As schools are making plans for next year and preparing their budgets, we have had a number of questions about budget cuts to school sites. During the budget hearings earlier this year there were some proposed cuts to the funding formula for school sites. The formula basically gives money and staff to school sites based on student enrollment. Initially, the District proposed raising the number of students required, for example, for a school to be assigned an assistant principal. The cuts were ultimately rejected by the Board of Education.
While there weren’t any reductions to the funding formula for school sites, schools may experience staffing reductions for the following reasons:
- Reduction in number of appeals granted: After a school receives its funding and staff positions via the funding formula, they can appeal for more positions. Last year, there were 105 teacher positions granted during the spring appeals process.This year, in order to pay for other programs, the District reduced that number from 105 to 60 positions thus saving $3.2 million. When evaluating those appeals, District leadership focused on ensuring that high schools could offer A-G coursework and middle schools could offer electives.
- 2016-17 teacher non-consolidations: Due to overestimated attendance projections, this year the District over-hired 41 teachers, and chose to keep 35 on staff. That means that for this year some schools had more teachers than they should have based on attendance and the site funding formula. Those positions are being eliminated in the next school year and so schools might see their total number of teachers being reduced.
The Road Ahead
While state funding will remain flat in the coming years, the school District’s expenses will be increasing. That means the District will be facing tough budget choices both in the short- and long-term. Senior Business Officer Hal included the following slide in his presentation urging caution for the current school year and beyond.
Next Steps in the Budget Process
- Third Interim Report: In May, the Board of Education will receive the Third Interim Budget Report which will give an updated picture of the District’s finances as of January 31st, 2017.
- May Revise: On approximately May 15th, the Governor will deliver the “May Revise”. This is an update to the budget forecast made in January. When the Governor delivered that forecast in January, Oakland went from expecting approximately $10 million in new funding to being told to expect essentially flat funding. Since it’s closer to the new fiscal year which begins July 1, the May Revise will be a more accurate picture of the state’s budget.
- Board Ad Hoc Finance Committee: Aimee Eng, Shanthi Gonzales, and Jody London are chairing a newly established subcommittee to develop recommendations to improve the budget process. The recommendations are due by June 2017.
- Final 2017-18 Budget: By the end of June, the Board must pass its 2017-18 school year budget and submit it to the county for approval.