Burlingame School District’s budget is in the red but officials are hopeful the small funding gaps will be diminished by additional state contributions to the public education system.

Daniel Devoy

Daniel Devoy

“I’m happy that the numbers are getting so close to balanced. Hopefully, I would presume, if some of the good news from Sacramento comes our way we can look at 2023 as a positive, as a black number instead of a red number which would be fantastic,” said Trustee Dan Devoy during the board’s meeting Thursday.

Trustees were presented with a draft budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 that shows an anticipated $631,000 deficit in the upcoming year and a deficit of nearly $667,000 the following fiscal year.

More than half of the district’s $47 million budget will go toward employee salaries next year with just more than $5 million covering services and operations and about $3 million covering supplies.

Meanwhile, the district is slated to bring in $35 million from the state’s Locally Controlled Funding Formula, $2 million in federal COVID-19 relief that’s slated to diminish over the next two fiscal years, $4.3 million in other state funding and more than $5 million from local revenue in the next fiscal year.

The district has projected budget deficits in the past few years with the most recent projection indicating a $2 million shortfall. Instead, officials ended up celebrating a $5 million budget surplus but Superintendent Chris Mount-Benites has argued deficits may still be in the district’s future as expenditures return to normal after a pandemic lull and emergency one-time funding runs out.

Some of those concerns may be addressed by a $97 billion budget surplus at the state level that will allow legislators to infuse the public school system with more than $128 billion in funding. During the May Budget Revise, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a 6.56% cost of living adjustment to LCFF, amounting to about $2.1 billion, $3.3 billion of ongoing and $463 million one-time funding to address declining enrollment across the state, $8 billion in block grants, $403 million to increase funding to the Expanded Learning Opportunities Program that’s meant to increase per-student funding to $2,500 for every low-income and foster student and English language learners.

Given that state officials are still hammering out deals on how to spend the surplus, Amanda Bonivert, the district’s chief business official, said district staff did not account for the proposed increases in the draft budget aside from the LCFF boosts out of concern the distinct would end up overbudgeting for money not received. Without the additional state funds, Bonivert noted the district would still receive a positive budget certification, meaning they will meet their budgeting obligations.

“We just didn’t have a clear idea and there’s nothing worse than putting that in and then that getting pulled,” Bonivert said.

Staff also noted that the district will likely have to wait months for the state to detail how certain pots of money can be spent even after it’s been received. Trustees are expected to adopt their budget before legislators pass the state’s balanced budget by the end of June, after which trustees will likely need to adopt a revised budget within 45 days.

“It’s part of the anxiety of having to pass a budget before they actually tell us what to do. That’s just the way the state works,” Mount-Benites said. “[The draft budget is] basically our best guess based on the information they give us at the time and then after they pass the budget we have to come back.”

(650) 344-5200 ext. 106

(650) 344-5200 ext. 106

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