Don, thank you for pulling together the historical data. When I reviewed the historical financial analysis a couple of thoughts came to mind:
Of the District administration’s current budget, $40 million for special education and ESL currently comes from the operating budget. If the district received half of the amount of money to cover this unfunded mandate, revenues in 2002 – revenues would have been $318 million that year – the same amount as the 2005-2006 balanced budget.
Since 1993, the district’s demographics have changed significantly. Since 1993, the district’s low income population increased about 16% and the minority population increased 20%, many of our minority students are low-income and require support services to be successful in school.
While I am concerned about the total dollars, our revenue and expenditures are not out of line that much to cause me alarm. However, expenditures and revenues are tight with expenditures rising faster than revenues as our population demographics change. I am concerned about how the district moves forward – strategic financial planning, budget processes, curriculum assessments and greater public engagement in the decisionmaking process in a meaningful manner. I think the next five years are critical years that will determine the future direction of the district – we could easily go either up or down.