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March 10, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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March 10, 2010
 

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Feather River Bulletin Wednesday: March 10, 2010 9A How PUSD built its reserve Mona Hill Staff Writer mhill@plumasnews.corn At the recent Plumas Uni- fied School District board re- treat, Yvonne Bales, director of finance, gave a presenta- tion on the history of the dis- trict's controversial reserve fund. According to back-up ma- terials provided at the re- treat, in 2006 - 07, tile ending fund balance was $364,043, not even the state-mandated 3 percent. By June 30, 2008, the end- ing balance jumped dramati- cally to $3.9 million. Bales credited that in- crease to overly aggressive budgeting: overinflated ex- penses in excess of $1 million for contingencies. At the same time, Business Manag- er Sandra Harrington pro- jected revenues based on revenue limit funding, which is a lower level of funding than basic aid fund- ing, resulting in a $1.2 mil- lion understatement of rev- enue. Other revenue was under- stated by $645,000, and per- sonnel cuts further reduced costs. The first $1 million in for- est reserve receipts were transferred to the special re- serve fund, in accordance with the board's resolution to establish the reserve. By June 30, 2009, the mag- nitude of the financial crisis in education was clear. In re- sponse, the Department of Education allowed districts to convert restricted funds, earmarked for specific cate- gorical spending such as spe- cial education, to become un- restricted funds. The DOE al- so allowed districts to "sweep" unspent restricted funds into the unrestricted' general funds. Together with a spending freeze in the 2008 - 09 school year, the unrestricted fund balance increased by about $3 million to an unadjusted $6.96 million. Of that amount, $1.5 million went to the special reserve fund. Of that $6.96 million, $754,622 is allocated to re- serves for stores and prepaid expenses; $784,722 to the mandatory 3 percent re- serve; $585,325 and $955,393 are due to the state for over- payment and "fair share" cuts, respectively, leaving an unrestricted reserve of $3.88 million. Bales is currently prepar- ing the second interim bud- get, known as P2, due to the state March 15. Plumas County Auditor Shawn Montgomery has in- formed Bales that the timber yield tax, projected to be $202,673, will in fact be only $12,392, as a result ot  a $6 million drop in timber yield taxes statewide. In e-mail correspondence, Assistant Auditor Debbie Robinson projected Plumas Unified would receive ap- proximately $18.9 million in property tax revenue, a de- crease of $427,953. According to Robinson's e- mail, "The CCPI is the factor that increases the land and structure values that the property taxes are based on. Normally, the values in- crease by 2 percent each year. That has been the case .since 1976. "For the first time the fac- tor is actually decreasing values. Instead of a 2 percent increase, it's a .237 percent decrease. "Property taxes are calcu- lated at 1 percent of the val- ue. So this will reduce the property tax revenue for next year." Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has blithely announced this year's nega- tive California Consumer Price Index will be fully funded. To further cloud the fiscal outlook, Secretary of Educa- tion Arne Duncan informed Gov. Schwarzenegger in a form letter dated March 4 that California did not make the phase one cut for the fed- eral Race to the Top funding. Schwarzenegger and state schools chief Jack O'Connell had counted heavily on the federal handout to ease the state's education finance woes. Duncan's letter invited California to try again with a phase two application. States that were rejected will re- ceive feedback from review- ers at the end of phase one. Looking to 2010 - 11, and beyond, Bales anticipates similar state funding cuts. PAWS Cathouse needs helping hands Would you like to help care for abandoned cats and kit- tens? Would you like to help them find new loving homes? If your answer is "yes," the Plumas Animal Welfare Soci- ety wants you. "PAWS is in desperate need of more volunteers," said Operations Director Kathy Nixon. "People are needed to help clean and staff The Cathouse in East Quin- cy, and to help with adoption events in Reno on Sundays." Cathouse cleaners help with cage cleaning and feed- ing the resident cats. Normal- ly, cleaners work about 2.3 hours one morning a week. The work isn't glamorous and it involves some bending and lifting. The compensa- tion is the pleasure of caring for beautiful, loving crea- tures. Staffers help keep The Cathouse open for business. They answer phones, provide information to visitors, assist with adoptions and perform any assigned clerical work. Staffers work one afternoon a week from noon to 3 p.m. Reno adoption assistants help with PAWS' Sunday adoptions at Petco South in Reno, Nev. They should be available an average of one Sunday a month from about 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Volunteers in Reno put in a long day for the satisfaction of helping a homeless cat find a new, loving family. Accord- ing to Nixon, one of PAWS' biggest needs right now is for Reno volunteers. PAWS was founded in 1999, by Plumas County resident Stephanie Leaf. It rescues, provides medical care and finds homes for several hun- dred cats per year. To focus on the cats in greatest need, PAWS rescues only from Plumas County Animal Control. It does not accept cats from private indi- viduals or from outside Plumas County. PAWS is an all-volunteer organization. Unlike many rescues, it has no paid staff. Its success is due to the dedi- cation of its volunteers and the generous support of area residents. For more information about how to join the hard- working, dedicated team, or to make a donation, call 283- 5433. Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age. Folks may also visit the Cathouse, Wednesday through Friday, noon to 3 p.m., or Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Cathouse is at 2453 East Main St. in East Quincy. JOB SEEKERS: YOU ARE INVITED TO THE 14 TH ANNUAL PLUMAS & SIERRA COUNTY JOB FAIRS Admission is free Dress your best and bring your resume Interview with employers face-to-face Workshops provided by the Plumas Work Connection Location : 1953 E Main St, Quincy, CA 95971 March 17 t @ lO:OOam 'Resumes Only a Mother Could Love' "How to Blow an Interview in the First Five Minutes' Please RSVP for the workshops @ (530) 283-1806 Choose a location nearestto you: March 30 th Chester Memorial Hall 225 Gay St., Chester, CA 96020 (530) 283-1606 March 31st Feather River College Gym 570 Golden Eagle Ave., Quincy, CA 95971(530) 283-1606 April 1 st Graeagle Fire Department 7620 Highway 89, Graeagle, CA 96103 Sponsored By: (530) 283-1606 (530) 993-4295 All workshops will be held 3:00 5:00pm - BUDGET, from page 8A make a money grab. Expert recommendations Our expert had several fi- nancial recommendations to make for a district in the same position as PUSD. Close two high schools. Even as a basic aid district, the costs of maintaining four high schools with such low enrollment figures make them unsustainable. Do not hire any more teachers, even to replace those retiring. Given the dis- trict's incentive program to encourage teachers to retire, additional savings could be achieved by making do with the remaining faculty. Downsize bus service. Transportation is a huge drain on districts statewide. The state does not fund any- thing close to transportation costs. Bus pass revenues do not bridge the gap. Our expert was also not en- couraging about the Indian Valley charter movement's chances for success. Given the state,s fiscal crisis, it seems unlikely the state would overturn the district's and the county office of edu- cation's almost certain char- ter denial. The state would look for a new charter school to be vi- able financially and to fill a need in the county. Given two charter schools already operating in the county and the small numbers ofstu- dents, chances of a new char- ter being granted are nearly non-existent. The question of whether or not to close schools is not unique to PUSD. Across Cali- fornia and the nation, dis- trict boards are currently making very painful deci- sions in the face of public outcry. to Kayla Drybread Marketing Assistant Plumas Bank's Employee of the Month March 2010 PLUMAS B A N K 00-Dre 11 "Local people servbg local needs" now features irainx Some of the many changes we've made to our car wash include the additiooLRainX, a non-reflective invisible application that greatly improves weaer driving visibility on k, glass by repelling water and reducing adhesion of sleetnd snow. Underbody Flush First Soap Pass Second Soap Pass High Pressure Wash IralllTX Complete Blue Coral Triple Polish Blue Coral Velocity Clear Coat Protectant Spot Free Rinse Blow Dry Underbody Flush First Soap Pass Second Soap Pass High Pressure Wash Blue Coral Triple Polish Blue Coral Velocity Clear Coat Protectant Spot Free Rinse Blow Dry Have you trie00 our new FOOD COURT PIZZA? By the slice or take home and bake! 2 sizes to First Soap Pass Second Soap Pass High Pressure Wash Blue Coral Velocity Clear Coat Protectant Spot Free Rinse Blow Dry choose from! * Build your own CTHILI DOG o Soup of the Day us always * QuickBreakfast, Lunch or S We're famous for our biscuits and sausage gravy! We're your one stop store that has it all! =uel Star 106 Crescent St Quincy 283-2636