficit, the Del Mar Union School District board is looking to finalize a 2010-11 budget on June 23 that includes cuts in school supplies and a staffing plan that doesn’t account for potential enrollment growth.

Dena Whittington, assistant superintendent of business services, reported at the May 26 meeting that the budget forecast indicates total revenues of $38.9 million and expenditures of $41.5 million. Using estimated enrollment numbers, the current revenue per child is $9,309 and the current expenditure per child is $9,910.

In this tentative budget, school supplies for each site have been trimmed by a minimum of 10 percent and there are still some opportunities to cut back in other categories.

Whittington said the budget was prepared using different assumptions this year, driven by discussions at the Financial Task Force. This year, the district is using 100 percent of what the tax assessor’s estimate of property tax revenue will be for the coming fiscal year — a total of $33.4 million.

Whittington said next year’s property tax revenue estimate is 2 percent lower than the current year’s estimates. He said this calculation comes from the tax assessor’s office as of April 15. He explained that revenue from tax assessments fluctuates and is likely to increase as the economy improves.

Staffing projections calls for 224 regular classroom and Extended Studies Curriculum (ESC) part- and full-time teachers, although the DecisionIncite enrollment projects predict that there could be an increase in students, Whittington said.

“We may need to add an additional six classroom teachers and those have not been budgeted,” Whittington said.

At last week’s meeting, Del Mar Education Foundation President Chris Stevenson presented the district with a check for $101,000, bringing the total amount raised for ESC to $1,181,000. With corporate matches still coming in, the foundation expects to pay for 13.5 full-time equivalent ESC instructors.

Facilities improvements this summer

Randy Wheaton, Del Mar Union School District maintenance supervisor, said his department will be very busy this summer.

At the May 26 meeting, Wheaton said a half million square feet worth of facilities will be cleaned from top to bottom. Projects for the summer are small and large; everything from fresh coats of paint on the ball walls to a new roof for Del Mar Hills.

“We’re ready to hit the ground running on June 21,” Wheaton said.

The district will continue to look at adding security fencing to some school sites after requests from several parents. The maintenance department and an architecture firm are looking at each site to see where fences could be effective, considering joint-use agreements with the city and each school’s needs.

Wheaton pointed to Sycamore Ridge and Ocean Air as schools with very good fencing programs that limit access for campus visitors and channel them through the front office.

Trustees Katherine White and Annette Easton said sometimes fencing provides a false sense of security and it might be more appropriate to consider an overall safety program, not just fences.