The Alhambra Unified School District Board of Education approved Tuesday the budget for the 2014-2015 school year and adopted a plan detailing how the district will allocate new state educating funding.
The district's Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) prioritizes six goals the school board has identified as most important to fostering the academic success of AUSD students: maintaining organized schools, providing a quality and rigorous education, providing access to technology, maintaining a safe learning environment, maintaining student engagement in learning, and engaging families and communities in education.
The state requires all school districts to submit an LCAP to receive state funding through the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), a new state law that distributes funds to districts based on the needs of each student. Districts that serve low-income students, English-language learners, or foster youth receive additional dollars for each high-needs student.
The district will spend approximately $177 million in the 2014-2015 school year. It will receive $139 million from LCFF based on enrollment and high-needs students, and the rest of the funding will come from funds for special education and afterschool programs, government programs, taxes, and donations, according to Nicole Lash, director of fiscal Services at AUSD.
While a trend of declining enrollment over recent years has brought in less money, LCFF increases funding per student, Lash said. The district expects 17,716 students to be enrolled in the next academic year.
Approximately $147 million — 83 percent of the budget — is allocated for employee salaries and benefits, according to Lash. "Truly, the majority of costs are our salaries," Lash said.
The rest of the district's expenditures cover books and supplies, contracts, major purchases, and administrative costs:
- Books and supplies: $8.2 million
- Contracting consultants, attorneys, accountants, and other outside professionals: $19.1 million.
- Purchases worth more than $5,000: $515,000
- Indirect costs (administrative, Office of Education payments, etc.): $2.1 million
The budget for the upcoming school year will be formally updated twice, once in November 2014 and once in March 2015. The school board will be required to vote and adopt the budget again, according to Lash, and will hold a public hearing for community input each time.
The LCAP process requires the district to solicit community input to determine how the funding will be spent. Parents addressed the school board on June 17 regarding the budget and LCAP, asking the district to prioritize the needs of low-income students, fix broken facilities, and hire more staff. The public hearing followed other community outreach events, including parent informational meetings, community presentations, and an online survey.
“I want to encourage everyone to stay involved," said Dr. Gary Gonzalez, assistant superintendent of educational services. "This is an opportunity to take control of our kids futures and at the heart of all of this is educating students.”