Budget Briefs: Task Force Continues Subcommittee Work, Prepares Recommendations

The Budget Stabilization Task Force continued to work in subcommittees refining its recommendations at its Oct. 10 meeting. The eighth meeting of the task force was the final meeting dedicated to subcommittee work before each group reports to the whole task force for discussion. The Board of Trustees this summer approved the school year 2018-19 budget, which included 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 efficiencies and departments subcommittee further discussed possible savings strategies, including boundary changes and possible school consolidations. The group specifically discussed how campus boundaries and district practices around transportation and student transfers can impact equity across the district. Members also took a hard look at the resources the district dedicates to magnet schools and what it could look like to reallocate those funds to offering rich programmatic opportunities at all campuses.  
  2. The subcommittee focused on staffing and compensation discussed their interest in balancing the impact of any reductions. The idea would be to prevent any specific population within the district from being disproportionately burdened. For example, if a recommendation included increasing class sizes or staff workload, it might also be paired with an increase in compensation.
  3. The revenue and programs subcommittee reviewed potential opportunities through the Senate Bill 1882 provisions, which allow districts to partner with outside organizations to operate and bring new resources to campuses. The subcommittee felt strongly that any SB 1882 partnerships would only be considered if the district maintains governance of the school and negotiates terms that ensure district values continue to be reflected in campus practices.The subcommittee also addressed how the district assesses the impact of various programs on student outcomes. The group acknowledged they are not in a position to evaluate the merits of any given program within their timeline but they would like to see the district continue improving its ability to measure program success. The district has already begun a process to begin evaluating the academic impact of programs.

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