By Richard Bammer
Tom Torlakson, the state’s superintendent of public instruction, Tuesday urged Congress to reject President Trump’s federal education budget proposal, which includes cuts that he described as “deep” to teacher training, after school programs, mental health services, advanced coursework, among others.
“I give this budget an ‘F’ grade for failing public school students in California and across the nation,” Torlakson, who leads the country’s largest public school system with more than 6.2 million students, said in a press release. “We need to invest more in our public schools, not slash away at programs that help students succeed.”
A former East Bay high school science teacher and athletics coach, he noted that the proposed federal education budget heads in a completely different direction than the California approach to education funding.
Source: State school leader gives fed ed budget proposal a failing grade
By Jonathan Kaplan
As we blogged about recently, President Trump’s budget blueprint for federal “discretionary” spending proposes significant cuts to a range of key public systems and services. While this so-called “skinny budget” lacks important details, it calls for eliminating two K-12 education programs and, by doing so, would reduce the funding available to every California school district as well as to many community-based organizations across the state. California is estimated to receive more than $365 million for these two programs in federal fiscal year (FFY) 2017, which began October 1, 2016: $252 million for Supporting Effective Instruction (SEI) State Grants (also known as “Title II, Part A” funds), which aim in part to increase the number of educators and advance their quality and effectiveness; and $114 million for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which supports before- and after-school as well as summer school programs. Although these two federal funding streams represent just a fraction of the $74.5 billion overall that is budgeted for K-12 education in California in 2016-17 (the state fiscal year that began July 1, 2016), their elimination would disproportionately affect students from low-income families because dollars for these programs are targeted to these learners.
Source: President Trump’s Proposal to Eliminate Federal Support for Certain K-12 Programs Would Hurt Economically Disadvantaged Students in Every Part of California – California Budget & Policy Center
By Richard Bammer
Travis Unified’s 2016-17 second interim budget report Tuesday was good news for a district that, in relatively recent years past, filed a series of negative or qualified budgets — generally regarded as troubling designations — with the county and state.
During a governing board meeting, Anna Pimentel, director of fiscal services, told trustees that she anticipates a “positive” budget certification, meaning the district will be able to pay its bills for the current fiscal year and the next two, for which she showed, in a slide presentations, budget projections for the 2017-18 and 18-19 years.
In a 20-minute presentation, Pimentel, as expected, noted minor changes to revenues, expenses and the beginning and ending fund balances.
Source: Travis Unified on solid financial footing
By Richard Bammer
The 2016-17 second interim budget report and safe school plans are on the agenda when Travis Unified leaders meet tonight in Fairfield.
Anna Pimentel, director of fiscal services, and Sara Smith, assistant director of fiscal services, will present the latest budget interim report, and, based on agenda documents provided, it appears some of the information will echo the report presented at the Feb. 14 governing board meeting.
Still, as other area school districts have reported recently, they will note any likely minor changes to revenues, expenses and the beginning and ending fund balances. Perhaps most important, Pimentel will tell the five-member governing board that she anticipates a “positive” budget certification, meaning the district will be able to pay its bills for the current fiscal year and the next two. She also will offer budget projections for the 2017-18 and 18-19 years.
Source: Second interim budget, safe school plans on TUSD agenda
By Christina Samuels
The “skinny” budget blueprint released by the Trump administration Thursday would maintain current spending levels for special education—about $13 billion, most of which is money sent directly to states.
The budget blueprint is just the beginning of a long process. While this document shows the administration’s priorities, it is Congress that ultimately passes spending legislation. And lawmakers have their own ideas about what programs should be cut, and which should be kept.
But, if these funding amounts were to stay in place, the federal contribution for special education and related services would be about 16 percent of the excess costs of educating a student with a disability, compared to a general education student.
In 1975, when the federal government passed the law that was to become the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Congress authorized paying states up to 40 percent of the excess costs of educating a student with disabilities, based on national per-pupil expenditures. But in the 40-plus years of the law’s existence, the federal government has never gotten close to meeting that goal. The Trump administration is not different from other administrations in that regard.
Source: Special Education Funding Maintained in Trump Administration Budget Blueprint – On Special Education – Education Week
By Richard Bammer
The second interim 2016-17 budget report, an update about district mental health supports, and the sale of $38 million in Measure A bonds are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified leaders meet tonight in Vacaville.
Deo Persaud, the chief business officer, will note major changes since the first interim report in December; updates on revenues and expenses and the ending fund balance; multiyear projections (with assumptions); and next steps.
The district will file a positive certification, based on current projections, meaning it will be able to pay its bills for the current year and next year, he will tell the seven-member governing board.
In a slide presentation, he will note $113.4 million in expenses (a slight change from a previous report), with an ending balance of nearly $18 million (also a slight change), with 8 percent in prudent reserves of more than $9 million.
Source: Vacaville Unified agenda: 16-17 budget report, mental health supports, $38M bond sale
By Richard Bammer
The second interim budget report, open enrollment practices, and alternative elementary school configurations are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet tonight in Dixon.
As school districts statewide are doing in March, an update on the rural eastern Solano district’s 2016-17 budget likely will be approved by the five-member board. Adrian Vargas, assistant superintendent for business and operations, will make the presentation.
He is expected to note the $34 million budget will incur some red ink, about $286,000, with an ending balance of $3.4 million. Vargas will tell trustees that the district’s budget will receive a positive certification and district officials will be able to pay their bills for the current year and the next two.
The district’s projected $32.2 million 2017-18 budget likely will continue to evolve with Gov. Brown’s “May revise” of the state budget before a final district budget is sent the County Office of Education, Vargas will probably note.
Source: Budget report, open enrollment, alternative elementary configurations on DUSD agenda
By John Glidden
Facing a projected budget deficit for at least the next two fiscal years, the Vallejo City Unified School District Board is convening a special meeting Tuesday afternoon to receive information about the district’s financial health.
VCUSD staff is projected the district’s expenditures will exceed its revenues by about $4.7 million for fiscal year 2017-18.
The deficit spending is projected to continue for fiscal year 2018-19, with VCUSD receiving about $147 million in revenues while its expenditures top $150 million.
The board will also receive information about a district plan to slash $3.6 million from the upcoming budget to lessen the deficit impact in fiscal year 2017-18.
Prior to the budget discussions, the board is expected to begin the meeting in closed session to address potential administrative reassignments.
Source: Vallejo school board to meet during special meeting Tuesday
By Richard Bammer
A second interim budget report for the 2016-17 academic year and the “sunshining” of classified employee contracts are on the agenda tonight when Fairfield-Suisun Unified leaders meet.
In her presentation on the budget, Michelle Henson, chief business officer, will tell the seven-member governing board that the district will be able to pay its bills for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends June 30.
But the district will experience a projected $19 million decrease in its general fund balance, received 1.48 percent and 2.4 percent in cost-of-living adjustments for the 2017-18 and 18-19 academic years, respectively. Expenditures will near the $200 million mark, she will note.
Source: On Fairfield-Suisun school agenda: Interim budget report, ‘sunshining’ employee contracts
By Richard Bammer
An update on the 2017-18 budget development process, a review of several LCAP goals, and configuration models for elementary schools are on the agenda when Dixon Unified leaders meet Thursday in Dixon.
The rural school district’s chief financial officer, Adrian Vargas, will lead the discussion about the 2017-18 budget development.
In fewer than a dozen slides, he will cover the Local Control Funding Formula “gap funding” percentages, enrollment projections, Local Control Accountability Plan actions, and highlight major ongoing commitments.
In an interview Tuesday, Vargas said his presentation will take into account subjects that will affect his second interim budget report, set for March 16.
Source: Budget development, review of LCAP goals, configuration of elementaries on DUSD agenda
By Richard Bammer
A Kindness Video Contest presentation, the sunshining of a new teacher contract proposal, and a 2017-18 state budget update are on the agenda when Travis Unified leaders meet tonight in Fairfield.
Staff from the offices of Supervisor John Vasquez and District Attorney Krishna Abrams will present information about a contest the two have devised: The Power of Kindness.
In a recent presentation to the Vacaville Unified governing board, Vasquez and Tonya Covington, representing Abrams, told trustees that their families had been affected by bullying.
The contest asks students, through video, to illustrate positive behavior and show others the power that kindness can have on their school and community.
The genesis of the contest was a casual conversation between the supervisor and the district attorney. They hope it will lead to a greater discussion and awareness about the power of simple acts of kindness.
Source: Kindness video contest, ‘sunshining’ a new wage pact, 2017-18 budget on TUSD agenda
By John Fensterwald
Officials with the California Department of Finance reassured lawmakers Wednesday that the state would issue the first batch of bonds this fall for K-12 school construction, funding that voters approved in passing Proposition 51 in November.
Chris Ferguson and Jeff Bell, who oversee education policy for the department, confirmed an autumn timeline in response to lawmakers’ questions during a hearing of the Assembly Education Committee. The news will relieve school districts worried that Gov. Jerry Brown, who opposed Prop. 51, might drag out the bond sale to exact more stringent oversight and other changes in the bond process.
But Ferguson said that Brown’s two preconditions for moving forward – the creation of new grant agreements laying out districts’ commitments in receiving state funding and imposition of tighter audits – should be in place by summer. The auditing requirement will be in the “trailer bill,” statutory language accompanying the state budget.
Source: Gov. Brown agrees to issue first school bonds this fall | EdSource
By Richard Bammer
New state revenues will not match expenses during the 2017-18 academic year, Vacaville Unified’s chief business officer told district leaders during a governing board meeting late last week.
During a budget update in the Educational Services Center, Deo Persaud said the state’s 1.48 percent cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, while welcome news, will not offset expenses that are “likely to exceed” 4 percent in the coming year.
Additionally, like all of California’s 1,000 school districts, Vacaville Unified continues to face, for the next few years, increasing pension costs for teachers and school-support, or classified, employees, he noted.
Sure to add to budget pressures that eventually will prompt calls for fiscal restraint, Persaud said district contributions to CalSTRS, the mammoth state teachers retirement system, will account for 12.6 percent of the budget in the current fiscal year, 14.4 percent in 2017-18, and 16.28 percent in 2018-19.
Source: CBO: New state revenues to fall short of expenses in 17-18
By Richard Bammer
A Kindness Challenge video contest, Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2017-18 state budget proposal, and an update on the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan and the state’s new school accountability system are on the agenda when Vacaville Unified trustees meet tonight in Vacaville.
Vacaville Supervisor John Vasquez and Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams will present information about the Kindness Challenge video contest, which asks students, through video, to illustrate positive behavior and show others the power that kindness can have on their school and community. Later in the evening, the board likely will pass a resolution to support the contest.
The presentation comes after a 2015 report, “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance — United States,” and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicated that nearly 8 percent of public school students in grades 9 to 12 during 2014 were in a physical fight on school property; 20 percent were bullied on school property; nearly 16 percent, the vast majority girls, were electronically bullied; and nearly 6 percent did not go to school because of safety concerns.
Source: On Vacaville Unified agenda: Kindness Challenge, governor’s budget, LCAP and accountability updates
By Ryan McCarthy
Increased pension contributions school districts throughout California face spurred a two-word description by Fairfield-Suisun School District officials as they prepare the 2017-18 budget and consider more than $7 million in budget cuts.
“Pretty grim,” is how Michelle Henson, assistant superintendent of business services, described the situation.
Judi Honeychurch, president of the board of trustees, at the Thursday school board meeting agreed with the assessment.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun schools face more than $7M in cuts
By Richard Bammer
The California economy is slowing down, and school districts should exercise “extreme caution,” Jared Austin, executive director of Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy, said during Wednesday’s board of directors meeting.
Noting that he and two other officials from the independent charter school attended Tuesday’s annual Governor’s Budget Workshop in Sacramento, Austin said School Services of California leaders, who sponsored the workshop, advised district leaders to consider fiscal restraint during the 2017-18 budget-planning process.
“Don’t commit to anything ongoing,” requiring funding year over year, was one piece of advice, Austin noted during the meeting in the Elm Street campus’ library.
Additionally, state fiscal leaders said the new cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, will be 1.48 percent, he said.
Source: Kairos exec director: State economy slowing, time for fiscal restraint
By Fermin Leal
In his proposed budget for the coming year, Gov. Jerry Brown indicated that he wants California to continue addressing the statewide shortage of qualified teachers with ongoing initiatives rather than by funding new reforms.
The initial 2017-18 budget Brown released last week doesn’t include any new money to combat the state’s teacher shortage. Instead, it highlights the $35 million in programs allocated this year to help school districts recruit new teachers.
“No additional investments are being proposed in the governor’s budget, given both the investments that were made (in the 2016-17 budget) as well as the fiscal pressures now facing the state,” said H.D Palmer, a spokesman for the Department of Finance.
Source: Gov. Brown’s proposed budget lacks new funds to combat teacher shortage | EdSource
On January 10, Governor Jerry Brown released a proposed 2017-18 budget that reflects both deep uncertainty about looming federal actions and a tempered economic and fiscal outlook for the state. The Governor forecasts revenues that are $5.8 billion lower — over a three-year period — than previously projected and proposes taking steps to address a $1.6 billion projected shortfall for 2017-18. The Governor’s proposal assumes current federal policies and funding levels, even as the Affordable Care Act and other federal programs face the prospect of cuts with President-elect Trump taking office.
As part of addressing the deficit that his Administration foresees, the Governor proposes to rescind several one-year spending commitments that had been part of the 2016-17 budget agreement, including $400 million for affordable housing programs and $300 million for renovation of state office buildings. The Governor also proposes to “pause” a multiyear plan for reinvesting the state’s child care system.
Source: First Look: Restrained Budget Proposal Reflects Uncertainty About Federal Commitments and Economic Conditions – California Budget & Policy Center
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson issued the following statement today on Governor Brown’s proposed budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year:
“In a year where California’s overall revenue is down, this is still another positive step forward for California’s 6.2 million public school students. The Governor’s proposed budget continues to invest more in helping students succeed on their way to 21st century careers and college.
“The budget proposal adds $2.1 billion to the annual Proposition 98 guarantee for public education, which will increase to $73.5 billion for the upcoming fiscal year. Per-pupil spending under Prop. 98 will reach about $10,900, up from about $10,600 in the current budget year. As state revenue improves and the budget process continues, we hope that support for Early Education remains a priority for our youngest learners.
Source: Comments on Governor’s Proposed Budget – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Richard Bammer
No surprise, Kairos Public School Vacaville Academy, in its third year, will post a positive certification for its 2016-17 budget, meaning the independent charter school will be able to pay its bills in the coming year.
But at the school’s board of directors meeting Wednesday, it was the $2.2 million beginning fund balance of a $4.6 million budget that stood out among the financial figures presented by Anita Schwab, the school’s chief business officer.
Kairos Executive Director Jared Austin said board members may wonder why the fund balance is so large.
In a telephone interview Thursday, he clarified that the beginning fund balance “is money we’ve saved up” since the school opened its doors in fall 2014 at 129 Elm St., in the old Elm Elementary campus two blocks off Merchant Street.
Source: Kairos on good financial footing, a $4.6M budget, sizable beginning, ending fund balances