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Revised State Budget Challenges District Planning

Additional 10% cuts to impact 2020-21 staffing and programs

chart showing funds down and virus up

Much has been in the news regarding Governor Newsom’s proposed May revised budget and the significant funding reductions proposed for California’s schools. While the specifics of these cuts were just released, Campbell Union School District (CUSD) staff has been busy looking at the impacts it will have here.

“It’s going to be a very tough year,” said Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services Nelly Yang. “We were informed of an overall 10% reduction to our Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), as well as cuts to preschool and afterschool funding, and that our June allocation will be deferred, which will impact our cash flow.”

Already faced with the challenges of declining enrollment, rising costs for special education services, and state-imposed increases to pension plan payments, the district had cut $4 million over the past two years, and had planned for additional adjustments for 2020-21. “Now we’ll have to carve much deeper,” Yang said. 

COVID Compounds Impacts

“We reduced expenses, kept vacant positions unfilled, and managed our finances very conservatively,” said Superintendent Shelly Viramontez. “This was all before we were all hit with the unprecedented impact of COVID-19.”

Schools operate within a staff-to-student ratio, so fewer students means fewer teachers and program staff. 

“When program enrollment decreases, the number of staff members needs to adjust accordingly,” she said. “And attrition alone will not get us to the massive reductions we need, so we will have to make some very hard staffing decisions very soon.”

The reductions are coming at a time when districts are planning to need more resources to ensure schools have all of the safety and hygiene equipment needed to bring students and staff back to campuses in the fall. 

For almost 20 years, the district has been able to offer programs beyond what the State funds for TK-8th grade education because its preschool and before and after school programs were self-funded through grants and fees. They even helped to support extras like school plays and counselors. 

Striving to Keep Programs Alive

“We know how valuable these expanded learning and early childhood education programs are, and we are trying to find a way to keep them,” Viramontez said. “We are doing everything we can to see how we might be able to break even on the programs, which is particularly challenging under the current public health childcare limitations of only 10 students in a class.”

“It’s heartbreaking,” she said. “We are profoundly aware of the impacts these choices have on people’s lives. We also have to be able to run our core school-day operations. We will find a way to both hold tight to our core mission and make the many imposing budget decisions based on what is the overall best for student learning throughout our district.”

For more information about how Campbell Union School District is funded, please visit the  “Budget Primer” on the district’s budget web page.