South Pasadena Unified School District

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Updates » SPUSD Budget Update - July 1, 2020

SPUSD Budget Update - July 1, 2020

SPUSD Adjusts the 2020-2021 Budget Based on Newly Signed State Budget Package

     SOUTH PASADENA, Calif. (July 1, 2020) – Recently, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a State budget package that eliminates some of the expected cuts to K-12 education funding. This approved budget heavily relies on the assumption that California will receive massive federal funding relief, and it specifies delaying payments to public schools. In response, South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) is planning to adjust its recently approved budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

     While SPUSD's position is slightly improved under the signed State budget, the District still needs to significantly decrease spending during the 2020-2021 fiscal year. SPUSD will be funded with $1.5 million less than the State budgeted one year ago, and the District may be strapped with additional costs based on its reopening plans. In the short term, the State is side-stepping a major blow to education funding, however it is delaying the funding reductions to an undetermined point in the future.

     “Unfortunately, our overall financial condition does not allow us to restore most of the staff reductions we put into place,” said Superintendent Geoff Yantz. “We are scheduled to receive one-time funding that will be restricted to certain expenditures caused by the COVID-19 crisis, but the total amount we receive will not be enough to cover the substantial needs we face.”

     The Governor’s approved budget also indicates that Proposition 98 funding will fall by $11 billion dollars next year, and the State will defer its funding to districts. In other words, money will be appropriated to school districts but not funded until a year later, requiring local education agencies to use reserves or take out loans to pay the bills. The State last used this system of deferrals during the Great Recession, however, to a far lesser extent than what is planned for this fiscal year. School districts will be on their own to replace the missing dollars with the State agreeing to pay back the borrowed money down the road.
     
     “The wisest way for SPUSD to proceed at this point is to reevaluate our financial position based on the State’s amended budget that will be announced in August and potential new staffing needs for a different type of school environment” said Superintendent Yantz. “We recently reduced staffing, but we may need to add new or different positions depending on the District’s reopening plans. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the school year scheduling, we need to wait to make a final decision about our specific staff needs.”

     District leaders and administrators will need to factor this budget uncertainty into their planning for the 2020-2021 school year. The Governor’s budget also includes caveats related to the required number of instructional days and minutes and a directive to create a framework that offers maximum teacher-student engagement even in a hybrid model. State budget education trailer bill AB-77 adds an extra layer of complexity by stating that schools will offer in-person instruction ‘to the greatest extent possible’ and will only offer distance learning if ordered by a state or local public health official and only for students who are medically at-risk or are self-quarantining because of exposure to COVID-19.

     “We are working day and night to make sure we have the safest, smartest reopening plan in place for our students, families, faculty, and staff,” said Yantz. “The budget puzzle pieces will gradually fall into place and will be one of the many factors that helps inform the best way to proceed. We greatly appreciate all the contributions from our stakeholders through focus groups, surveys, phone calls, and emails.”
 
About South Pasadena Unified School District
Established in 1886, the South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) serves approximately 4,800 students within five schools including three elementary schools, one middle school and one comprehensive high school in South Pasadena, California. Nestled in the West San Gabriel Valley, SPUSD has earned a reputation for providing high quality public education, attracting families who value challenging academic programs and outstanding teachers. Consistently recognized for superior performance, SPUSD students earn honors at the local, state and national level. The District draws vital support from parents and community members through the South Pasadena Educational Foundation, local PTAs and booster clubs.

For more information, contact: South Pasadena Unified School District, Office of the Superintendent, scarroll@spusd.net.