By Nicholas von Wettberg
The Davis Joint Unified School District (DJUSD) Board of Education is scheduled to meet this Thursday and part of the presentation portion of the agenda includes a district-led report on the impact of Governor Brown’s January budget update.
Thanks to a number of education recovery factors – among them, an increase in General Fund revenues and local property taxes – California’s 10,000-plus schools can anticipate a slight boost in funding for the next fiscal year.
The district’s planning process for the Second Interim Budget, due out in March, now enters its early stages, until May, when the California Governor’s Budget revisions are released and the DJUSD tasks its 2016-17 Adoption Budget.
Part of the discussion between board and staff, at the city’s Community Chambers, will focus on the proposed additional revenue, a possible $3 million, generated through the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).
As a whole, California’s budget continues to benefit from its investment into the LCFF, which began in 2013-14 and has exceeded initial state funding projections by a reported $6 million.
Each school district in the state (there are over 100 of them) is required to devise its own Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), which, according to the budget summary will identifiy “local goals for all students in eight state priorities and describe planned actions, services and expenditures to achieve these goals.”
Some of the district needs funded by LCFF revenue are salary scales defined in the California Budget Act (CBA), increases in State Pension Cost, class size reduction, and Strategic Plan goals.
Along with budget funding provided by the LCFF, the district will also receive a one-time Mandated Cost Payment, an estimated amount of $1.6 million.
According to the agenda syllabus for the upcoming meeting, the program funding “will support our current needs for the implementation of curriculum adoptions and technology presented as part of the First Interim budget.”
The district has listed what it deems its seven themes for the 2016-17 Governor’s Budget: the stabilization of funding and programs in all areas of state budget; completing repayment of the Education Maintenance Factor in 2015-16; Proposition 98 revenues remain underestimated by the state; the governor giving warning of possible downturn; legislative and advocacy issues arising, and the need for them to be addressed; the continued emphasis on the LCAP; and the district proceeding with caution.
Perhaps the centralized theme to the Governor’s Budget update, aside from what the summary calls “greater local financial flexibility” is that, while things are economically good, and revenue streams remain beneficial to overall efforts in narrowing the achievement gap, there will come a time, just like nearly a decade ago, when the well runs dry and coffers become in demand.
However, that should not prevent the district from continuing to ask the state for an increase in education funding.
As a part of the district’s preparation for a future recession, the plan is not to rely on the temporary taxes as a result of Proposition 30 to fund education, which included an increase on personal income tax for high-income earners, ending in 2018, with a quarter increase in state sales tax that runs out at the beginning of next year.
According to the budget update summary, the state is projecting “to eliminate almost 50 percent of the remaining funding gap to full implementation, bringing total formula implementation to 95 percent.”
Once the implementation is full then the only funding each district receives from the state, via the LCFF, would be a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), and according to district projections falls somewhere between two to three percent, causing possible future reductions.
Added emphasis will be placed on the revenues generated by Proposition 98, which for the revised current year is at a guaranteed $69.2 million and a projected $71.6 million for 2016-17.
One thing looming over California’s head is the reappearance of a new Maintenance Factor “obligation” of over half a billion dollars that is scheduled for the fiscal new year.
Joining the list of aforementioned state budget proposals are $1.2 billion for “discretionary one-time uses,” another $365.4 million for Proposition 39, known as the Clean Energy Jobs Act, and $61 million towards growth in average daily attendance supporting charter schools.
The DJUSD is projecting the revenue received through the discretionary one-time funding – courtesy of Prop. 98 – to land at around $1.6 million.
The question is asked, “What does the January revision mean for the DJUSD?” One element to the answer is an upward trend, for 2016-17, with somewhere around $8,000 per ADA (average daily attendance) funding from the LCFF.
As defined in the LCAP, the public is part of the financing system, and is asked to participate in Board meeting forums.