SAN DIEGO–Following the addition of funding from California’s recently passed 2015-16 budget, the San Diego Unified School District’s Board of Education is poised to approve a $1.37 billion “students first” budget for 2015-16 that will provide for further reduction of class sizes in lower grades, additional certificated staff at high needs schools, enhanced nursing and counseling services, and more support for English Learners, Special Education and African/African American students
The 2015-16 California budget increased the state’s investment in K-14 public education, including $5.994 billion for districts to continue to implement the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF). San Diego Unified’s budget, which continues to build a system of equity and access for all students, is scheduled for final approval by the Board of Education on Tuesday, June 23.
“In order to deliver on the hope and promise of public education, we must attach a sense of urgency to the budget process,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten. “The school district’s budget is our financial roadmap for how to best allocate resources to support the goals of our Vision 2020 and Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP), focusing on the classroom and on excellence and equity for our students.”
“We are deeply committed to improving academic achievement for all students, creating quality schools in every neighborhood and closing the achievement gap,” she added.
The district’s 2015-16 budget must be submitted to the County Office of Education by June 30, 2015. Highlights of the 2015-16 Total General Fund budget include:
· Lower class size allocations at TK through Grade 3, from current school year 25.5:1 to 24:1 in 2015-16. Allocations will be further reduced to 22:1 at high needs schools
· Additional certificated staff at high-needs elementary and middle schools
· Enhanced counseling allocations at secondary schools and concentrated services for “a-g” support
· Establishment of Innovation Centers at five high schools to coordinate resources and supervision of online learning, credit recovery and enrichment
· Establishment of Youth Advocacy Office to support closing of achievement gap
· Increased cluster centered parent and community engagement
· Implementation of new GATE testing
· Enhanced services for English Learners, Special Education, African and African American students
· Additional translation and interpretation resources
· Enhancements in culturally relevant instruction and professional development in cultural proficiency across the district and not limited to the classroom
· Biliteracy and International Baccalaureate programs
· High school transformation and graduation coaches
· Open library hours at every elementary school.
· Early learning support
· Common Core support and Professional Development for educators
· Beginning teacher induction program
· Visual and performing arts program
· Classroom GATE and seminar funding
· i21 program, giving students and educators the latest technology.
For the second year in a row, there are no staff lay-offs and health benefits are fully maintained.
The Board of Education will also approve the district’s 2015-16 LCAP on June 23. The LCAP provides a comprehensive plan that identifies goals, actions, services and supports for student success. Goals outlined in the 2015-16 LCAP goals are:
· Closing the Achievement Gap with High Expectations for All
· Access to a Broad and Challenging Curriculum
· Quality Leadership, Teaching and Learning
· Positive School Environment, Climate and Culture – with Equity at the Core and Support for the Whole Child
· Parent and Community Engagement with Highly Regarded Neighborhood Schools that Serve Students, Families and Communities
· Well-orchestrated District-wide Support Services and Communications
Although the state budget helps reverse some of the financial reductions incurred by public education during the Great Recession, San Diego Unified has a projected deficit of $34.6 million and will follow Governor Brown’s cautionary advice to have “fiscal discipline and restraint.” The district will also continue its advocacy efforts for adequate funding.
“San Diego Unified will continue to advocate in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. until the students of San Diego and California receive the adequate funding needed to ensure they receive the world class education they deserve,” said Board President Marne Foster. “We are proud that our advocacy efforts this year have resulted in additional investments toward full implementation of LCFF and repayment of cash deferrals and mandates.”