The Manteca Unified School District can meet its financial obligations for at least the next three years.
According to a letter that Manteca Unified Chief Business Officer Jacqui Breitenbucher included in the latest issue of Insight – the district’s monthly newsletter that gives a snapshot of the district’s current standing – MUSD is financially sound despite ongoing issues with programs being adequately funded by the state and federal government.
In the letter, Breitenbucher points out that this year special education will receive a cost-of-living adjustment of 2.51 percent, while transportation will not be quite as lucky. Currently the district allocates $36 million annually to operate special education, transportation and other programs that are currently underfunded.
But there are uncertainties in the coming years that could shift the district’s fiscal outlook and impact the budget.
The letter details that the “uncertainty of the federal government’s actions, President Trump’s budget tax revisions, and the possible shifting of the Affordable Care Act – also known as Obama Care – from Federal funding to the State” could have impacts that can’t be incorporated into forecasts.
While there are things that could impact the district moving forward, the new budget that approved by the Board of Education will fully fund the remaining 3 percent of the Local Control Funding Formula – valued at $12.5 million – a full two years ahead of schedule. The district is also set to receive one-time unrestricted funds in the next year totaling $6.7 million. Since the Board of Education cannot use that money for any on-going costs, discussions have already been had about whether to save that money for one-time program expenditures that may end being underfunded in the future, or on projects that are wanted now but can’t be funded through the current budget like all-weather tracks at each of the district’s comprehensive high school campuses.
A formal decision on how, or whether, to spend the estimated $6.7 million – that money won’t officially be in the district’s coffers until after the California legislature approves Governor Jerry Brown’s budget at the end of the fiscal year – has not yet been made.
And Brown’s budget will create some additional burden for the district in terms of the annual increase to the employee retirement contributions for teachers and classified employees, the enacted minimum wage increase, or step and column salary increases – creating a budget challenge where expenditures are exceeding revenue.
In order to make up those shortfalls, the district is asking that concerned residents and parents of students get involved with the efforts of the California School Funding Coalition with is “requesting that state legislators provide fair and full funding of all of the Base Grant Target to be raised equivalent to the top ten states nationally in educational funding.”
For additional information, visit Manteca Unified’s website that has a page dedicated to the effort at www.mantecausd.net/actnow.