Budget Briefs: Task Force Breaks Into Subcommittee Work, Receives Staff Information

The entire Budget Stabilization Task Force broke into subcommittees for the first time and received information from district staff at its seventh meeting Sept. 26. The group is now its third month of meeting bi-weekly to develop strategies to close the budget deficit. The Board of Trustees this summer approved the latest budget, including a $29 million dip into reserves. The district is expected to have even greater budget shortfalls in the future.

Here are three things to know as the task force moves forward.

  1. The task force began working in its new subcommittees — efficiencies and departments, revenue and programs and staffing and compensation. District leaders were available to answer questions at each subcommittee table and each group committed to scheduling further meetings with staff outside of the task force meetings as needed. Subcommittees will present findings to the larger task force body at a later date. Members will have the opportunity to make amendments to the recommendations before taking a final vote and submitting recommendations to Superintendent Paul Cruz.
  2. The original task force subcommittee focused on contracts and vendors completed its scope of work and reported its findings to the task force. The subcommittee presented multiple opportunities for efficiencies in the district’s contracts and procurement practices, including the requirement of performance management for any contracts, investing in a procurement software to automate purchasing and implementing better control of travel and other expenses with purchasing cards. The subcommittee pored over data and met with procurement staff multiple times to develop its findings.
  3. The subcommittees reviewed the results of the budget balancing activity they completed individually before the meeting in order to identify areas of consensus. One of the shared priorities was finding ways to better compensate highly effective teachers in a way that is not just based on their students’ standardized test results and further, how to incentivize those teachers to teach in more challenging classrooms. Other topics that generated a lot of discussions included how the district can monetize its underutilized facilities and the potential implications of reassessing boundaries from both a financial and equity lens.

Learn more about the presentations, questions and discussion during the meeting at the BSTF website.