MUSD to hear Newsom budget impacts, call to trim $500k

MARTINEZ, Calif. – Martinez Unified School District Board of Education will hear Monday how Governor Gavin Newsom’s state budget would affect district kindergarten through 12th-grade finances.

The panel also will hear that at least $500,000 must be trimmed from the 2019-20 budget.

Assistant District Superintendent Helen Rossi will describe that while California schools are guaranteed $80.7 billion, a $2.8 billion increase from last year’s state budget, that minimum guarantee has been declining because of lower-than-anticipated average daily attendance and an ongoing decline in General Fund revenues since 2017.

Funding has remained level because of a $4 million “over-appropriation” for the 2017-18 fiscal year and through using settle-up payments to offset unfunded 2018-19 obligations.

Although most are one-time investments and nearly all are underwritten through non-Proposition 98 dollars, the state’s 2019-20 budget has more than $2.4 billion earmarked for programs and services to children and families, Rossi’s report to the Board said.

Base-grant funding for kindergarten through 12th grades will be 3.46 percent higher in 2019-20 from the previous year, to $7,717 per ADA in kindergarten through third grade; $7,833 for those in fourth through sixth grades; $8,066 for those in seventh and eighth grades; and $9,347 for those in ninth through 12th grades.

Funding to smaller average class sizes in grades kindergarten through third grades will be increased 10.4 percent, and funding for those in ninth through 12th grades will rise by 2.6 percent in recognition of the costs of career technical education course work.

The state’s supplemental and concentration grants are based on the percentage of enrolled students who are English learners, foster youth and those eligible to receive free and reduced-price meals, among other factors.

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System employer contribution may decrease slightly under Newsom’s proposed budget.

Special Education placement costs depends on the number of students, but could rise to $2.7 million from $2.1 million the previous year.

Newsom’s proposal must undergo state budget hearings and will be revised further for a May update. An interim report is due to school districts March 19, although the district’s own report will be given March 10.

If there appears to be some relief in Newsom’s budget proposal, Martinez Unified School District still has to make cutbacks, and District Superintendent C.J. Cammack will introduce proposals for about $500,000 in trims. No action would be taken Monday on his suggestions.

Director of Educational Services Tom Doppe will ask the Board to approve a plan for the Low-Performing Students Block Grant, a state education funding program that helps districts who serve pupils identified as low-performing on the Smarter Balance tests for English language and mathematics, but who aren’t receiving other supplemental grant funding under the local control funding formula.

The Board must approve the plan if the District to qualify for this grant money.

Cammack also will present revisions to the District’s Safe School Plans for each of its campuses. These plans now incorporate reunification strategies for students and staff dismissal after emergencies. The Board will vote on these plan updates March 11.

The Board also will vote whether Alhambra High School should have an advance placement environmental science course and whether to designate March as Women’s History Month.

The Board of Education will meet at 5 p.m. Monday in a closed session to discuss personnel, labor and legal matters.

The regular meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the District Board Room, 921 Susana St.

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