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Budget talk tops Belmont-Redwood Shores meeting
December 06, 2012, 05:00 AM By Heather Murtagh Daily Journal Staff

Officials in the Belmont-Redwood Shores Elementary School District are making plans to be more fiscally conservative in coming years, which means a range of possible budget changes including increased class sizes and furlough days.

Tonight, the Belmont-Redwood Shores Elementary School District Board of Trustees will get a budget update when it discusses the first interim fiscal solvency report. In addition, the board will discuss the existing parcel taxes and the possibility of either extending them or going out for another tax measure.

Board President Brian Matthews said the district is facing some tough decisions. The district’s Budget Advisory Committee has recommended no deficit spending going forward. As a result, there could be some big changes, he said.

On the table are raising class sizes from 25 students to 30 in the younger grades and up to 12 furlough days, Matthews said. Such items require negotiations and could change depending on the support of the fundraising efforts of the district’s education foundation, School-Force.

Last year, the district deficit spent more than $850,000.

The district is projected to meet the financial requirements for the current and two following school years, according to the first interim report by interim Co-Superintendent Nellie Hungerford. It anticipates continued enrollment growth in the coming school years which will result in the hiring of seven teachers by the 2014-15 school year, Hungerford wrote. Also, the district is seeing positive property tax growth after two years of losses. The 2010-11 school year had a 5.819 percent loss and last year had a further loss of .252 percent. This year, Hungerford said the county is projecting a 4.316 percent increase.

A main reason for the district’s solvency are two parcel taxes.

Measure G, a $96 a year parcel tax for 10 years, passed in 2004. It generates about $1.2 million annually. In 2008, voters passed Measure U, a seven-year $78 annual tax that brings in about $950,000 per year. Both will end by the 2015-16 school year.

The district began talking about the possibility of a new measure in 2011. A poll completed late last year showed a moderate base of voter support for a parcel tax measure. However, without support strong enough to pass such a measure, the polling companies are suggesting the district initiate a public outreach effort before considering placing something on the ballot. Matthews said that outreach to the community continues.

The budget planning could be altered drastically next month since the governor is expected to present a new funding model for California schools. Currently, Belmont-Redwood Shores is considered a basic aid district, which means it is funded through local property tax.

At the same meeting, the board will hold its annual reorganization.

The board meets 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6 at the District Office, 2960 Hallmark Drive, Belmont.

Heather Murtagh can be reached by email: or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105.

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