ATWATER -- For now, the Atwater Elementary School District (AESD) has a target, albeit a moving one.
The district's superintendent, Melinda Hennes, told board of education members Thursday that it needs to reduce its 2010-2011 budget by $1.4 million.
Unfortunately, this number won't be exact until Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget is finalized.
The governor's revised budget comes out in May, and it should be adopted in June; however, that is rarely the case and the budget frequently gets signed much later in the year.
Early projections by the district estimated that the AESD will have a $6.2 million loss in funding next year, said district officials at an earlier school board meeting.
The district's new chief business officer, Martin Fregoso, presented a two-year projection of the AESD's financial situation if it doesn't make cuts.
The district will have a $1.4 million deficit next year and in 2011-2012 the deficit will stretch to $1.8 million, according to a report prepared by Fregoso.
In 2011-2012, the district's economic uncertainty reserve will have dropped to 1.96 percent.
Legally, all districts need to keep a reserve fund that is at least 3 percent of its expenditures.
Cuts are nothing new for the school district.
Over 2009's winter months, the district slashed 54 jobs, decreased health care benefit eligibility, eliminated deferred maintenance funding and made cuts to several other areas, including student transportation.
The AESD did not yet identify specific areas where it will make cuts; however, if the district plans to lay off teachers they must be notified before March 15.
The district will hold its next budget workshop March 3 at 5:30 p.m. at the Mitchell Elementary School cafeteria.
Reporter Jamie Oppenheim can be reached at (209)385-2407 or firstname.lastname@example.org.