School District Budgets

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Submitted by evolusd on November 5, 2018 - 8:47pm

Hey all - I have a whole bunch of school age kids and have been receiving mail from our district in San Marcos with big red numbers at the bottom and threats of the State taking over the district due to lack of financial reserves (budgeted to fall below the minimum 3% reserve next year).

The schools here are pretty good, but overcrowding has become a problem and they don't seem to have the financial wherewithal to go to the capital markets to finance the build out of new schools. Oh yea, and the City is allowing the construction of tons of new homes, so District enrollment is increasing.

I checked out a few other districts in North County and they all seem to be struggling with this 'new' Local Control Funding Formula that now provides a base rate for each child plus add-on funds for each special needs, low income or English as a second language learners. This revenue shift has been compounded by increasing pension (CalSTRS) costs and, at least in San Marcos, a labor agreement that promises teachers will be ranked 4th in pay when compared to other districts in the County.

I'm concerned and am considering moving to Carlsbad where the district has far more in reserves. Am I overthinking this? Will the State or County come in and save the day?

Submitted by Hobie on November 6, 2018 - 5:56am.

School districts play a shell game with income. In order to get fed money, they have to comply with fed programs. Same with State. Hence the huge funding for special ed, ESL, immersion programs.

Remember reserves and operation funds are different animals. They are full funded for the day to day payment of teachers, staff, repairs,etc. When the buildings fall down, and there are no reserves, then wha-la, a new bond will pass and all is well again.

Every superintendent feathers their own nest by pitching new bonds, 'for the children'. Cbad is now pitching prop HH after spending a boatload of money from the last bond about 10 years ago. Not sure if test scores went up after the bond, but there has been a bunch of new construction and renovation.

Cbad is just better at selling bonds. Test scores are still good in SM. Not sure jumping ship would be a net gain.

Plus, maybe the State getting involved is necessary as the current district admin let the reserves fall so low. State will not get involved over this, only major corruption, etc. State control here, I think it is a false flag argument.

If it were me, I would make your decisions on the quality of the actual teachers at your schools. Good schools generally have low turnover in teachers.

Submitted by phaster on November 7, 2018 - 7:05pm.


Senator Predicts Financial Crisis In San Diego Co. Public Schools

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, CA — California State Sen. John Moorlach may well be giving an encore performance of his role as the canary in the coal mine preceding Orange County's bankruptcy almost a quarter-century ago when he correctly predicted financial disaster while a candidate for county treasurer-tax collector.

This time Moorlach, a certified public accountant who represents Orange County's 37th District and serves on the Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Committee and its education subcommittee, isn't concerned about county government. What bothers him now are the brewing money problems facing hundreds of school districts across California – including in San Diego County – experiencing what he sees as a growing deterioration of their financial stability.

In a report issued in October 2018, summarizing an analysis of the most recent financial statements issued by 944 K-12 school districts, Moorlach found more than 85 percent reported deficits on their general fund balance sheets, something he says indicates that many of these districts "could soon reach a tipping point into insolvency and receivership."

Moorlach's conclusion: "It's not a pretty picture and it's likely to get worse."

In San Diego County, all 17 school districts operating in Patch communities reported deficits ranging from $14 million to $1.5 billion.

this local back page news article reflects the problematic trend of stress building up w/ in the system, or said another way,... America is in the midst of a pension crisis which few are willing to acknowledge

Submitted by NeetaT on November 8, 2018 - 9:36am.

Public schools should not exist. All schools should be private non-profits. Public schools are too expensive.
The public school system has you paying for your own 12 years of education for the rest of your life via property taxes and other fees and taxes regardless of where you live. Your parents paid for your public education via these fees and taxes. Now you are paying for the rest of your life for what could have been paid off in 12 years.

Submitted by phaster on November 16, 2018 - 8:55am.


Why school districts must focus on financial plans

Only one of 42 public school districts in San Diego County enjoys a positive balance sheet, Spencer Valley Elementary in Santa Ysibel. The balance sheets of the other 41 districts are dipped in red ink, some substantially.

The scoring comes from my recent report, “Financial Soundness Rankings for California’s Public School Districts, Colleges & Universities.” It reviewed the financial soundness of all 944 California public school districts.

Q. Why school districts must focus on financial plans
A. To prevent,...

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