Hart Union School District Special Meeting – February 9, 2023

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To navigate to a specific part of the video, simply click on the timestamp links below. Each timestamp corresponds to a different section of the video, allowing you to jump to the parts that interest you the most easily.

00:00:00 In this section of the transcript, the William S. Hart Union School District Board has a roll call and establishes quorum, and approves the agenda for a special meeting to study the budget of the Heart School District. The board president reminds the audience that comment times will be limited to two minutes and only regarding items on the special meeting agenda. The board moves on to the special item of the meeting, which is the budget study session. The presenter, Ralph Peschick, explains that the budget process is constantly evolving and changing because it adapts to priorities identified by the district and state as required. Peschick uses the best available information to present a forecast of what’s to come for the district’s budget.

00:05:00 In this section, the discussion centers on the California state budget and the significant changes for 2023-24. It is noted that rainy day deposits and investments made during good years allowed the state to address estimated budget gaps with little disruption. However, Governor Newsom has made modifications to other areas, including clawing back $1.2 billion from schools, to try and balance the deficits. The state’s revenue trends for the general fund helped determine Prop 98 minimum guarantees, and while the ongoing and one-time categorical programs that have filled the Prop 98 guarantee during those years are still relatively untouched, the proposition has decreased by $4.7 billion over a projected three-year period. The governor’s budget assumes a slow economic growth but not a recession, and the discussion ends with a snapshot of page 10 from the governor’s budget summary showing the current projections for state revenues.

00:10:00 In this section of the school board meeting, updates were provided on the district’s multi-year projection for the years 2022-2025. Recent settlements with bargaining units, including teachers and unrepresented classified members, were taken into account. The governor’s projection of an 8.13 Cola, which represents a 2.75 percent increase over the current budget projections, was also discussed. A 16.5 million dollar increase to the Local Control Funding Formula revenue was announced, along with a breakdown of adjusted base grants for high schools and junior high schools. Additionally, it was noted that the equity multiplier would not be relevant for the William S. Hart Union School District.

00:15:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the funding allocation for students who are considered “unduplicated,” meaning they are either a foster child or low-income and qualify for free and reduced meals. The district receives an extra 20 percent of funding for each unduplicated student, though they do not qualify for concentration grants. The revenue projection for 2023-2024 has increased due to this funding and other increases. However, the district must also consider expenditures, including the rising costs of CalPERS, which represents non-instructional staff and other governmental agencies and has seen a 44 percent increase in employer contributions over a 20-year span.

00:20:00 In this section of the board meeting, the speaker discusses the impact of CalPERS increases on the district’s budget, which is projected to cost an additional 5.4 million dollars over a three-year period. Minimum wage increases are also a concern, although negotiations are projected to keep the district in alignment with current minimum wage standards. Additionally, the district received a 13 million dollar one-time grant for an Arts and Music instructional program, but the governor announced that one-third of this grant would be taken back in order to fund an 8.13% COLA moving forward. This decision provides flexibility for the state but will impact the district’s budget.

00:25:00 In this section of the William S. Hart Union School District Board Meeting, board members discuss how some districts have already spent all of their allocation for upcoming funds before even receiving them, which will lead to financial issues if the new proposal goes through. They also mention Prop 28, which is an additional Arts and Music funding introduced in the 2023-2024 school year. The board emphasizes the importance of cautious budgeting and the need to bring proposals to the board before expending any money, in order to properly prioritize costs and limitations. While the governor’s decision to pull the money back has caused concerns, they’re grateful for a conservative budgeting approach that saves them from disappointment.

00:30:00 In this section of the video, the William S. Hart Union School District Board discusses the significant decline in enrollment in California, which is projected to continue for the next four years. The board notes that the district is forecasted to experience a similar decline in enrollment through the 2026-2027 school year. The board expresses concern over the variable revenue stream, which is based on average daily attendance, and the impact declining enrollment has on the district’s fixed expenses. However, the board is hopeful that future demographic reports and residential construction in the valley will help stabilize enrollment. The board also discusses continued funding for independent study learning programs and mentions upcoming budget timelines.

00:35:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the stability of the revenue and the approaching expiration of one-time funds associated with COVID-19 response. They explain that the school district will need to bring forth ideas to the board since they will have to cease some of the activities that were funded due to the expiration of the one-time funds. The speaker then goes on to discuss Prop 98, which is an Arts and Music in Schools funding guarantee accountability act that is going to increase State costs by approximately a billion dollars a year. 70% of funds from this act will be distributed based on statewide enrollment while 30% will be based on the number of low-income students in the district. Additionally, the speaker outlines restrictions in using the funds, such as the requirement that 80% of the money must be used to hire new staff to facilitate programs. The speaker also raises the question of the loss of the Arts Means Instructional Material Grant and how to crosswalk what was budgeted with that money.

00:40:00 In this section, the board discusses the Prop 28 planning process for the upcoming school year and the potential use of waivers to gain flexibility in the allocation of funds. However, there is still uncertainty in the details of the waiver process, and there are questions about how the funding will be used to hire staff for smaller schools. The funding formulas will be based on student and low-income populations, but the allocation of funds will not be fixed. The board is hopeful that upcoming trailer Bill language will provide more guidance and flexibility in the allocation of funds.

00:45:00 In this section of the meeting, the board discusses the potential decline in funds as the unduplicated student count declines as a percentage of enrollment due to a state proposition. There is a suggestion that some schools could receive more funds while others could lose out as a result. The board also raises concerns about how the funds will be used for facilities and whether it covers enrichment activities such as trips to cultural venues like Walt Disney Music Hall. They also discuss how transportation funding has changed with Assembly Bill 180.

00:50:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the transportation budget and funding for the William S. Hart Union School District. The state provides just over a million dollars a year towards their transportation budget, leaving the general fund to cover the remaining amount, which is in excess of four million dollars a year. However, with a new calculation model implemented this year, the district will receive additional funding of between six and eight hundred thousand dollars. To accept this funding, they will need to develop a new Transportation plan, which will be presented for review and approval in April. The goal of this increased funding is to expand transportation for low-income students who may not currently have access. The district also provides tap cards to foster, homeless, and low-income students, which this new funding will help pay for. However, adding additional routes would cost over a hundred thousand dollars a year, necessitating an expansion of the current fleet.

00:55:00 In this section of the board meeting, the transportation grant and the possibility of using it to partner with the city’s transportation department were discussed. The grant is for replacement, not supplement, and the district is at capacity with transportation, making it difficult to add another route. The intention of the grant was not to buy tap cards, but to provide capacity for low-income students. A survey will be launched to gain feedback from staff and stakeholders, and the plan will be reviewed by staff and the board to decide on priority actions. The learning recovery emergency block grant was also mentioned, which is a one-time grant that must be expended by the end of the 27-28 school year, and a plan must be developed and reported back to the CDE.

01:00:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the plan for using federal funds to continue and build upon the educational programs that have been effective in the William S. Hart Union School District in the past. These programs include increased instructional learning time, decreased staff and pupil ratios, and support services to address learning barriers, among others. The district has also received tentative appropriations for additional funding for various educational programs, which will be allocated at the state level. The district is currently working on a plan to utilize these funds effectively and will share it with the Board at a later time.

01:05:00 In this section, it was discussed that there will be an additional 15.5 billion dollars in funding for special education in California, which is 934 million dollars more than the previous year from the federal government. The state will receive about 10% of the federal money due to being 10% of the national population. The board will review COVID-related items, transportation-ready plans, and interim reports at the March meetings. Furthermore, the board will receive a budget update on May 7th and a proposed budget for the 2023-24 year on June 14th. In regards to the California Lottery, the funds are shared between the County Office of Education, school districts, charter schools, and community colleges with Adult Ed getting some of the lottery funds as well. It was said that the funds aren’t as much as people think, but a nice infographic will be uploaded to the District’s website to provide more information.

01:10:00 In this section, members of the William S. Hart Union School District Board discuss the budget oversight and responsibility they have for various funds in the district, including capital outlay and associated student body funds. They note that, collectively, they have oversight of close to half a billion dollars. The board members also emphasize the importance of maintaining a positive fund balance to ensure solvency and discuss the concept of variable and fixed costs in managing the budget. Dr. Moore asks Mr. Peschick about the different LCFF numbers in the budget projections for the 2023-2024 year.

01:15:00 In this section, the board members discuss the projections for the William S. Hart Union School District’s revenue and expenditure for the upcoming years. They note that the current slide six is a projection without the 8.13, and slide 10 includes the recent raises and salary increases. The projections can be confusing, and the board members question why the number they are projecting with the 8.13 is not on the slide. The board anticipates an increase in revenue if the classified raise is approved, but the actual revenue balance will depend on the board’s decision. The board also discusses the significant decline in federal revenue, which they hope to understand better in the upcoming second interim.

01:20:00 In this section of the video, the board discusses additional funding from the governor for fentanyl overdose treatment in schools, which will provide middle and high schools with two doses of naloxone for opioid overdoses. The Educator Effectiveness Grant is also mentioned, and it’s noted that it’s still available and has been encumbered for spending on programs such as special education, wellness centers, and leadership training, among others. The board thanks Ralph Peschek and Brittany Krasinski for their contributions to the study session, which was aimed at increasing transparency regarding the district’s fiscal operations, and adjourns the meeting.

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