At the last school district meeting I attended, a list of categorical funds that had been reduced by the state was distributed. For instance, pupil testing (STAR, CAHSEE, CELDT) was originally funded at $29,000 for the current fiscal year, but because of the state's takebacks, the district will only receive $24,534. For next year, the district will receive even less -- $23,229.
Some of those reductions in categorical funds come with no additional flexibility -- meaning that the school district still must meet state requirements in order to receive the funds.
However, other categorical funds have been granted temporary flexibility. For the next two fiscal years, the district could accept funds for a particular categorical line item, but not fund that line item -- and use those funds elsewhere in the budget, instead.
For example, class size reduction in grade 9 receives state funding of $404,353 next year. But if the district chooses, it could end class size reduction in grade 9, and use that $400 thousand dollars for some other expense it considers more important. Perhaps, kindergarten class size reduction?
In addition to the option I mentioned above, here's the list of categorical programs that the district has flexibility to redirect spending for:
849,444 school and library improvement block grant
823,619 Instructional Materials Fund
670,026 professional development block grant
667,421 Adult Education
642,694 Supplemental Hourly Programs
516,645 Deferred Maintenance
515,326 teacher credentialing block grant
404,890 Counselors (grades 7-12)
206,208 arts and music block grant
200,485 Carl Washington Safety Grant (at-risk counselors)
107,059 Gifted and Talented Education
175,832 Physical Education Teacher Recruitment Grants
58,682 Peer Assistance and Review
56,711 Community Day Schools
54,120 Community Based English Tutoring
48,927 pupil retention block grant
41,525 high school exit exam
(I retyped this from a two-page spreadsheet that I received at the April 7 board meeting. I also re-ordered it from biggest to smallest dollar amount. Any errors are my own.)
Of the items on this list, which would you recommend that the school district use in some other way?