HomeBlocksFront-TopSMUSD Refines Budget Amid State Revise

SMUSD Refines Budget Amid State Revise

With California’s budget now awaiting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s final approval, San Marino Unified School District officials offered the Board of Education “the most accurate snapshot possible” of the 2024-25 proposed district budget at the June 13 meeting.

The district may need to fine-tune calculations depending on what is ultimately decided, Superintendent Linda de la Torre said. She discussed the possibility of a 45-day revision.

“If we have to go back and readjust our budget, we will do that in accordance with the statute and we will let everybody know, and we’ll be very transparent and open about where we are,” de la Torre said. “Unfortunately, we just don’t know right now and it’s very frustrating for staff; it’s very frustrating for everyone in education not to have those answers and so it’s difficult for us to predict where we’re going. What we do have is what we need right now which is a budget that we can bring forward so we can get to the next step.”

The governor’s revised $288 billion state budget informed the district’s latest proposal. Among the categories bringing in the most revenue were personal income tax at $116 billion, sales and use tax at $34 billion, and corporate tax at $37.7 billion. Meanwhile, top expenditures include K-12 education at $75.5 billion and health and human services at $70.4 billion.

The 2024-25 LCFF funding factors, based on grade span, uses the statutory COLA, or cost-of-living adjustment, of 1.07% to calculate next year’s base grant per student average daily attendance. Chief Business Official Michael Lin said SMUSD projects are set to receive just under $1.2 million in supplemental funding based on the district’s 18% of unduplicated pupil percentage which disqualifies the district from receiving concentration funding.

Reported in the School Services of California’s multi-year projection dart board, the CalPERS employer contribution rate for classified staff is 27.05% in 2024-25 and is expected to rise to 29.2% by 2027-28.

For the 2024-25 proposed budget, Chief Technology Officer Stephen Choi highlighted key revenue and expenditure assumptions that were derived, in part, from the School Services of California’s projection data.

Though these models are ultimately subject to change, Choi said, the district’s projected total revenue of $50.9 million for 2024-25 is lower than that of 2023-24, and that is in large part due to one-time funds. On the other hand, the total expenditure model projects $52 million, which includes $20 million in certificated salaries, $8.7 million in classified salaries and $12 million in employee benefits.

While staff is still actively evaluating changes in positions and benefits, books and supplies are projected to be $2 million, operating services at $76.4 million, equipment at $345,000 and other outgoing expenses are at $1.4 million. The lower projected expenditures in these areas are also due to one-time funds that are going away, Choi said.

“The silver lining here is that the deficit gap is projected to narrow in future years,” Choi said.

The budget maintains the state-required 3% reserve for economic uncertainties and $8 million in additional reserves to meet the 10% cap.

SMUSD will work to refine projections for final board approval as necessary prior to reconvening on June 25. If significant changes occur, a 45-day revision may be presented. Otherwise, the district’s first interim budget report will be presented on or before Dec. 15 and the second interim report will be presented by March 15.

First published in the June 20 issue of the San Marino Tribune

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