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District board accepts interim financial report

It also gets a new president. Members say budget could undergo further cuts.

December 09, 2010|By Andrew Shortall, andrew.shortall@latimes.com

Jeanne Broberg passed the gavel, and with it the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board presidency, to Susan Boyd Tuesday night.

First elected to the school board in 2005, this is Boyd's second turn at the helm. She previously served as president in 2008.

"It feels great [being elected board president], I love working with this group and our administration," Boyd said. "I think we've got some major challenges ahead of us but we've they've been creeping up on us the past few years."

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Boyd said the district and state budgets are her primary concerns.

"We're going to have to see what cuts come from Sacramento and we'll have to make some pretty tough decisions, but I don't make them myself. We do it as a team and I don't think we could possibly have a better group."

Scott Tracy was reelected vice president of the board and Joel Peterson took on the role of clerk.

The school board and Supt. Jim Stratton thanked Broberg for her year of service and dedication.

"She's done an outstanding job as president," Stratton said.

Board accepts interim budget

In other business, the school board accepted the first interim financial report Tuesday night.

The report, operating under the assumption no further changes will be made to California's state budget, projects that La Cañada Unified will remain solvent through 2013-14. Cuts are most likely coming to repair California's budget though, which projects a $25.4 billion gap in spending in the next year and a half.

This report was accepted on a vote of four to one, with Boyd, Broberg, Peterson and Tracy voting for it and board member Cindy Wilcox dissenting.

Due to the uncertainty surrounding the state budget, Wilcox recommended adopting an alternate financial report e-mailed to the board by Stephen Hodgson, LCUSD's financial consultant, earlier in the week. The alternate report eliminates $4.073 million in new state funding over the next four years. This sum represents possible cuts to average daily attendance money. This adjustment changes the projections and estimates La Cañada Unified will be in the red by $2.198 million come 2013-14.

Wilcox suggested adopting the alternate report would better communicate the dire situation the board is facing.

"There is a concern the budget we have today from California isn't a realistic budget — more deeply concerning that it's misleading," Wilcox said. "We don't want to send the wrong message to the community."

Peterson didn't believe the alternate report was necessary.

"I don't think were projecting an overly rosy outlook," said Peterson, adding it wasn't wise to be too pessimistic. "If we come out and say the sky is falling and it doesn't, the community loses faith in us."

Boyd asserted that the original report wasn't optimistic.

"We're constantly looking at alternative budgets because we know it's not going to be this good and we know cuts are coming down the road," Boyd said. "If you look at this budget, there's nothing that says we're going to be okay. You can see we have huge deficit spending in the budget we're already passing, and if we don't do something to change that, we're going to have problems."

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