Sacramento School District Spending and Budget Commentary

Michael McGough:

The district now has one month to file a revised budget for 2018-19 to replace the $555 million budget it had submitted, as announced during the district’s Thursday night board meeting.

In an Aug. 22 budget report letter addressed to district Superintendent Jorge Aguilar, county Superintendent David Gordon said the district will meet its 2018-19 minimum reserve requirements, but will fall short by $22.1 million the next year and by $40 million in 2020-21.

“The 2019-2020 shortfall leaves the district with a negative fund balance. Therefore, the district’s Adopted Budget is disapproved,” the letter reads.

Sacramento City Unified has until Oct. 8 to file a revised budget to the county, according to Gordon’s letter.

In further explanation of the disapproval, the letter says “unrestricted expenditures” for 2018-19 and 2019-20 have increased significantly, “even though the district has been asked to solve its structural deficit problem.”

“It’s not like we told them the day before yesterday that this was a problem,” Gordon said Friday in an interview. “We tried to warn them over and over and over.”

The expenditures increased by $23 million for 2018-19 and by $16 million for the following fiscal year, the letter says.

Sacrament plans to spend $555,000,000 for 42,776 students, while Madison spends nearly $500,000,000 (all budgets, including construction) for 27,009 (includes 1,797 4K) students.