The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has adopted a $107.8 million budget for the 2005-2006 fiscal year, which begins Friday, July 1st.

“This is a budget that provides fiscal stability,” said district superintendent John Deasy at a budget discussion meeting Thursday, June 16th

“Going into next year, statewide funding is very uncertain,” he said.

School districts throughout California are concerned because state legislators have not adopted the state budget.

Also, critics say ballot initiatives for a special election in November would compromise Proposition 98 school funding.

“The budget does not respond to the special election that was called and which will happen in the middle of the school year,” Deasy said.

“There are too many what-ifs and this budget assumes that Proposition 98 funding exists as the funding is constitutionally guaranteed now,” he said.

State funding is the district’s primary revenue source and the funding is based on average daily attendance (ADA).

Average daily attendance is a complex state funding formula based on the number of students who attend school each day divided by the number of days school is in session.

The district projects expenditures of $107.8 million and revenues of $106.6 million.

Expenditures include:

– $53.4 million for certificated salaries, which are 50 percent of the budget;

– $19.1 million for classified salaries, which are 18 percent of the budget;

– $22.1 million for employee benefits, which are 20 percent of the budget; and

– $9.8 million for services and other operating costs, which are nine percent of the budget.

“We are in a labor-intensive business,” said district chief financial officer Winston Braham.

“This is the call of the business we are in and we lead the state in compensation for our teachers and employees.

“The cost of compensation and benefits will remain high but controlled in our district,” Braham said.

Revenue streams include $65.1 million from state ADA funding, $16 million from other state funding, $10.7 million from local revenues, $10.3 million from local parcel taxes and $4.6 million from the federal government.

Local revenues include $6.2 million from the City of Santa Monica and $290,105 from the City of Malibu.

“We do not anticipate any significant changes in these numbers,” Braham said.

“We anticipate some unknowns, but by late summer we will have a much better idea of where we are,” he said.

Deasy said the budget allows the district to fund existing programs as well as some new areas.

New expenditures total $7.7 million, of which almost $1 million is for the hiring of 13.6 full-time equivalent employees.

This year, the district has to fund Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposal which shifts from the state to local school districts a two-percent contribution to the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS).

The shift will cost the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District $1.1 million.

The district will also restore $1.6 million to the Reserve for Economic Uncertainties.

Santa Monica High School will get two full-time security guards in response to a series of school fights that resulted in 12 student suspensions.

High school staff has been working for several months to implement a new safety plan, ease tensions between African American and Hispanic students and allow more input from students.

“A lot of student ideas are about prevention and intervention, while security guards deal with situations afterwards,” said board of education member Oscar de la Torre.

“These ideas from students are not expensive and if we funded some of them, we would have less need for more security.

“We should fund prevention and intervention ideas rather than the form of security we have budgeted right now,” he said.

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