2018-19 Proposed Budget: Frequently Asked Questions & Info

Posted: Tuesday, February 13th 2018


San Diego Unified Budgets 101

This video explains some of the budget process for San Diego Unified schools each year, including how our schools are funded and how the District plans and spends these funds. For more info, see: https://www.sandiegounified.org/2018-19-budget-info

2018-19 Proposed Budget: Frequently Asked Questions

 

The San Diego Unified School District is committed to equity for each and every child and ensuring the District will continue to be financially healthy for current and future generations.  The following is a list of common questions regarding the current budget and potential impacts for the district.

Q: Why does it seem like every year we are talking about budget cuts?

A: We have had a shortfall from the state every year. The goal of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funding was to gradually get us back to the 2007 level of funding, which is inadequate for our schools. We determined that we would need an increase of $350M to provide all of the teachers, counselors, nurses, support staff and programs that the public expects us to offer our students. For this year, we needed an increase of $59M just to maintain status quo with 0% across the board salary increases. This is mainly due to the increased operating costs above salaries, such as increased payment requirements to the state pension fund (over which we have no control), automatic step and column raises (longevity raises) and increased health care costs.

 

Q: I understand LCFF is now being “fully funded.” Is that good for the District?

A: Yes, the District believes the full “implementation” of LCFF is positive, and notes that full LCFF implementation does not indicate fair and adequate funding for education. California is still ranked 46/50 in per-pupil funding and we are wise to work with all stakeholders to help lawmakers and the electorate understand these details so the state remains focused on the funding inadequacies in education.

 

Q: What did full LCFF implementation mean for the District?

A: The implementation of LCFF would mean approximately $25M in ongoing funds to support the students in San Diego Unified. As noted throughout the fall and winter of 2017, the District needs $59M to maintain status quo and not make any reductions for 2018-2019.

 

Q: I hear the Governor is proposing an additional $1.8B to education in discretionary funds.  Is that true?

A: True. The $1.8B is anticipated at $295 per student, based on their attendance. This would mean approximately $29M in one-time funds for the District. The District is recommending using these one-time funds for one-time expenses such as supporting site-based professional development and paying down one-time debts. Using these one-time funds for ongoing expenses would inflate future debts and jeopardize the current positive budget certification from the County Office of Education and State. It is also important to note, the Governor’s Proposed Budget is the beginning of the state budget process. The District will not have final numbers until the state budget is signed in June. Until then, it remains possible that the Legislature may choose to redirect some of these one-time monies for other purposes.

 

Q: The additional discretionary funds for education could amount to $29M in one-time funds for SDUSD.  Can’t this money be used to solve part of the shortfall?

A: The Governor has given that money for one-time expenses. We cannot use that money for ongoing expenses. If we did, we would increase the shortfall for the following year and create an even bigger budget concern. We could use it to pay off debt one-time expenses.

 

Q: You said $295 per ADA, but I am hearing the District stands to receive more that $465 per ADA.  Why am I hearing different numbers?

A: We are hearing the statements about $465+ per student as well, but this is not the guidance we received from the state. We are aware of $295 per student for all districts with the one-time funds. We can speculate that the additional funding above $295 is a generalized calculation adding LCFF funds. However, the LCFF calculation varies based on the grade level of the student, their attendance, and additional factors such as their Free/Reduced Lunch status and/or designation as a second language learner. Therefore, at this point we are unable to verify the $465 per student number for SDUSD.

 

Q: There is a large boost to COLA for 2018-2019 along with LCFF implementation.  This is another significant increase to district revenue, right?

A: Again, this is positive news, but it will only have marginal significance to our budget. The District’s projected COLA increased from 2.15% to 2.51% for non-LCFF programs and is projected to mean a boost of approximately $220,000 total for the year.

 

Q: I read that CTE programs are going to get a large increase with this budget.  True?

A: The Governor’s proposed budget shows an increase to CTE programs. However, the proposed budget allocates a large percent of these funds through the Community Colleges instead of directly to K-12 district CTE students. We expect this to be part of the discussion with lawmakers prior to final budget adoption.

 

Q: I hear that the budget picture could actually improve by the time it is adopted at the state.  What is the District’s response?

A:The District is analyzing the current proposed budget and concurrently watching many factors including, but not limited to:

  • The Governor’s warnings of an economic slowdown
  • The Legislative Analyst Office's more positive projections for state income
  • The potential and regular swing, positive and negative, between the January Budget and May revision
  • The impacts of the new Federal Tax laws, which were not factored into the Governor’s proposal
  • The Federal Budget
  • The current Federal education philosophies that may decrease funding to public education


Q: I was told that the District is projected to spend more than $6M from the General Fund on consultants this year.  Is that true?

A: The vast majority of these services, consultants or subcontracts, are to improve or repair school facilities. Some examples include: new roofs or roof repairs; new asphalt for playgrounds; security fencing; classroom carpeting; fire alarm certification; and playground equipment. We are focused on creating learning conditions that maximize the potential that is within the variability of all learners.

Q: Are all employees being treated equally?

A: We must make our decisions based on the needs of students. When we are able to give across-the-board salary increases, we have traditionally given equal raises to all of our employee groups. The most recent pay raise negotiated for the 2017-2018 year was 4% for all employees. However, due to the budget crisis last year, most of the employee groups had their work year reduced (classified/support staff), resulting in an annual salary loss of over 5%. The reduced work year, however, did not result in a salary decrease for teachers.

 

Q: I also heard that Materials and Supplies have gone up by over $14M. Is that true?

A: Our budget shortfall is in the General Fund Unrestricted. In contrast, the Materials and Supplies budgets are largely from restricted funds (Title I, CTE grants, contributions to schools) that had not been determined at the time of budget adoption. Title I funds, for example, can only be used for supplemental services.

 

Q: Why are you talking about eliminating positions?

A: As our enrollment fluctuates every year, we must adjust to the number of students we are serving. This year, given the projected enrollment decrease, we have decided to make cuts in the central office, which will be difficult. Many of the positions in the central office will have a right to go back to prior assignments if their position is eliminated.

 

Q: At the First Interim Report it looks like you have more funds than you had at budget adoption.  Can’t this help with the shortfall?

A: These are largely restricted funds that can only be used for a specific purpose. For example, we received a grant of $11M from the Department of Defense, but that can only be used for construction at schools with a large number of military families.  

 

Q: With these cuts, what happens to the automatic pay increases for employees?

A: The automatic step and column increases for teachers and other employees remain intact. We will continue to reward years of experience and dedication to our students. Approximately half of our teachers will get this automatic increase/raise next year.

 

Q: Are there cuts coming to healthcare?

A: Our bargaining units are currently in negotiations for their next contract, but the District has already announced that the comprehensive healthcare benefits will remain intact for employees and all of their family members. This is important for the security and well-being of our employees.

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