Local tax measure fails to pass; aftermath remains uncertain

Local+tax+measure+fails+to+pass%3B+aftermath+remains+uncertain

Emma Huebner

Despite having over fifty percent support, Meaure H did not pass because it did not receive mandatory the two-thirds majority. Credit: Alex Phelps/The Foothill Dragon Press.

Doors to more funding for Ventura Unified were abruptly shut on Nov. 2 when Measure H, a proposition for a local school parcel tax, failed to pass.

Leftover federal stimulus funds and building funds will run out after the 2011-2012 school year. Many unanswered questions and unknown solutions lay beyond that period of time.

“There will be a shortfall of around $5 million,” Foothill’s principal Joe Bova said, regarding the 2012-2013 school year budget deficit. “They will have to make that up through pretty drastic cuts.” 

The district has given no new information since the parcel tax failed to pass and is waiting on the new government’s budget plan to make decisions about how to proceed.

“There is too much uncertainty right now with the state budget and the recent election of a new governor for them to make any determinations about potential cuts that may happen next year,” Bova said.

Andrea McNeill, Director of Budget and Finance for Ventura Unified, said that they cannot “quantify” what the future holds until after Governor Brown has developed the new budget.

However, Bova did hint at the possibility of mid-year cuts. These would not come out until May 2011, at the beginning of a new fiscal year. If fiscal year cuts are made, the district will not make any adjustments for the remaining month left in the school year. Most likely, any additional cuts will be made after the summer.

Bova believes that the second furlough day for this school year will remain and additional cuts will most likely begin during the following school year.

According to McNeill, four furlough days are planned for the upcoming 2011-2012 school year, and eight furlough days are scheduled for the 2012-2013 school year. This will bring $2 million dollars during the first year and another $4 million the following year to the district.

The furlough days stand as the only certainty until definitive measures are decided by the state.

Bova said that another possibility for increasing the school district’s revenue would be to freeze the Step and Column increase.

“Each year, a teacher gets an incremental pay raise. They can freeze that,” Bova said.

Regardless of what the state budget reveals once it is released, Bova said that additional cuts will be made.

“The expectation is that they will have to make cuts across the board,” he said.

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