Like every other school district in the state, Culver City Unified was heavily impacted by COVID – relief funding, staffing and standards were all disrupted. While the pivot to respond to the pandemic had to be fast, coming back is taking more time. The Budget Stabilization Plan is now in the process of being submitted to the Los Angeles County Office of Education.
With the sunsetting of COVID relief funds, CCUSD is faced with the same budget concerns that all districts up and down the state are facing. While CCUSD currently has sufficient reserves for this fiscal year, and is meeting financial commitments, the board anticipates that reserves will be below the state’s 3% reserve requirement during the next two years. Therefore, it is time to make adjustments and develop plans to reduce spending.
From the District, “We are committed to meeting the needs of our students and families by providing sustainable programs to secure the resources our students need to thrive in a nurturing learning environment. We will be submitting a board-approved Fiscal Stabilization Plan (FSP) to the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE). A Fiscal Stabilization Plan is a budget blueprint based on projected revenue that will help us maintain adequate financial reserves.”
The interim and permanent superintendents, board members and assistant superintendents are monitoring the district budget to ensure that we have a plan to maintain the state-required reserve levels for the current year and two future fiscal years. At the December 12th board meeting Mr. Reynolds, CCUSD’s Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, indicated possible next steps in his presentation to the board.
CCUSD leadership has asked school site administrators to discuss future site budgets with their teams, and we are collaborating with our labor partners – Culver City Federation of Teachers (CCFT) and Association of Classified Employees (ACE). Together we are drafting a fiscally responsible plan that prioritizes the diverse learning needs of our students. Furthermore, we are taking under advisement the recommendations of the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee (CBAC) that were presented to the Board in December. CCUSD district administration will continue to discuss this matter with the CCUSD Board of Education and the Superintendent’s Fiscal Committee, which includes Board Members Guerrero and Loredo.
Importantly, community members may be interested in looking at the Governor’s most recent budget update in which he announced that the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) would be at just 0.76% for the 2024-2025 school year. This is the smallest increase in funding from Sacramento that we have seen since the great recession in 2008, indicating just how tight school funding will be in the coming year(s). In addition, rundown facilities have a tremendously draining impact on our general fund and divert dollars from the classroom. A pool of money dedicated to capital improvements can help alleviate this by freeing up more dollars to be spent on student services and student achievement.