Saturday, February 22, 2020

SCUSD Not Insolvent- It Just Can't Count

Sacramento City Unified says  due to its own financial crisis it will need to lay off about 50 certificated employees ( teachers, counselors, etc). for 2020/2021.  The district predicts a shortfall of  $ 28 million dollars for next year.   This is their fiscal recovery plan. 
Recall that the district predicted a similar emergency short fall for 2019/2020.  It never happened.  At the end of the year, the district had a deficit of some $100,000.  And, a budget surplus of $ 31,000,000.

The district projects that it will have a deficit of some 28,707, 835 for 20/21.  The projection of the Community Priorities Coalition is that the district will have a deficit of some $ 7,221,409.  A deficit of this size can be easily dealt with while the district has a budget surplus of $31 million.  

It is clear that the district can not count. Their  failure has been well documented in the FCMAT report(Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team) in 2018.   It is the job of the Board to require clear and open accounting. Instead of balancing the budget, they implement a public relations strategy.  They have failed. And, today, they continue to fail. 

In addition to the continuing claims and campaigns of insolvency of the district by the Board,  the local LULAC ( League of United Latin American Citizens) has notified the Board and the Superintendent in 2017, 2018, and 2019, that we are concerned about the misuse of funds provided to the district for assistance for English Language Learners.  The district receives some $ 6 million per year from the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) directed to improve the educational opportunities of English learners. The district budget is difficult to read. However as best we can read it, the district spends some $1.6 million per year for instruction of English learners.

We have been unable to trace where the remaining money goes.  However, in other districts with this similar pattern, the money is not spent it the year allocated on English learners.  Then, it is transferred to the general fund in the following year for any use that the district chooses.
Until demonstrated otherwise, we must assume that Sacramento City Unified is making similar transfers since they decline, or are unable to describe where the English learners money goes. Such funding transfers would become illegal under new pending legislation AB 1835 and AB 1834 by Assemblywoman Shirley Weber. 

Though Feb. 2020, the board of SCUSD has consistently failed or refused to respond to our proposed  changes in the budget of SCUSD in the LCAP plan to expand services for English learners.   Our proposal continues to be that the district use the funds received from LCFF for improved services to English learners be used  for improving the services to English learners. 

Dr. Duane E. Campbell
Education and Democracy Institute.
Education Committee , Sacramento LULAC.#2862.

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