Big Bear Lake, CA — Bear Valley Unified School District’s second interim financial report was adopted by the Board of Trustees on March 17, and the district’s financial status was this week presented to the Budget Advisory Committee, which is comprised of parents, school district staff and community members. The district’s second interim financial report was adopted with a qualified certification, meaning that the district may not be able to meet its financial obligations for the current or two subsequent fiscal years. According to BVUSD’s Director of Business Services Watler Con, “This is the first time the district has filed a qualified report. What this means is that the district will have greater financial oversight from the County Office of Education and we, the district, will have to file a third interim report by June 1st. It must include a fiscal plan to restore the district to positive certification.”
Our local school district, like all school districts in California, is legally obligated to perform a three-year forecast. Given massive reductions in funding, BVUSD is not the only district to drop from a positive to a qualified certification; as of March 22, State Superintendent of Schools Jack O’Connell notes that at least 114 districts are now in this position, whereas just 19 were on California’s qualified list last year. As of Monday, 12 districts were on the negative certification list, though none of those are from within San Bernardino County.
In order for Bear Valley Unified to restore a positive certification, Con tells KBHR, “We have to come up with cuts of $100,000 in this current school year and $880,000 next year. The reason why we are ‘qualified’ is that $4 million in revenues have been cut.” To put this in perspective, in the 2007/2008 school year, BVUSD received $24.7 million in revenue; in the 2010/2011 school year, BVUSD is poised to receive $19.9 million, making for a discrepancy of $4.8 million. Con adds that BVUSD has already used much of their reserves; at the beginning of this school year, BVUSD had $5.3 million set aside but, given the forecast, there should only be $1.7 million ending next school year. “What puts us in the qualified status,” Con says, “is that the third year fund balance will be negative $371,000.”
To address the need for more cuts at the local level, the Budget Advisory Committee has planned for two full-day meetings, both of which will allow for public comment during the hearing portion of the meeting, which is generally toward the beginning. Those BAC meetings will take place on Monday, March 29, from 8am to 5pm, and on Wednesday, March 31, from 8am to 4pm; both meetings are scheduled to take place at the school district offices at 42271 Moonridge Road in Big Bear Lake.
Update: The Board of Trustees has also scheduled a special meeting for Tuesday, March 30 at 5:15pm, during which time they may authorize a contract for parcel tax consulting services; should the district propose a parcel tax to help fund education programs at Bear Valley Unified, this may be on the November 2010 ballot of the Statewide General Election.