Merced Union High School District's financial prospects good

Budget projections lift trustees' outlook

dyawger@mercedsunstar.comAugust 4, 2013 

— While the presentation was short on specifics, Merced Union High School District trustees were encouraged Wednesday afternoon about future budget prospects during an hourlong special meeting.

Leonard Kahn, the district's chief budget official and assistant superintendent of business services, told trustees the district would be getting more state money under Gov. Jerry Brown's recently enacted local control funding formula.

"It's real money and it's good," Kahn said. "Everybody's unsure about the calculations. I told them (trustees) there was not a lot to tell them. We are getting more money."

Trustee William Snyder III said these words of encouragement don't mean much until he actually sees the money.

"We will get paid more money but I don't know what we can use it for," Snyder said, "and what strings are attached or the way it can be dispersed."

Trustee Dora Crane said the district's financial outlook looks good and the projections for the next few years are reassuring.

"It looks like a positive outcome for the high school district for the next three years," Crane said. "It will make a remarkable difference for the school district. After several down years, there is light at the end of the tunnel and it is going to be better than last year."

There is an accountability element to the funding picture, Kahn said. These restrictions will be clearer in January.

The district, which has campuses in Merced, Atwater and Livingston, may get an additional $4.5 million under the formula; another $1.6 million is earmarked for expenses associated with converting to common core instructional practices. Another $230,000 may be received for common core expenses in October, Kahn said.

Board President Ida Johnson said trustees will need to hold another budget study workshop, probably in September.

Reporter Doane Yawger can be reached at (209) 385-2407 or dyawger@mercedsunstar.com.

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