Governor Jerry Brown recently released a new state budget proposal for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
The proposal allows for modest education increases to Proposition 98 (Prop 98) and the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). However, based on the 2017-2018 budget proposal, South Pasadena Unified School District officials say they will receive less money than previously planned by the governor.
“Much to our surprise, considering the passage of Proposition 55, low unemployment, and economic growth, Governor Brown abruptly decreased the revenue for California’s public education system and, subsequently, for South Pasadena Unified by an estimated $900,000 from the state’s adopted budget in June of 2016,” said SPUSD Superintendent Geoff Yantz. “The governor’s budget revisions have created an unexpected financial challenge for the district going forward.”
Yantz said the LCFF, in particular, disproportionally directs more funds to districts with higher percentages of foster youth, low-income families, and English Language Learners. He said Prop 98 guarantees a minimum amount of funding for districts amid changing economic times, and it appears the state is not making any substantial adjustments to offer additional funding.
The superintendent said school districts must factor in state-mandated increases in contributions for STRS/PERS (retirement benefits) and employee health benefits. All in all, Yantz said districts like South Pasadena Unified, who are funded in the bottom 10% of school districts in California, will be challenged to maintain current programs under the governor’s plan.
“In light of the state funding proposal, we need to start thinking less about establishing new programs and more about maintaining, operating and creating success within existing initiatives, and unfortunately, reducing or modifying programs and services to balance the budget,” he said.
Administrators, staff and the school board will work over the next few months to prepare a balanced budget for 2017-2018 that addresses the unexpected decline in state revenue.