The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the Milpitas Unified School District’s (MUSD) plans for several months now. But even as teachers and students gear up for a second academic year of distance learning, the district foresees a balanced budget for the upcoming year, according to a press release from MUSD.
The balanced budget will come at a cost, though. Due to unexpected COVID-19 costs and a proposed 10-percent statewide education budget cut by Governor Gavin Newsom if Congress doesn’t send the state at least $14 billion in federal aid by July, MUSD will shift $15 million in reserve funds to keep the books in check.
“When Governor Newsom proposed the reductions to education, he did not release much detail on how to implement the cuts of the subsequent years following 2020-21,” said Wendy Zhang, assistant superintendent of MUSD. “With this large-scale reduction to education, it leaves us with no choice but to tap our reserves to have a balanced budget.”
MUSD’s 2020-21 budget estimates $127.7 million in expenditures and $125.8 million in revenue. The district will receive $7 million less in Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) funds from the state as compared to the current school year. LCFF funds make up 70 percent of the district’s revenue, according to the press release.
Newsom and the California Legislature have been wrestling with the governor’s proposed budget this month as the state faces a $13.4 billion shortfall this fiscal year and a $40.9 billion deficit next fiscal year. Less revenue coming into the state will mean less funding for schools, with an estimated $18 billion drop, according to the state’s education funding formula.
In Milpitas, the district’s Student Nutrition Department went from having close to $280,000 in reserves to operating at a $302,000 deficit. Meanwhile, instructors for the district’s Adult Education Program at the Elmwood Correctional Facility have been prohibited from stepping inside the facility due to the state’s shelter-in-place orders. That has led to a $245,000 deficit for the program.
The details of MUSD’s proposed budget were discussed at a June 9 budget study session, where cost projections for staffing, special education, student nutrition, adult education, the Child Development Center, and payroll were discussed, among other items.
“Since the pandemic has created a new reality, we will have to come up with a comprehensive adjustment to our operation and allocate our budget accordingly,” said School Board President Hon Lien. “We definitely need all hands on deck.”
You can access the district’s entire proposed budget here.