School Board Promises Devastating Cuts for Next Two Years; Community Reels Over News of Reduced State Funding

Posted by: Jeffrey Felix 4 years, 1 month ago

School Board Promises Devastating Cuts for Next Two Years; Community Reels Over News of Reduced State Funding

Tears flow as disturbing action is taken

With a mood of despair and disbelief, the school board last night voted unanimously to adopt a resolution promising close to $3 million in permanent, ongoing cuts for the next school year and another $1.5 million in similar cuts for the 15-16 school year. The resolution was necessary to avoid punitive action from state administrators that might eventually lead to a complete loss of local control.

The school board must now consider what those cuts will be, what programs will be lost, what student services will be eliminated, which schools will be affected, and which members of the staff will be let go via the layoff process. All certificated layoffs must occur by March 15, 2014, and all cuts must be designated and in place by June 30th of the same year.

This action was taken as a result of news provided by the district’s chief business officer Dr. Keith Butler. Butler asked the board to authorize the District Certification of First Period Interim Budget State Report, a mandated report by state law. The review of the budget passed in June is for the period ending October 31, 2013.  During the fiscal year, there are two interim periods to review the budget; the first ending October 31, 2013, and the other ending January 31, 2014. The updated budget is intended to certify that Coronado Unified School District will be able to meet its financial obligations for the current fiscal and subsequent two fiscal years.

Coronado Unified School District was devastated financially a few months ago by a sudden change in the way California funds schools. The new state Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) changed the funding game for all school districts in California. Just as the state finally began inching toward economic recovery, the LCFF undercut Coronado’s access to restored funding. Instead of rapidly restoring state cuts, LCFF extends the period of cuts for all school districts through 2021. But the payout of LCFF is not equal for all districts.

The new supplemental money from LCFF is earmarked for students who are English Language Learners and/or economically disadvantaged, of which CUSD has a very small percentage. More money or “concentration” funding is provided to districts that have larger percentages of these students. LCFF guarantees that Coronado Unified schools will remain last in per pupil funding for years to come.

Because the report revealed a lack of state funds from LCFF, the board was forced to adopt a resolution to identify the amount of expenditure reductions (cuts) needed in 2014-15 and 2015-16. The board will listen to community ideas about how to make these cuts in a series of Strategic “Cutting” sessions planned for various dates in January. All such meetings will be posted on the district and school websites, as well as posted on Facebook.