"We're pretty solid right now," she said.
The budget calls for the district to spend $28.5 million over the
next fiscal year. Norma Shelton, the district's assistant
superintendent of business services, expects Laguna schools will
enjoy an $812,000 surplus. Combined with money held in reserve, the
budget projects a $4.3-million balance for the coming fiscal year.
Shelton held out the possibility for the district to end up with a
better balance. The district's budget assumes two proposals from Gov.
Arnold Schwarzenegger that could increase the district's costs will
be passed. The governor has proposed school district's shoulder
teachers' retirement costs and shifting the burden of special
education students' mental health services from county agencies to
If those proposals are not carried out in the state's final
budget, Shelton suggested the district could end up with more funds
than presently anticipated.
In the 2004-05 fiscal year, the district established a new fund
outside of its operating budget to hold on to property tax revenues
associated with real estate appreciation. Most of the district's
expected revenue for 2005-06, about 83%, is slated to come from
During the last fiscal year, almost $3 million was placed into the
new reserve. The district plans to add about $300,000 more to that
fund this fiscal year.
In May, the median price for a Laguna Beach home or condo was $1.3
million, a 12.8% percent gain over May 2004 prices, according to La
Jolla-based DataQuick Information Services.
Varying forecasts on whether real estate appreciation gains can be
sustained abound. Some analysts see a bubble where others view a
thriving market. Shelton believes the district is being prudent by
planning for a possible market correction.
"Because this is a boom, we have to prepare for the non-boom
years," Shelter said.