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The Elk Grove Unified School District’s financial staff expect boosted state funding after reviewing the 2022-23 state budget that was approved in late June. These funds will be used to support 68 schools serving more than 60,000 students.
In June, the Elk Grove school district approved a tentative budget of $881.1million “placeholder”Budget for the 2022/23 school year. Since the state budget was not yet signed, the district did not know how much funding it would receive.
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Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the state budget plan which calls for $102 Billion in K-12 education and community colleges spending, shortly after.
In June, the state’s Local Control Funding Formula was projected to bring in $637 million by the financial services staff. They now expect $696.3 million in such revenue, the district’s Chief Financial Officer Shannon Hayes told the school board at their Aug. 9 meeting.
Two major factors behind the boosted state funding are the state’s Cost Of Living Adjustment (COLA) increase of 6.5%, and the state’s option of mitigating funding losses from a drop in enrollment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hayes stated that the COLA hike this year is 6.5%. “very, very high number.”She said that COLA increases were never more than 2.5% prior to the pandemic. However, she warned that the state won’t be able to maintain this high COLA increase for long.
The state created an option to allow K-12 districts, such as Elk Grove Unified, to receive Average Daily Attendance (ADA), funding. This is done by averaging their ADA rates over the past three years. Hayes explained to the school board that her team chose this option. Based on the three year average of 60,381 students, the district expects ADA funding.
Elk Grove Unified’s previous ADA funding was based on the current and previous school years’ of ADA rates.
The district reported enrollment drops of 412 students in 2020-21 and 893 students in 2019-20.
When the pandemic struck in March 2020, students were forced to switch from classroom learning to online learning. In-class learning returned in limited fashion to the district’s campuses in the spring of 2021. In-person classes were permitted for students to attend five days per week in the fall.
Superintendent Christopher Hoffman stated that the budget plan works to keep employees employed despite the drop in enrollment when the school board discussed the tentative 2022/23 budget at its June 28 meeting.
“We’re keeping the status quo in place with regards to staffing, even though we had reductions in the number of kids,”He spoke to the board. “We’re trying to make sure we have the level of service that our families have come to expect.”
At the school board’s Aug. 9 meeting, trustees also learned that the state’s new budget can provide their district $9.7 million for transportation services and an estimated $71 million in Learning Recovery Emergency Block Grant funds to assist schools during the pandemic. Hayes stated that these learning recovery funds could be used to help students with academic credit deficiencies, address learning barriers, and close learning gaps.
Hayes also presented to trustees that their district could apply state grants, such as $37 Million for the Arts, Music, and Instructional Materials Block Grant and $75,000 for anti-bias training for educators.
She stated that the funds from the arts and musicians grant can be used to improve school culture, build diverse book collections and help with operational costs. Carmine Forcina, Trustee of the District, advised staff to continue funding arts and music programs in addition to instructional materials.
“The legislature gave themselves a little out,”He said. “They were not brave enough just to support art and music; we have the opportunity to do just that, and I hope we do.”
The school board will further review the district’s budget plans during a special meeting at 11 a.m. on Aug. 23.