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School District Projected to Have Back-to-Back Deficits

The Alameda school district is on track for back-to-back deficits.

The Alameda school district is on track for back-to-back deficits.

The Alameda Unified School District is on track for its second financial deficit in as many fiscal years, officials say.

Last week, Robert Clark, Ed.D., the district’s chief business officer, presented unaudited actual numbers for the 2013 to 2014 fiscal year that ended June 30th, and projections for the current 2014 to 2015 fiscal year.

Expenditures exceeded revenue in the last fiscal year, and will do so again in the current year which ends June 30th, 2015.

Asked for comment, Clark told Action Alameda News, “the 2013-2014 year closed with a $1.6 million deficit, because our expenditures exceeded our revenues.”

The $1.6 million deficit figure includes only so-called unrestricted funds; when parcel tax revenue is factored in, the deficit is $1.8 million.

According to Clark’s presentation, the district also spent $74,186 in excess of $11,983,873 in parcel tax revenue, contributing to the higher figure.

Overall, the deficit reduced the total school district general fund balance from $14,342,122 to $12,493,634, heading into the current fiscal year.

“[Last year’s] gap was covered by fund balances and the deficit was not a surprise,” Clark continued. “The district had originally adopted a general fund budget with a $5.3 million deficit. Our expenditures came in almost exactly as projected (about $92 million); but our revenues were slightly higher than we expected, which meant the actual deficit was considerably smaller than originally budgeted.”

He confirmed that the district is forecasting a deficit for the current year as well.

“You’re also correct in noting that the budget adopted for 2014-2015 likewise projects a deficit – this time of $3 million. As you know, revenues fluctuate throughout the year, which can affect the projected size of the deficit. We will be updating the Board of Education on the 2014 to ’15 budget on October 14 and periodically throughout the rest of the year,” he wrote.

As shown in Row C of the table accompanying this article, and provided in the district’s packet for the Board of Trustees, the current projected deficit amount, to the dollar, is $3,307,748.

If that amount stands at fiscal year-end, the school district’s total general fund balance would drop below $10 million.

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