At its June 18 meeting, the Hemet Unified School District board approved a $182.5-million budget for fiscal year 2013-14, which begins July 1. This is an increase of $6.5 million from the current year’s budget. However, revenues are not expected to equal expenses, thus the district will need $6.7 million of reserves next year.

However, Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Vince Christakos was very optimistic about future budgets. Last November’s approval of Proposition 30 and the recently approved state budget for 2013-14 have substantially changed the funding trajectory for the state’s school districts. Proposition 30 increased revenues for education programs.

“We have a bright future, a new dawn, a new age,” Christakos told the board.

Even with the projected deficit, next year HUSD will return to a 180-day school year and will eliminate teacher furloughs altogether (which started in 2010). This will cost the district $4.7 million and another $2.5 million for increased health and welfare benefits. This money is for the full cost of health insurance for eight-hour classified employees who previously opted out of the district’s health plans, but had no other coverage, and potential costs related to implementing the Affordable Care Act.

Financial Services Director Pam Buckhout expects that beginning in fiscal year 2014-15, the newly approved Local Control Funding Formula will provide $6 to $7 million annually and perhaps $80 million cumulatively by 2019-20. The LCFF replaces the current state funding and most state categorical programs, Buckhout explained. The LCFF funding will include supplemental and concentration grants that are based on the demographics of the state’s school district — for instance, the number of English learners, students eligible for free or reduced-price meals, and foster children.

The California legislature has passed the state budget for 2013-14, which includes additional educational funding and the new LCFF. But the governor has yet to sign the bills, Christakos said.

Based on preliminary funding estimates, Christakos told the board that it may be possible by 2015-16 to hire another 30 teachers to lower class sizes.

Despite this future funding rainbow, several trustees were concerned about the current year deficit and the district’s ability to provide supplies and textbooks to students now.

“As trustee, I want to deliver books to the classroom now,” said Paul Bakkom. “But we’re returning to deficit spending next year and future years.” After the governor signs the legislation, HUSD can revise its future year estimates, Christakos said.

“I’m just frustrated. We’re saving for a disaster when the disaster happens. We don’t spend it all because we’ll need it for the next disaster,” he responded.

The board unanimously approved the proposed budget. Trustee Lisa DeForest was absent. A revised budget will be available in August or September, according to Christakos.

The board also honored Idyllwild Trustee Bill Sanborn who attended his last meeting. Sanborn’s resignation is effective July 1.

“We’ll miss you,” said HUSD President Marilyn Forst.