School District Looks to Modify Budget | Board Reevaluates Upcoming School Year

The Board of Education continues discussion concerning the 2020-21 school year's finances after a revised state budget for California

FILE PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | News | SPUSD Superintendent Geoff Yantz

Responding to newly passed legislation, the South Pasadena Unified School District (SPUSD) plans on modifying its budget once again heading into the 2020-21 school year.

“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 Geoff Yantz in a budget update released on Wednesday, July 1st. 

Last week, the district passed a placeholder budget cutting $4.4 million from the budget for the upcoming school year, accounting for an expected $4.3 million deficit in funding based on governor Gavin Newsom’s May revision to the state budget. But an agreement made by Newsom and the California legislature last week halted many of the proposed cuts to K-12 education and forced the district to reassess their plans. 

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The district now expects only a $1.5 million decrease from last year’s budget, but the newly recovered funds don’t account for new expenditures potentially needed for operating all five of the district’s schools during the pandemic. “We recently reduced staffing, but we may need to add new or different positions depending on the District’s reopening plans,” said Yantz. “Because of the uncertainty surrounding the school year scheduling, we need to wait to make a final decision about our specific staff needs.”

Trailer bill AB-77 also could potentially complicate the district’s reopening plans, saying that schools will offer in-person instruction “to the greatest extent possible,” allowing for distance learning to at-risk or self-quarantining students. 

Yantz stressed how hard the district is working to ensure the safety of its students and staff for the upcoming school year. 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,” said Yantz.