SPUSD Braces for Budget Cuts | Potential $4 Million Loss in Funding from State

Proposal applies an equivalent 10% cut to the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Geoff Yantz points out the district was already working from a budget in the lowest 10% of State funded unified districts

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPUSD Board of Education

During last week’s monthly Board of Education meeting, South Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Geoff Yantz presented background information about the district’s annual budget.

In addition, he provided prospective scenarios from the Los Angeles County Office of Education and the California Department of Finance that helped the district plan for the projected budget deficits due to the coronavirus.

Since that time, explained Yantz in a message emailed Thursday to the SPUSD community, Governor Newsom presented the May Revision budget proposal.

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“The proposal applies an equivalent 10% cut to the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF),” wrote in his correspondence. “SPUSD was already working from a budget in the lowest 10% of State funded unified districts. This decline translates to an approximate $4.3 million loss in state funding.”

Yantz says the local school district will be forced to make significant reductions in order to present a budget acceptable to Los Angeles County. “We remain hopeful that the state will help minimize these impacts through additional relief efforts, and that the federal government will provide stimulus funds to offset the deficit for one year, however these supplements may not be available in time to develop our district budget,” he wrote. “Therefore, the School Board will be reviewing and approving a budget based on the Governor’s May Revision assumptions. We are committed to financial stabilization and to upholding a strong educational system within South Pasadena.

Yantz, faced with the financial setback from the state, urged the community to continue to “advocate for public education with local legislators and strongly support the PTAs, Booster Clubs, and the South Pasadena Educational Foundation (SPEF) whenever possible,” he wrote. “Their contributions go directly toward the students. These local funding sources are critical as state funding declines, and we anticipate needing their support to help fill some of the reductions schools will experience.”

Budget Fast Facts Issued by the SPUSD

The South Pasadena Unified School District hopes the following information will provide additional details as it navigates what it calls uncertain waters.

What did the South Pasadena Unified School District learn from the Governor’s May Revision budget proposal?

• The May Revision budget proposal addresses a more than $54 billion gap in the overall state budget due to the COVID-19 crisis.

• Governor Newsom proposes cutting roughly $6.5 billion – about 10% – from the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) compared to the 2019-2020 budget.

SPUSD’s 2020-2021 LCFF revenue will decrease by $4.3 million.

• The Governor plans to reallocate $2.3 billion in funds previously dedicated to paying down schools’ unfunded liability to CalSTRS and CalPERS to instead pay the school employers’ retirement contributions.

SPUSD will see a decrease in the required employer contribution for the 2020-2021 budget.

• The May Revision relies on $4.4 billion in federal funding that has not yet been received to address learning loss and equity issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 school closures. This funding may be used for programs to address equity gaps and also may be used for necessary modifications so that schools are prepared to reopen in the fall and support parents’ ability to work.

SPUSD will receive modest funding, but the amount is unknown at this time.

What are SPUSD’s next steps? SPUSD will:

• Plan for substantial reductions to the 2020-2021 budget proposal to prevent fiscal insolvency.

• Follow a step-by-step or phased approach to manage the budget reductions.

• Make changes that include difficult decisions about reductions and how to remain solvent due to the anticipated deficit.

• Seek out the best ways to save money while reducing the impact on employees and programs.

• Reevaluate the budget after legislators respond with the June 15, 2020 budget proposal.

• Encourage the community to advocate for public education with local legislators and to strongly support the PTAs, Booster Clubs, and SPEF (South Pasadena Educational Foundation) whenever possible as local funding sources directly impact students.