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Paso Robles Unified School District looks for ways to tackle low reserve funds

Posted at 10:42 PM, Oct 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-10 01:45:26-04

Reserve funds are running low for the Paso Robles Unified School District (PRUSD). The board met Tuesday night to talk about how to handle the problem moving forward.

In June, the district announced it would not lay off staff or end programs despite lower than expected budget reserves.

The district’s Chief Business Officer says layoffs are the last resort.

“First is looking at management positions, second was programs so looking at effectiveness and cost of all those programs and third would be looking at fees that we can generate,” said Brad Pawlowski, Chief Business Officer for PRUSD

With the help of the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education, the PRUSD is looking to fulfill four conditions for the 2018-2019 budget.

If those fail, then the district would look at job cuts.

Now, the board will need to fulfill the four conditions:

1. Make a reserve plan to show how it will keep the budget above the 3 percent state minimum.
?2. Create a budget communication committee that is required to keep the public up to date with all efforts.
3. Participate in a fiscal risk assessment that looks at deficit spending, fund balance and reserve for economic uncertainty.
4. Work with a fiscal advisor (Diana Larson) appointed by the county.

“The county will examine assumptions [the district] uses to plot their fiscal future, whether they are realistic as well as the assumptions of revenue they use for the future all come into play,”? said Sheldon Smith, Assistant Superintendent of SLO County Business Offices.

Superintendent Chris Williams took responsibility for the reserve’s deficit but was optimistic the district will raise reserve levels without taking jobs away.

The board will need to create a reserve budget plan and committee by November 5th, 2018.

The conditions are in place until the reserve funds are above three percent and on track to stay that way in the future.

The board will meet next on October 23rd and will be recruiting members for the budget committee on Wednesday.