Potential pink slips for teachers, employee raises and a possible construction bond were discussed at the Stanislaus Union School District board of trustees meeting Thursday night.
Despite California's impending education budget crunch, Stanislaus Union trustees approved a contract with TBWB Public Finance Strategies LLC to survey district voters about whether they would support a general obligation bond to renovate and remodel the district's seven campuses.
Officials just completed a facilities master plan and determined that many of Stanislaus Union's schools are old and dilapidated. The plan estimates the need for about $8 million, said Dawn Riccoboni, Stanislaus Union's chief business officer.
The district enrolls about 3,200 northwest Modesto students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
The construction bond would increase property taxes within the district's boundaries and could be put on a ballot as soon as November. The bond would need 55 percent support from voters to pass.
TBWB's contract is for at least $35,000 and funding would come from the district's $1.4 million developer fee fund, Riccoboni said. The last bond passed by Stanislaus Union was in 1987 and received approval of more than 70 percent of voters, Riccoboni said.
Trustees questioned TBWB representatives for more than an hour. Neither group was sure how the presidential election year or a slowed-down economy would impact a November attempt.
At the board's April meeting, trustees will be considering the approval of more consultant contracts for a possible bond.
Trustees were set to approve sending preliminary layoff notices to three teachers. While student enrollment is stable, Gov. Schwarzenegger's proposed budget cuts for the 2008-09 budget year are forcing districts statewide to brace for less funding next year, Riccoboni said.
"We're in a better position than many districts," Riccoboni said last week. "We're cutting $1 million, but we're going to be absorbing that within our existing resources. But the next year, we'll feel it a lot more."
The district has a $27 million annual budget.
Also at the meeting, trustees were considering the approval of a 3.2 percent raise for employees retroactive to July 1. The salary increase will cost the district $111,410 this year, not including teachers.
As of press time, trustees had not voted on the raises or layoff notices.
Bee staff writer Michelle Hatfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2339.