The school district's annual budget is $199 million, with 88 percent of this coming from the state. The new budget would mean cutting $3 million to $3.5 million in unrestricted revenues from the state plus another $1 million to $1.5 million received for mandated programs. This would mean no funds to pay typical annual increases, such as cost of living, health benefit costs, worker's comp and other premiums.
We have the distinction of being a "low wealth" school district in a "high wealth" community. Revenue limits were placed in 1972 based on pupil funding at that time and ours were set lower because this area was designated "rural." Compare the following revenue limits per student for 2000-2001:
San Ramon Valley: $4,650
Mt. Diablo: $4,679
State average: $4,753
(Updated figures, received after press time, are:
San Ramon Valley: $5,770
State average: $5,821)
The district, local businesses and nonprofit groups have done a wonderful job partnering to provide a quality education befitting the expectations of the families and residents. Our school district was already dealing with the growth in Dougherty Valley and facing the challenges of finding a new superintendent, with Kessler leaving at the end of this school year; now it also must cope with the proposed budget cuts.
With the spending freeze, the district is analyzing each and every expense for possible changes and reductions. Kessler has called for a grassroots effort to demand that the Legislation not suspend Proposition 98, which was updated in 1996 to guarantee minimum school funding. We must make our voices heard so the final budget will be kinder to education.