Supt. Constance Hubbard outlined a half dozen alternative glimpses into the financial future for Board of Education members Tuesday night, none of them especially rosy.
"I don't see this as a climate of adding programs," she told the board.
At best, she said, PUSD could end the 2013-14 fiscal year with almost $1 million more in reserves than the legally required amount, no teacher layoffs and no program reductions. That would only happen if California voters approve school funding measures on next November's ballot and if PUSD levies a 5 percent increase to the Measure B parcel tax in the two coming years.
At worst, she said, the district could make it through 2012-13 with no major cuts but would face a $2.4 million shortfall the following year. That would be the case if the statewide ballot measures fail, triggering cuts in state funding to local districts, and if PUSD did not levy any increase to the parcel tax for the next two years.
California school districts are only legally required to look at a three-year budget plan, but Hubbard took the projections an extra step.
Measure B, the larger of two Piedmont school parcel taxes, expires June 30, 2014. If Piedmont voters don't approve a continuation of the parcel tax after that date, the district will have an $8.5 million gap in its 2014-15 budget, she said.
The impact on PUSD students would be "catastrophic," Hubbard said. She said it would mean cutting 100 teachers, counselors, librarians and support personnel.
"A third of our budget depends on that parcel tax," she said. "Without the parcel tax, we would be in dire straits."
The current year's school parcel tax for a single-family residence on a lot under 5,000 square feet is $2,114. That includes $219 levied under Measure E, which expires in June of this year. A 5 percent increase to the Measure B tax would mean a total school parcel tax of $1,989 in 2012-13.
For a lot between 5,000 and 9,999 square feet (the largest group of Piedmont single-family homes), the current year's tax is $2,153, with $249 of that from Measure E. A 5 percent increase for next year would mean a tax of $2,260.
Hubbard's presentation was for information only, with no school board action on any of the alternatives required Tuesday night. The board will make its decision in April on whether to levy an increase to the parcel tax next year, and if so, how much. (The maximum allowable is 5 percent per year.)
You can see Hubbard's detailed written report in the agenda packet for the Jan. 24 school board meeting, available at the PUSD website.