The hammer continues to come down on the San Carlos School District and its budgetary woes…and this time there are many questions surrounding the shortfall. In a community bulletin made public today, the San Carlos School District states that there will be a 1.4 million dollar shortfall for each of the following two years. Some of the shortfall is attributed to a shortage in funding from the State, lower than expected enrollment, slightly higher than expected staffing costs and finally….”An accounting error and subsequent miscommunication with the Board during the June budgeting process, related to Special Education costs.” Yes, you read that correctly.
How did this error occur:
“In the 2009-2010 budget, the Student Services Department projected a net reduction in costs for Special Education programs of ~ $800K, as compared to
08-09. In actuality, however, we now project a net increase in Special Education costs of ~ $170K. Some of this discrepancy is due to normal variations in costs, but approximately $900K of this, however, is due to a miscalculation at the time the budget was adopted, (June of 09). The error was primarily caused by inaccurate data regarding legally-required costs
associated with serving all Special Education students.”……translation, approximately $900K of the $1.4M shortfall is attributed to the accounting error.
Stunned? It is hard to believe. I have certainly made my share of mistakes, some of them big mistakes, but I still have to wonder how this could possibly happen. When you have a District that is as strapped for cash as the San Carlos School District has been…..fighting for every last dollar…how does a $900,000 accounting error occur? We will probably never know exactly what happened.
It’s hard to believe that after all of the budget cutting, funrdaising and parcel tax initiatives, we still have a massive shortfall. It almost seems impossible.
Where do we go from here?
I do have a large amount of faith in our School Board. They are very bright, hardworking people who do have the ability to handle an issue such as this.. The District also seems to have the right spin on this which is to focus all efforts on fixing the problem rather than playing the blame game. Some very tough budgetary decisions will need to be made in the near future.