The Turlock Unified School District is learning to navigate uncharted funding waters precipitated by Governor Jerry Brown’s initiative to allocate more money and executive decision to local school districts.
TUSD is facing less restricted funding as it transitions from Revenue Limit and most state categorical funding system and begins the Local Control Funding Formula. The new budget was adopted in June and on Tuesday evening the TUSD Board of Trustees received an interim budget report by Lori Decker, Assistant Superintendent of Financial Services.
While the District signed its budget into effect on June 11 using the old system, Governor Brown signed the State Budget Act on June 27 which put the LCFF system into effect. LCFF eliminated the revenue system and most of the state categorical funding categories and established four base grants tied to specific grade spans as well as makes additional funding available for eligible students such as low-socioeconomic and foster students.
“The current year, first year, is a transition year in a lot of ways. We currently have no regulation on the use of funds and the State Board of Education is expected to adopt those regulations in January of 2014 to take effect for the 14-15 school year,” said Decker.
LCFF currently represents 78.5 percent of General Fund revenues, while federal revenues are 6 percent, other state revenue are 5.9 percent for primarily Common Core implementation and 9.6 percent are for other local revenue. The adoption of LCFF has caused a shift in revenue categories.
While the transition appears straightforward, the District may have a rocky road ahead as it faces changes that have yet to be announced. Decker said that the state will not calculates districts’ entitlements until its second year into LCFF which won’t be until July 2014 for TUSD, forcing Decker to use third party information from organizations such as Financial Crisis and Management Assistance Team for projections.
“The general concept of LCFF is fairly simple but the implementation is incredibly complex, both for districts and at the state level. Most of the information that I am using to give you tonight comes from our support organizations,” said Decker.
The state estimates that the full implementation of LCFF will take eight years.
“During this time when the state’s figuring it all out it’s very likely that there will be changes, either policy or practice, that will change the calculations that I am presenting tonight,” said Decker.
The Tuesday board meeting also marked the official swearing in of two new board members, Jennifer Carter and Deborah Boravansky Martin. Bob Weaver was elected President of the Board for his second term and Eileen Hamilton was re-elected Voting Delegate. Frank Lima will serve as Clerk and Superintendent Sonny DaMarto will perform his obligation as Secretary of the Board.