Anthony Bridges, Executive Deputy Officer of the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), told the School Board that the District is fiscally able to give the teachers the five percent raise that was included as part of their tentative agreement.
FCMAT was called in last November by Superintendent Dianne Talarico to prepare a multi-year financial projection of the District’s general fund for 2007-08 and 2008-09 after the former Chief Financial Officer and the District’s Financial Oversight Committee (FOC) questioned whether the raise would jeopardize the District’s financial solvency. FCMAT was created by the same State legislation that requires a District to file annually an AB1200 form that demonstrates the District’s ability to be solvent for the current and two subsequent fiscal years.
At the February 15 meeting, Bridges emphasized that the District will be able to “maintain its [State mandated] required reserve of three percent in the current and two subsequent fiscal years with the proposed five percent increase for certificated staff only.”
Paul Silvern, Chair of the FOC, reacted to FCMAT’s conclusion by noting analysis “has highlighted in a way…how close to the edge the District will be in a couple of years out.” This projection “doesn’t take into account any further salary increase for the classified staff, no further increase for teachers over that period, no additional costs… It leaves you with less than $900,000 in free cash at the end of the second year to carry over for fiscal 2009-10 above the three percent reserve.”
Bridges also pointed out that the District would be facing a continual structural deficit because of declining enrollment. He suggested that “the Board, administration and community will need to begin the process of identifying potential areas of reduction or revenue enhancement to eliminate deficit spending and sustain fiscal solvency should funding continue to decline due to enrollment.”
After hearing the good news, Superintendent Talarico said the Board would act on the tentative agreement on March 15. As required, the District’s AB1200 will be presented to the County Board of Education for review prior to the Board’s action.
Board members also reviewed how to move forward with the facilities projects that will be funded by Measure BB approved by Santa Monica and Malibu voters last November. According to the District staff report, the Board will approve a merger of the Ad Hoc Facilities Committee and the Measure BB Advisory Committee in mid-April. In early March, the Board will hold a workshop in order to review the recommendations and findings from the District’s consultant on construction funding priorities. Community members will be able to give their input at this workshop as well as a Malibu workshop. A Draft Facilities Master Plan will then be developed based upon these workshops, and will be reviewed at a community workshop in late April or early May. The Board will then take action on the final plan in early June.