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Santa Monica-Malibu Public Schools Faced with Four Years of Projected Red Ink


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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

June 4, 2018 -- An estimated $122.6 million general fund budget for Santa Monica-Malibu public schools is being considered for the coming year, a spending hike of 5.4 percent over the present budget and the first of four years with anticipated red ink.

The expenditures being considered by the School Board for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) for the 2018-2019 fiscal year inch past the district’s revenues.

So far they include an almost $1.3 million deficit, according to the materials presented at the board’s May 31 meeting.

Projected spending continues to outpace revenue throughout the district’s budget forecast, with spending up 8.5 percent compared to the 6.37 percent rise in revenue by 2021-2022.

Red ink is forecast for each year, although the district's forecast also relies on balances from the previous year and three percent “contingency” reserves if needed.

Personnel costs comprise 86 percent of the budget.

By the 2021-2022 year, total salary costs rise slightly more than five percent.

The big increases are costs for benefits (although they account for much less of the budgets in total).

Costs for maintaining the troubled California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) jump 67 percent by the end of the forecast, from $2.7 million in the current year to $4.6 million in the next four years.

The state retirement system specifically for educators rises 40 percent over that period, to slightly more than $10.67 million.

Health and welfare benefits rise to $15 million over the same period, or by 32 percent.

A June 19 public hearing is scheduled on the budget.


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