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Budget Update: Board continues dialogue at Feb. 27 study session

Budget Update graphic The Folsom Cordova Board of Education will resume its public dialogue on potential solutions to the District’s estimated $4.4 million budget deficit during its next study session. 

The Board is not voting on any recommended cuts at this meeting. The Board will meet from 4-5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27 in the Education Services Center, 1965 Birkmont Drive in Rancho Cordova. 

This will be the sixth public study session on the budget since November 2018. At the Feb. 27 meeting, District leaders will provide an overview of the impacts of budget reductions made to date, an analysis of the District’s ongoing deficit, and continued dialogue on potential solutions. 

The Board will provide input during this meeting, but will not be taking any action. 

Between now and June 30, when the District must adopt its budget for the next three years, the District will continue to work together with its employee union leadership, students, and parent representatives to gather ideas and feedback about measures that can be taken to reduce the District’s ongoing expenses. 

Why is there still a budget deficit? Hasn’t the District already made reductions? 

School districts across the state are struggling with fiscal challenges because employee costs have risen faster than increases to education funding. Since the District began holding public study sessions in 2018, the Board has approved millions in reductions, including: 

  • Early retirement incentives for certificated and classified employees 
  • Eliminating vacant teaching positions that did not have class rosters (including 10.3 elementary intervention teachers in Folsom)
  • Standardizing Kindergarten schedules across the District
  • Redirection of Folsom Lake High School students to existing Alternative Education options
  • Reduction of teacher prep periods at Mitchell and Mills middle schools, providing consistency across all middle schools in the District
  • Eliminating administration and clerical positions by not backfilling vacancies, including at the District Office 
  • Reduction of Lead Teacher positions 

The District is required to submit a budget annually to the Sacramento County Office of Education showing that it can meet its expenses for the next three years. Current projections, however, indicate the District will fall short of meeting its expenses by more than $4.4 million in 2021-22. A directive from the Sacramento County Office of Education requires the District to submit a plan by June 30 showing that ongoing reductions will be made to resolve the deficit. 

What additional ideas have been proposed? 

A variety of ideas have been generated in partnership with the District’s employee union leadership, students, and parent representatives and can be found on Page 21 of this interim budget report summary. However, all of these ideas combined are not enough to close the District’s $4.4 million deficit for 2021-22. 

Additionally, the District is seeking to offer compensation increases to its teachers and support staff, which is not yet budgeted and could increase the deficit by millions more if reductions are not made. 

Of the ideas generated to date, adjusting teacher prep periods at Vista del Lago and Cordova high schools are projected to provide the most significant savings. However, the District is still working with all stakeholders to analyze ideas and potential impacts to students and staff from these and any other ideas that are proposed between now and when the budget is adopted in June. 

No formal proposals have been made and the Board is not voting on any recommended cuts at the Feb. 27 meeting. 

-Daniel Thigpen, Director of Communication & Community Engagement, dthigpen@fcusd.org