Palisades Charter High School spent $1.15 million on busing transportation last school year, but Chief Business Officer Greg Wood told the school board on October 18 that he expects to spend much less this school year. Wood also reported that PaliHi made $211,122 from renting the Maggie Gilbert Aquatic Center and other campus facilities to community groups and organizations. He says there is potential for the school to earn more money in this area. ’I don’t think we are maximizing the facilities across campus,’ he said. ‘There is greater opportunity if we get the word out.’ On October 18, Wood reviewed the financial statements for 2010-11 with the board and shared his bud’getary predictions for the 2011-12 year. He noted that PaliHi ended last school year on June 30 with a $24.5-million budget. ’In comparing our unaudited actuals to last year’s approved budget, we ended up with $1.4 million in revenue more than we anticipated,’ said Wood, explaining that the majority of the additional revenue was one-time federal stimulus funding. For the 2011-12 year, the board approved a budget of $23.2 million in June. Wood reported that mid-year cuts are a possibility because the California Legislature could make funding changes to education in December.
When analyzing the budget, Wood focused on transportation costs, say’ing that last school year was the first year PaliHi paid for busing. Faced with a budget deficit in spring 2010, LAUSD told PaliHi that the district would no longer spend the $1.9 million annually to transport 1,180 students from communities all over Los Angeles to the school. As a result, LAUSD paid to transport the seniors, while PaliHi covered the costs for juniors and sophomores last school year. Fresh’men were required to pay for their own busing provided through Global Transportation Services. However, ‘We only reported $54,783 in collections from the freshmen parents through the end of the year, and we paid Global Trans’portation $318,600,’ Wood said. Wanting to cut costs this year, Wood said that administrators are making a more concentrated effort to collect money from parents and the school has changed busing providers. In June, the board approved spending $900,460 on busing in 2011-12, but Wood is now calculating that transportation will cost $805,080. Before school started in September, Principal Pamela Magee signed a contract with the private busing company, Tumbleweed. Since then, she and her administrative team have worked with the company to streamline the bus routes so that all 14 buses are full. This school year, PaliHi is paying for current juniors and seniors, while freshmen, sophomores and new stu’dents are each being charged $100 monthly. In the budget the board approved in June, school officials anticipated that 270 students would need transportation, which would result in a potential revenue stream of $270,000 for the school year. Anticipating that not every student would pay, admin’istrators calculated that the school would receive $202,500, Wood said. As of October 1, there are 347 freshmen, sophomores and new stu’dents riding the buses. This fall, the school offered a pre-payment plan of $900 for the year and 37 of those stu’dents took advantage of it, bringing in $33,300. The other 310 students are on a 10-month payment plan, meaning the school could receive a total of $310,000 from them, Wood said. ’Even more exciting information is that through September 30, the school has collected $105,251,’ Wood said. Board member Allison Holdorff-Polhill, a member of the board’s transportation committee, explained that fundraising efforts are also underway to help families cover the costs for busing. To donate to the transportation fund, visit www.pali’high.org and click on Transportation under the heading Shortcuts and then Dough for Diversity.
As for facilities, Wood reported that PaliHi collected $190,228 from leasing the Maggie Gilbert Aquatic Center to various aquatic user groups and selling individual day-use swim passes and spent $187,814 on operating the pool. PaliHi received $299,220 from renting out the play’ing fields, meeting rooms, classrooms and gym and spent $90,512 on operating expenses. As a result, the school made an overall $211,122 profit. However, PaliHi is still paying off loans for constructing the aquatic center and refurbishing the running track and football field. Wood reported that the school paid $86,516 interest and $207,910 in principal toward the loans this past school year, surpassing the $211,122 in profit. School officials dipped into the general fund to pay the $83,304 difference. In June 2010, PaliHi took out a $1 million loan from Bank of the West to pay for construction of the aquatic center and a $354,580 loan to refinance the track and field loan. The original $750,000 loan for the track and field was borrowed in 2007 from De Lage Landen Public Finance. Both loans with Bank of the West have a fixed interest rate of about 6.15 percent. PaliHi also borrowed $750,000 from English teacher Rose Gilbert, who earlier donated $2 million for the $4.9-million aquatic center.
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