Making budget reductions is one of the hardest things to do as Superintendent, because we all want more services for students and families, not less. At the same time, the fiscal solvency of the District is one of my most important responsibilities, and as financial conditions change, it is important to be proactive and plan ahead. I have to make sure that we keep our expenses within our means and take the necessary steps to protect the future of our public schools and the students we serve.
If you are unfamiliar with the reasons we are making budget reductions this year, the image on slide 2 of the recent board presentation gives a quick overview of several fiscal conditions that affect the Berkeley Unified School District and other school districts across California.
In weighing the trade-offs and impacts of budget cuts on our schools, having parent and community involvement in the discussions has been very helpful to me. I appreciate all those who have reached out to me directly, or come to the Board and committee meetings to speak, and thank you for your commitment to maintaining strong site-based staffing and programs for our students.
The school board made key decisions last week to reach a revised budget cut target of $1.785 million. We were able to keep almost all of the school site positions that were originally discussed, including the Dean of Attendance and Academic Counselors at Berkeley High, the Campus Monitor at Washington Elementary, the Vice Principal at Malcolm X, and others. A listing of the cuts approved by the school board on February 21 are noted in detail in this document on our web page.
Planning for and finalizing the entire district budget is a multi-step process that begins in January with the Governor’s Budget Proposal and is finalized at the end of June. There are still more decisions to be made about budget priorities that can be funded with non-General Fund revenue and projected “one-time” money (funds that we can not count on using for on-going staffing needs). In the coming months, I will continue to work together with all stakeholders in order to present and pass a balanced budget that includes healthy spending projections for the next three years while maintaining the required ongoing 3% reserve to ensure fiscal stability.
Donald Evans, Ed.D.
Previous post from Feb. 21, 2018:
The School Board is planning to make its decision on budget reductions for the 2018-19 fiscal year at the Board meeting on Feb. 21.
The District’s target is to cut $1.8 million for the 2018-19 school year. This set of slides provides an overview of what will be presented tonight and includes a list of the cuts under discussion established at prior board meetings.
The School Board held prior discussions on the budget reductions on Wednesday, January 24, and Wednesday, February 7. The open session of tonight’s Board meetings begins at 7:30 pm. You can check the meeting agenda to read the full document in the board meeting packet. Board meetings are held in the Board Room, 1231 Addison St.