Board of Education eyes finances, school safety

MARTINEZ, Calif. ­­– Martinez Unified School District managed to curb expenses in Fiscal Year 2017-18, but still spent more than it received, according to a report the District’s Board of Education will hear Monday.

The unaudited actual report, a year-end summary of the District’s financial status, gives the Board a chance to confirm the books have closed appropriately. Once audited and if necessary adjusted, the report becomes the final numbers for the year, Assistant Superintendent Helen Rossi wrote the panel.

The District expected to receive $42,563,561.87 from four sources, the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) which is state funding based on the district’s number of high-needs students, as well as federal, state and local revenue sources.

While LCFF, federal and local money was $351,084.05 less than estimated, the state revenue was $890,357.51 greater, giving the District $539,273.46 more than expected.

Salaries and benefits make up the bulk of the District’s expenditures, Rossi’s report said.

The District spent $513,750.07 less on certificated salaries – teachers – than expected, or $19,289,399.11 instead of $19,803,149.18, because of a decrease in staffing at the secondary level.

But it spent $143,603.74 more on classified salaries, for other employees, or $5,339,252.93 instead of $5,195,649.19.

Benefits took another large chunk of the budget, although $226,558.50 less than expected. The District spent $11,338,565.96 on benefits instead of $11,565,215.46.

The District spent $5,479,304.82 on various services and operating expenses instead of the anticipated $6,562,796.41; $1,465,329.99 instead of the expected $1,923,889.76 on books and supplies; $40,116.87 instead of $50,774.44 on capital outlay and $774,192 instead of the expected $662,710.44 on various other expenditures.

The anticipated revenues and expenditures had been predicted to be a $3,186,024.69 deficit. While the District reduced that amount by nearly $2.7 million, but still fell short by $492,217.

Because of an additional infusion of state revenues, the District’s unaudited actual ending balance is $7,529,435.45, Rossi wrote. The ending balance was anticipated to be $4,923,828.04, she wrote.

“For Martinez Unified School District, the ending fund balance for the General Fund in 2018 (-18) was positive along with a positive balance in all other district funds,” Rossi wrote in the report. The General Fund ending balance is $7,529,435.45, which includes the district having met the 3 percent fund balance requirement for economic uncertainty.”

She wrote that ending balance will be brought forward to the current, 2019-19, budget and budget adjustments will be made in the current year to include any carryover balance.

In December, the Board will see a complete revised budget based on the beginning balance and other changes along with the first interim report for the period ending Oct. 31, she wrote.

The Board will set its state-mandated “Gann Limits,” or maximum appropriations limitations for the 2017-18 and projected limit for 2018-19 fiscal year under restrictions set by Proposition 4.

In a matter related to student and school safety, the District will partner with Sandy Hook Promise to implement its “Know the Signs” programs.

Sandy Hook Promise takes its name from the Newtown, Conn., elementary school that experienced a tragic shooting when Adam Lanza, 20, entered the school Dec. 14, 2012, after killing his mother, Nancy. He then fatally shot 20 pupils 6 and 7 years old, and 6 adult employees before committing suicide as first responders arrived.

The program, based in Newtown, is designed to protect children from gun violence, whether from crime, suicide, accidental discharge or other occurrences.

Sandy Hook Promise reaches out nationally to parents, educators and community organizations. On a community level, it trains volunteers to raise awareness and educate others about preventing gun violence. Its mental health and wellness program strives to intervene and help at-risk individuals and ensure that firearms are kept safe and secure. The organization advocates for passage of mental health, wellness and gun safety laws.

The District, with support from the Contra Costa County Office of Education, might participate for three years at no cost in the “Sandy Hook Promise – Know the Signs” programs to ensure that the District’s school campuses have safe, supportive environments.

The resolution under consideration Monday acknowledges the problems of social isolation, vulnerability to bullying, violence, depression and suicide, the second leading cause of death for American adolescents.

If approved, the Board would endorse and support the Contra Costa County Office of Education’s use of the program to teach students in grades 2 to 12 to reach out to those with chronic social isolation and to identify potential threats to students, including those in social media.

It also would be used to teach middle and high school students the signs of depression and those contemplating suicide and to get help to those who may be pose imminent or longer-term threats to themselves and others.

The Board also will hear a presentation from Feet First Foundation, which brings trainers to Vicente High School and is offering after-school boxing at John Muir Elementary School.

A 6 p.m. Monday closed session will let the Board speak with labor negotiators handling the District’s talks with the Martinez Education Association.

The regular meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the District Board Room, 921 Susana St.

One Reply to “Board of Education eyes finances, school safety”

  1. I’m very happy to see our district taking part in the Sandy Hook Promise program, which was initiated by the Contra Costa Office of Education in partnership with numerous local school districts, including MUSD. However, our board as a whole continues to only pay lip service to the issue of school safety. It has not presented or considered one concrete step to improve the physical security of our schools in the many months since the Parkland shooting and the gun threat scare that closed our junior high for a day. There are many simple, low-cost things that can be done now to make our schools safer; our school board simply hasn’t made it a priority. Instead, it has focused on things like pool repairs, a project labor agreement to benefit campaign contributors and expressing indignation over the ramifications of minor ballot changes for the November election.

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