Galt Joint Union Elementary School District (GJUESD) Trustees held their regular May meeting via teleconferencing and heard from Director of Business Lois Yount on the state’s revised budget plan for schools. According to the state’s presentation, schools across the state will experience a shortfall in the coming year of up to $32 billion; $1.5 million will have to be eliminated from the local district’s budget.

Yount told Trustees $500,000 in cuts would have to be identified for the June budget to get approval from Sacramento County of Education (SCOE). Then another $500,000 to $1 million will have to be eliminated in the July-August budget if state funds do not improve.

Yount also said the district will have to carefully monitor its cash flow, prepare for securing a loan to meet payroll and other expenses while partnering with employee groups.

“The state is planning on deferring payments to school districts next year,” Yount said. “The first deferral is planned for June 2020. This means we would not receive our June revenue from the state until July. There is another deferral planned for April – June 2021. This would be three months of not receiving state revenue. If this were to happen, we would need to take out a TRAN loan to pay our bills and make payroll. We would pay this loan back as soon as we received our state revenue … We are hopeful the Federal CARES Act will provide additional one-time funds for 2020-21. Due to the COVID-19 recession, we could be facing significant reductions in 2021-22 and 2022-23.”

Yount added, “Our goal is to keep reductions away from the students and classrooms as much as possible. We are partnering with our union groups to determine a balanced approach for reductions. We are all in this together.”

The board did approve a reduction of three classified positions that are currently vacant with a projected savings of $66,745 by eliminating one bilingual instructional assistant and two special education instructional assistants.

The trustees unanimously approved preconstruction services from S+B Construction for work to prepare for a new track at McCaffrey Middle School. Yount said actual construction might begin this summer. The track will be paid through developer fees that cannot be used to offset general funds.

Claudia Del Toro-Aguiano, director of curriculum services, reported on survey results sent out by the district asking parents and staff their preferences on how students will receive their education over the coming year. Due to COVID-19, social distancing is required making in-class education more difficult. The district is considering all three alternatives: distance learning, in-class learning and a combination of the two.

Superintendent Dr. Karen Schauer said the district plans to open schools on Aug. 13.

“We want to reopen for the next school year safely, efficiently and equitably,” Schauer said. “Our goal will be to reopen on Aug. 13 as conditions will safely allow. This effort will involve teamwork, more planning and continued coordination with public health authorities, the Galt high school district and city of Galt.”