Exeter’s Measure G is already paying off, to the tune of several more ‘G’s than was first estimated.
Superintendent Tim Hire said the unification measure approved by voters in November was originally estimated to net the district a little more than a $1 million increase in its revenue limit based on Average Daily Attendance (ADA). However, after recalculating the numbers following the end of 2012, Hire said new calculations indicate the new Exeter Unified School District is entitled to nearly $1.3 million in addition to its current base revenue limit.
“That’s an additional $437 per student in ADA,” Hire said. “We aren’t sure how much money we will actually receive, but we are entitled to a larger amount than we first thought. When we closed the books on 2012 we had the actual numbers to do calculations instead of just projections.”
In 2011, Hire said school districts were receiving approximately 78 cents on the dollar on money owed by the State of California, but estimates for the 2013 school year are not yet available. Hire said the school board has not decided how it will use the money because it is unsure of the time frame in which it will receive the money from Prop. 30 or the increase in ADA through Measure G. Regardless of how much is received in the short term, Hire said the additional revenue should allow the district to stop dipping into its reserves and, in time, begin refilling its reserves.
Part of the money received by the district will be spent on “leveling up” certificated employees in the elementary district to meet salary and benefits equal to that of the high school district. On average, certificated and classified employees make $6,000 more in the high school district than their elementary district counterparts. The average full-time certificated employee makes $92,000 in the elementary district and $98,000 in the high school district in combined salary and benefits. Meaning it would cost the district $685,593 to close the gap. The average classified employee makes $50,000 in the elementary and $56,000 in the high school district in combined salary and benefits. That amounts to an additional cost of about $349,007 to close the gap for a combined total equal to the increase using the State’s calculations.
However, Hire explained the actual estimate to shift teacher salaries and benefits from the lower salary schedule to the higher salary schedule is $72,276 for the entire district, for both certificated and classified employees. Hire said there is little difference overall between the two schedules and the $72,276 would close the gap between whichever district had the higher rate of senior employees, those teachers on the higher end of the scale. Classified salaries will not be a factor because they already have a single schedule and a single bargaining unit.
Hire said there are not currently any plans to reduce staff in the district office, but rather free up their time to provide more support to the school sites. Hire said instead of staff preparing agendas and budgets for two boards and instead of reporting two entities to the State, district staff would have more time to expand their duties allowing the district office to do more with current staffing levels.
Approved by more than 70% of the voters, Measure G will officially combine the Exeter Union (Elementary) School and the Exeter Union High School District into a new unified school district on July 1. The new district now has a single, seven-member board, instead of two, five-member boards.
Measure G was Exeter’s third shot at passing unification. Both boards ultimately approved a resolution for unification in 1996 which included a seven-member board and, even though Outside Creek and Sequoia Union fell within the borders of the unified district, both feeder districts would retain their school boards. When it finally went to vote on Nov. 5, 1995, nearly two-thirds of voters (64.2%) in Exeter, Lemon Cove and Outside Creek voted against unification.
Unification was brought up again in 2003, but a report of School Services of California calculated that it would only result in a net gain of $125,000 per year. Under Measure G, Outside Creek and Sequoia Union school districts would retain their own school boards.