TVUSD’s Budget and Current Challenges
Explaining the details of a District’s operating budget is not easy. Despite the challenge, we hope that you will take the time to review the information provided to help you understand the current status of TVUSD’s budget and the challenges that are ahead as we collaborate with all stakeholders to address our fiscal bottom line. TVUSD is currently fiscally solvent. However, over the next two years, with increasing ongoing expenditures and reduced revenue through the LCFF funding formula, we will be deficit spending. Addressing the issues now will help us to reduce impacts to employees and student learning environments.
The Potential Impact in Dollars - TVUSD Needs To Reduce By $14.3 Million Dollars Over Next Two Years
While our current budget status is not a new discussion, the challenges and potential impacts of reducing our overall budget by $14.3 million dollars will need to occur over the next two years.
Ongoing Cost Avoidance Measures
It’s important to note that TVUSD has engaged in significant efforts over the past few years to implement programs and resources designed to reduce operational costs. These include but are not limited to: transportation, maintenance and operations, facilities, risk management, professional development, curriculum development, energy management and more. For example, the District’s energy management program has resulted in a cost avoidance of $7 million dollars. While our review of operating costs is always ongoing, we have reached a point where we believe we have maximized the opportunities within our major departments for savings.
What makes TVUSD’s Funding Structure Unique?
Before implementation of the LCFF structure, TVUSD was funded at the average level statewide on a per pupil basis. When LCFF was implemented, TVUSD fell to far below the average in comparison on a per pupil basis. Of all the unified districts in Riverside County, TVUSD receives the lowest funding per student due to having the lowest unduplicated pupil percentage (UPP). The UPP counts students for supplemental and concentration grants based on these factors: low income status, foster youth status, and English language learner status. Districts with higher counts of students who qualify based on these factors receive more money through the LCFF. If TVUSD were funded at the rate of the next lowest school district, we would receive $2 million more in revenue. If funded at the highest ranked district, we would receive $49 million more. While funding is a challenge for TVUSD, we are too small of a problem for the state to see as something they need to address. Our students may be lower funded but they achieve more than the average. From the perspective of LCFF and LCAP, we are a success.
In addition to the lowest LCFF funding, money previously slated as “Categoricals” was cut and rolled into the District’s LCFF allocation. This amounts to $13.8 million. This allocation is supposed to cover big expense items such as: class size reduction, textbooks, economic impact aid (EIA), and deferred maintenance. Basically, the state has determined that most of a school districts operating budget needs to fit within the LCFF. And, items that were previously suspended have now been added back as requirements, such as new textbook adoptions. For example, the newest math adoption is predicted to cost approximately $5 million. No new funding has been provided, just the restored mandate. In order to meet the demands and keep pace with the requirements, as well as innovation, the District has utilized one-time funding received in the amount of $14 million to cover items such as textbook adoptions, common core implementation, and technology. Unfortunately, however, one time funding doesn’t sustain and can’t be relied upon to maintain ongoing expenses.
TVUSD’s Ongoing Budget Increases
In addition to being funded at the lowest rate in Riverside County, TVUSD has also experienced increases outside of our control. A major contributor is the increases in CALSTRS and CALPERS employer contribution rates. This is another new requirement without any new funding. The chart below shows the increases already paid and estimates for coming years. This doesn’t include new staff. This only reflects additional costs of current year employees. For example, in 13/14, the District paid $14 million in employer contributions. By 2021, based on estimates, the District will pay $51 million.
Another contributing cost factor is Grade Span Adjustment (GSA). The state mandated beginning with 2012/13 that districts, absent negotiated contract language, make progress towards class sizes of 24:1 in grades TK-3. Funds used towards this mandated program equate to a cost of approximately $1.2 million per year.
Another cost factor that is continuing to be a challenge is declining general education enrollment. At the same time, we are experiencing an increase in special education enrollment. Our enrollment funding declines, however, due to the needs of our special education students, our costs continue to increase without funding to support individual program needs.