Saturday, September 19, 2020

CUSD Ends the 2019-20 school year with a huge $23 million surplus after originally projecting a $12.3 million deficit, a turnaround of $35.5 million

This marks the eighth consecutive year of grossly inaccurate budget projections by SCUSD administrators

Reserve fund hits highest mark ever at $93 million

The Chief Business Officer of the Sacramento City Unified School District, Rose Ramos reported to the SCUSD board of education last night that the Sac City schools finished the 2019-20 school year with a large surplus of cash and record reserves. 

Only last month, SCUSD administrators, along with the Dave Gordon of the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) were predicting that the district would run a massive deficit, be out of cash in February 2021 and face state takeover next year.

Contrary to the bleak forecasts presented to the public in August, the “2019-20 Year End Financial Unaudited Actuals” report documents that SCUSD ended the 2019-20 school year with a surplus of $23,113,422.98. 

In July 2019, the district projected it would end the 2019-20 school year with a $12,344,416.83 deficit — a $35.5 million turnaround from the district’s dire predictions. 

Just as significantly, SCUSD now has $93,048,610.81 in its reserve fund, $82 million more than the minimum reserve fund required by the state.
“Parents, teachers and business leaders have been bombarded with ‘the sky is falling in’ messages coming out of the budget office that are parroted by both the school board and the Sacramento County Office of Education year after year,” said Sacramento City Teachers Association President David Fisher, who also is a SCUSD parent. “Every year SCUSD goes through this exercise of telling the public that it is running out of cash and better cut programs, only to end with ‘never mind, we actually ran a surplus.’”

It is the eighth year in a row that the District's financial projections have been wildly inaccurate, falsely painting a picture of SCUSD on the brink of fiscal insolvency. Among other accounting problems, a budget officer previously hired by the school board based on recommendations from Superintendent Jorge Aguilar, was forced to step down in 2019 when it was revealed SCUSD forgot to count five of the district’s schools, a $25-million mistake.

The chart below captures 8 years of inaccurate projections by the District. This looks at the unrestricted funds. The $93 million reserve fund is the combination of restricted and unrestricted funds.
It's Time for A Leadership Change at SCUSD

In 46 days, voters have an opportunity to remake the Sacramento City Unified School District Board of Education. Four out of seven board of education seats are up for election.

There are four outstanding candidates who are running, each of whom has been endorsed by SCTA, SEIU Local 1021, the Sacramento Central Labor Council and the Sacramento County Democratic Party. They are:
Lavinia Grace Phillips, a social worker for Sacramento's Child Protective Services and the president of the Oak Park Neighborhood Association is running for SCUSD school board inArea 7. The incumbent is Jessie Ryan.

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