District Set to Present Balanced Budget

It’s balanced, but Superintendent Geoff Yantz expresses concerns about the district’s rising contributions the Teachers’ retirement system

PHOTO: Bill Glazier | SouthPasadenan.com |

A $49 million budget was presented to the South Pasadena Board of Education this week in anticipation of its approval.

As part of a legal process a public hearing was held on the issue during the school board’s regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, June 12, in the District boardroom.

The board will vote on the proposed budget when it meets again in open session on June 26.

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South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Geoff Yantz said the budget is required to be submitted to the Los Angeles County Office of Education by the end of the month.

There’s good news and bad news as the local school board and district officials go over the latest numbers. “We are receiving additional revenues from the state going into the next school year,” explained Yantz. “However, all of that revenue is being consumed by expenses that are part of our natural costs of doing business,” he said, noting that a good chunk of the funding will be applied to retirement pension programs benefitting full and part-time educators in the district.

“Like all entities, we have to budget for the increases into the district’s contribution for PERS (The California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and STERS (California State Teachers Retirement System),” said Yantz.

“Those increases have been substantial over the past several years and will continue to be increasing all the way up through 2021 as forecasted,” he continued.

On top of costs associated with paying current educators, there are normal expenditures like utilities, including electricity to keep the lights on in classrooms.

“It eats up all that new revenue we’re receiving from the state,” explained Yantz, noting that a balanced budget was presented to the board this week. “It’s one of the first years when we’ve been able to present a budget where we’re not deficit spending.”

In other district news, the school board heard an executive summary on the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). “It’s approved (annually) along the same process as the budget,” said the superintendent. “Included in the plan this year, there will be additional group counseling support for students at the elementary school level. At the secondary level, there will be more targeted types of support for students who have experienced a significant social, emotional events within their life.”

Yantz stressed that the district has a clear and cohesive strategic plan. “We know where we’re going as we head into the new year,” he said. “It’s nice to look back on the accomplishments and excited to get going into the next year.”