Raising the flag at Kearny High School.

The San Diego Unified School District, along with all school districts in California, is required by state law to adopt a balanced budget each year. In June of each year, the Board of Education formally adopts the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Budget development is a constant, year-round process involving ongoing planning and evaluation as part of a regular budget process timeline. Each year, the budget must:

  • Establish the maximum amounts that the district can spend for each of its several funds
  • Be balanced, with beginning balances and projected revenues matching or exceeding spending (also referred to as "expenditures") plus reserves
  • Cover the fiscal year (July 1 through June 30 of each year)

All school districts face ongoing budgetary challenges and influences that can include an individual state's own budget crisis, declining enrollment, changes in federal revenue allocations, and the timing out of grants or special funding. These issues mean the district's Financial Operations team must monitor state and school district finance issues on a constant basis.

Where Does Our Budget Money Come From?Budget pie chart

The process for funding a public school district in California is not simple. All districts rely on revenue from three primary sources: federal, state and local. Some funding sources have specific restrictions. This means the ability to be flexible with district revenue is limited.

Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF)

For school districts and charter schools, California's Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) creates base, supplemental, and concentration grants in place of most previously existing K–12 funding streams, thus eliminating revenue limits and approximately three-quarters of state categorical programs. Read more.

Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP)

The Local Control and Accountability Plan or LCAP is a critical part of California’s Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). It is a three-year, district-level plan that is updated annually. The plan describes the school district’s key goals for students as well as the specific actions (with expenditures) the district will take to achieve the goals and the means (metrics) used to measure progress. Read more.

School Site-Based Budgeting

The San Diego Unified uses school site-based budgeting. This important step in the Community Based School Reform Model has been utilized since the 2011-12 school year.

Under this system, individual principals and their communities will have as much say as possible in how money is spent. Read more.