Gov. Jerry Brown's current budget prediction for the next fiscal year might not mean teacher layoffs, but it could end up draining Hesperia Unified School District's reserves dry.


The mixed news was delivered Feb. 6 by Assistant Superintendent of Business Services David McLaughlin at a school board budget workshop.


On Jan. 5, Brown gave his first look at what the 2012-13 budget might look like, including his desire for new taxes that would in theory mean more money for schools if the taxes can get on the ballot and if the voters then approve them. If the taxes don't pass, however, schools would take an even bigger cut.


"We have to be prepared for that," McLaughlin said.


Locally, it boils down to up to $12.9 million in cuts for Hesperia Unified about 7 percent of its $155 million budget. Even if Brown's proposed taxes pass, the district will still see $5.4 million in cuts, assuming no major changes happen between now and Brown's May budget revision but there are almost always major changes between the January and May budget updates.


"This is just the governor's proposal," McLaughlin said. "We don't know what (the actual budget in) May will look like."


The good news sort of is that Hesperia Unified can absorb the cuts without laying off teachers. But the district will have to empty out its reserves to do so, McLaughlin said.


"What was an $11 million reserve disappears in one year," he said. And that has a ripple effect: "It makes it very difficult to make a budget for the next two years."


There might still be layoffs, but the timing of budget news will likely spare teachers this time around. By law, teachers have to be informed by March 15 if their services won't be needed in the coming school year, but other school staff only has to be told 45 days before the new school year.


The school board will be given a proposed budget in June. A signed budget has to be presented to the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools by June 30.


The next meeting of the HUSD school board will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the HUSD Educational Support Center Annex, 15576 Main Street.


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.