District struggles with budget cuts

The Novato Unified School District is facing deficits of more than $4 million, shown in the district’s First Interim Report. As a result, the school district will have to cut funding to certain parts of the budget, with recommendations made by the Budget Advisory Committee.

According to Assistant Superintendent of Business Services Yancy Hawkins, the deficit has left the district with few options on how to deal with it.

“There will be budget solutions necessary for the 2018-19 school year. The district has a structural deficit and solutions are necessary to bring the budget into balance,” Hawkins said.

The increase in the deficit was a result of more money being spent in the Books, Materials and Supplies budget, as well as the Services and Operating Expenditures budget. Overall, the net expenditures rose by $4.65 million, while the net revenue was only $3.5 million more than expected in the proposed budget.

Furthermore, the level of student enrollment in the NUSD school district is predicted to decline over the next ten years. This has multiple consequences on the district’s funding, which partially depends on the amount of students enrolling in each of the schools.

San Marin in particular will lose a large amount of students, with the student population forecast to reach levels below one thousand.

Assistant Principal Diane Santamorena is part of the Budget Advisory Committee, which was responsible for finding areas of the budget where less money can be spent.

“We’re not just focusing on where we can cut our spending, we’re also looking at where we can increase our income… The first priority, which we all agreed on, was to protect student learning when making these suggestions.”

The increasing deficit also comes at a time when San Marin, and the district as a whole, is trying to deal with teachers leaving for betterpaying opportunities. These budget cuts may present an obstacle to efforts to offer improved salaries if the areas cut include the certificated and classified salaries.