Welcome to GO’s School Board Watch for the meeting taking place Wednesday, March 14, 2018.
This week’s agenda includes the following key items:
- Fiscal Solvency Update
- Fiscal Vitality Update
- FCMAT Implementation Report
- 2nd Interim Financial Report and Budget Increases/Decreases/Transfers
- Quality Schools Action Plan
The Board will hear an update on the District’s progress in implementing the board resolution Confirming District’s Commitment to Fiscal Solvency. The resolution called for the district to realize $9.0 million in midyear reductions to net expenditures. Current savings realized from the midyear adjustments total $6.46 million, with work still in progress to meet the target. The majority of the outstanding adjustments come from maximizing restricted resources at the central office: these adjustments were slated to save the district $1.6 million, but have only saved $0.1 million so far.
The board will hear the Second Interim Financial Report, which is the second of three yearly snapshots of how actual expenditures and revenues compare to the projected budget for the year. The district is projected to reserve 2.66% of expenditures for economic uncertainty, which is above the state’s 2% requirement for districts, but below OUSD’s policy of reserving 3%. This is an improvement from the first interim financial report, when the district was projected to fall $1.1 million short of the state-mandated reserve.
The district’s presentation highlights challenges in the remainder of this fiscal year and into future years, including plateauing smaller annual increases in state Local Control Funding Formula funding and ensuring that costs for special education, transportation, and child nutrition programs stay closely aligned to revenue sources.
We look forward to a robust discussion about OUSD’s fiscal progress and continued direction during Wednesday’s board meeting. We hope to hear the following questions answered about the current state of the district’s finances and next steps:
- How likely is it that OUSD will hit its target of $9.0 million in midyear reductions? What specific actions is the district taking to improve the chances that it will hit that target?
- Is $9.0 million still the correct target for midyear reductions, given the additional $0.8 million in risks realized since first interim? What actions is the district taking to mitigate ongoing financial risks from early childhood, special education, and nutrition services between now and the close of the fiscal year?
The Board will hear a presentation on the implementation of the Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team’s plan to address OUSD’s financial risk factors. The report provides specific actions, progress to date, and next steps for each of the 23 recommendation areas identified in the district’s Fiscal Vitality Plan.
The search for a Chief Business Officer, Chief Financial Officer, and Deputy Chief Facilities positions continue. A finalist for the position of Chief Business Officer was interviewed on March 9. Interviews for Chief Financial Officer will begin the week of March 19. The selection of a finalist for Deputy Chief of Facilities is pending.
As part of the Blueprint for Quality Schools, the Board will hear a presentation on the Quality Community Schools Action Plan. Over the next five years, the District will go through a staggered three-phase process with three cohorts of schools. The yearlong phases are as follows: 1) School Selection, 2) Planning, and 3) Implementation. The first cohort of schools will be selected this year, and another cohort will be added each year for the next two years. Over the next four months, the District will engage with principals, school teams, and school communities to review district recommendations for changes, gather staff and community feedback, and refine the recommendations for Board approval.
Until next time!