Imagine if you were way over your household budget -- let’s say around 10 percent over --and you had to make lifestyle cuts sooner rather than later.
That's the situation the Sweetwater Union High School District is finding itself in after a budgetary mistake led to a $4 million deficit at the end of last school year.
And to make matters worse, the district is on track to be $30 million in debt by the end of the 2018-2019 school year.
The County Office of Education said Sweetwater's budget overstated how much money it would actually receive and understated how much money it was budgeted to spend, specifically on salaries and benefits.
District Superintendent Karen Janney said they noticed the shortfall while closing out the financial books for the previous school year.
In a letter from the county office sent Sept. 18, the county asked the district to identify cuts that can bring the budget into balance by Oct. 8.
School is already in session so it’s hard to make cuts. Teaching positions cannot be cut because teachers have to be notified in March about possible layoffs.
“We are confident and already determining solutions to address this financial deficit,” Janney said.
The district said administrators and the union leadership team are collaborating to revise the 2018 budget. The president of the teachers’ union said he didn’t know what was going to happen, but said the teachers are due raises they’ve already received.