June 28, 2005

Joint Meeting of San Leandro's City Council and Unified School District

On Monday, June 27, 2005, the San Leandro City Council and San Leandro Unified School District Board of Trustees held a joint work session at the San Leandro Main Library.

City Manager John Jermanis gave a 14-slide Powerpoint presentation summarizing the proposed budget for 2005-2006. Proposed expenditueres are $70.5 million and revenue is estimated at $67.4 million. The city is planning to cover a $3.1 million deficit with money from a reserve fund, drawing it down to about $12 million. Possibilities for generating more revenue include increasing the business license tax, which could generate $2 million in revenue. Council members noted that San Leandro has the lower business license tax in Alameda County. Another possible revenue increase could come from increasing the tax for emergency medical service to generate about $1 million in revenue. The bulk of San Leandro's revenue in 2005-2006 is estimated to come from sales tax (31%), property tax (18%), and utility users tax (14%), while the majority of San Leandro's expenditures are for public safety services (55%).

In order to reduce expenditures, San Leandro has signed a five-year-contract with the Fremont Animal Shelter after the Hayward Animal Shelter raised its fees and managed to get the fire services contract reduced from $900,000 to $600,000.

The main library will continue to be closed on Sundays and community activities such as the Cherry Festival won't be funded by the city next year as well. Jermanis reported that the Engineering department estimate for ongoing street maintenance is $5 to $6 million per year, but the city has only been spending $1 million the past few years.

At the end of Jermanis'presentation, San Leandro School Board Member Stephen Cassidy cautioned Jermanis against relying on an increase in the EMS fee for increased revenue and suggested that the city look at increasing the business license fee and the 911 fee. Jermanis responded that the business license tax could only appear on the ballot when member of the city council come up for election and the 911 fee is restricted by law to the actual cost of the program.

By contrast the Powerpoint presentation by Superintendent Christine Lim focused on accomplishments within the San Leandro schools and comparisons of funding with other school districts. Lim noted that San Leandro High School was name as a National Demonstration School for Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), five students were National Merit award winners, 72% of high school graduates planned to attend a two- or four-year college, and 53 San Leandro High School graduates were accepted to the University of California.

In one of four slides comparing financials of San Leandro to other school districts, Lim noted that San Leandro's $6.413 revenue per student was substantially less than the state average of $7,276 per student and Alameda County's $7,403 per student. Overall, San Leandro ranks in the bottom 10% of the state in funding per student.

The third item on the agenda was School Board Member Ray Davis' presentation about the planned Bike/Walk to School Day scheduled for October 5, 2005. Davis asked for the support of all those present. Davis noted that in 1969, 48% of students walked or biked to school while today only 19% of students walk or bike to work.

Assistant Superintendent Leon Glaster reported that the state will spend the summer ranking 220 grant applications, including the joint City of San Leandro and San Leandro Unified School District joint grant proposal for a Bancroft Middle School sports field. Glaster said that the 20 grants won't be awarded until the end of summer, but noted that San Leandro was one of only 30 sites visited by the state agency evaluating the grant applications.

Posted by marga at June 28, 2005 1:16 AM | TrackBack
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