The Milpitas School Board passed the budget for the 2019-2020 school year earlier this summer, on June 11. The budget outlines revenue and expenditure projections for the coming year. Overall, the district is projected to collect close to $135 million in revenue by the end of the year, an increase from last year’s $127 million.
The budget analyzes the General Fund, the largest of the district’s four funds. This fund makes up 89% of the district’s revenue projection, or approximately $120 million of the $135 million the district plans to collect this year. The budget projects that the district will spend about $126 million from the General Fund. The expenditure projection is guided by goals aligned with the District’s Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), which have stayed the same as they were last year.
Per California law, each school district has to create a LCAP that guides the process of developing a budget in alignment with the district’s specific priorities, according to School Board President Chris Norwood. The LCAP is a document that allocates the district’s money toward specific actions.
For example, one of the School Board’s goals from this year and last is to make sure that all students are fully positioned to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally in a safe, nurturing, and culturally responsive school environment (see more below). Thus, the budget allocates money to pay for resources such as school counselors, whose roles vary depending on the grade level of the children they work with, Norwood said.
“One of the ways that you can read [the term social-emotional] is be mindful of their mental health, how they perform in school, and how they feel about themselves,” Norwood said. “[In order to do so, the district is] implementing action items such as school counselors to help students with interpersonal skills and social skills at the elementary school level.”
Norwood added that counselors at the high school level will aid students using a distinct guideline, geared toward preparing their academic profiles for college.
According to the budget document, the total expenditures from the General Fund have increased approximately $1.6 million from the 2018-19 school year. This is in part due to the addition of four new Special Day Classes, the need to hire a psychologist and a resource specialist at the new elementary school Mattos, and an overall pay scale increase for MUSD Speech and Language department employees.
As mentioned, the three main goals outlined in the LCAP are the same as last year’s:
GOAL 1: All MUSD students will receive standards-based instruction, curriculum, and assessments by highly qualified teachers in a safe environment to be fully prepared for college and career. Ensure highly qualified and prepared teachers in every classroom. Support the implementation of standards-based curriculum and assessment, in safe and engaging environments. Provide academic and digital literacy in all subject areas to ensure post-secondary success as defined by the number of students who are college and career ready. Goal 1 includes a total of 18 actions with an estimated cost of $ 97,846,023.00.
GOAL 2: All MUSD students are fully invested to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally in a safe nurturing and culturally responsive school environment. We will increase student engagement and investment in learning, increase attendance, decrease suspension rate, and provide safety nets to ensure academic and social-emotional success for all. Goal 2 includes a total of 13 actions with an estimated cost of $1,707,256.
GOAL 3: All MUSD supplemental students consisting of English Learners, Low Income, Special Education, and Foster Youth will make significant growth at the end of 2019-20 school year as per the Annual Measurable Objectives. Acceleration of Goal 3 includes a total of 11 actions with an estimated cost of $3,277,779.00
The LCAP includes multiple new strategies to achieve these three main goals. For instance, the district plans to ensure that basic Services and Conditions for Learning are met by supporting highly qualified teachers through the Induction Program. The district also plans to address chronic absenteeism and its impact by identifying root causes, revising the current process, adopting necessary intervention practices, and communicating plans for improvement. Another new strategy is to hire an additional Assistant Principal to serve at our Comprehensive High School and update Elementary Assistant Principals’ job description with an added emphasis on family and student engagement. Hence, though LCAP’s three main goals have stayed the same, the cost of achieving each goal has increased from last year.