I have been asked by a number of folks to update my earlier video on how the California education finance system works. It was last updated two years ago, and since then there have been some significant changes in California around how schools are funded. So, the new video updates the data and includes explanations of the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and Proposition 30. I have also shortened the video to be under 22 minutes, deleting certain sections and topics such as Proposition 98, which is less relevant in our current model. Also, this video is more San Carlos specific and is primarily meant for the San Carlos school community, although the general background and issues apply to almost all school districts in the state.
You can view the video on Vimeo, or watch it below:
I have not given an update in two months, so here’s my “getting close to the end of the year” update. In particular, the District staff, architects, and project managers have been hard at work honing the details of our facilities planning, including preparing for the first bond issuance, analyzing timelines and logistics, and sharpening pencils on budgets. Specific updates include:
- New District Office — the district placed an offer on a building to re-locate the district office. The transaction is still in the “due diligence” phase, but it looks promising to close. The new district office would move to 1200 Industrial Road (corner of Howard) and would consolidate the district staff from current dispersed locations and provide sufficient facilities for professional development, teacher training, and public meetings. The space will cost us significantly under what we had budgeted, and it is in move-in condition with furniture and infrastructure. if all goes to plan, the district office will be able to move over the summer. This will also free up significant space on the Central Middle School campus.
- Timeline for new schools — based on recommendations from the architects and our facilities committee, we are pushing back the dates for completion of both the middle school renovations as well as the new 4/5 schools. The board discussed this last night and agreed that although we recognize we need the additional space as soon as possible, we want to make sure all of this is done correctly and prudently. The new planned timeline for completion is as follows: Central and TL — Fall 2015, 4/5 school adjacent to Central — Fall 2016, 4/5 school adjacent to TL — Fall 2017. The various projects planned at the elementary schools will be done throughout this whole time.
- Bond Issuance — The district has received its credit review and is ready for its first bond issuance. However, as I noted in my recent article in EdSource, pending state legislation — AB182 (which has already passed the Assembly) — has the real risk of hampering our bond program. It could substantially delay projects if passed (for example, if bond issuances had to be limited to 25 years, we may not be able to float all of the bonds already approved within the timeline we plan). Our financial advisor is looking into our various alternatives, but it’s worth noting this regulatory risk based on a very ill-conceived bill from Sacramento.
- Strategic Plan — we’re getting close on finalizing the district Strategic Plan. This is going to a be a groundbreaking document forcing us to rethink almost everything we have done in public education, and I think it will be a model for many other districts. Of course, the implementation of the plan will be difficult and take many years, but it’s a great vision with so much collective support among administrators, teachers, parents, and board members! Our recent community meeting on May 2nd yielded some additional strong feedback which will be incorporated into the next version of the document — stay tuned. The goal is to pass the plan by June.
- Budget – we should know within a few weeks what the effect of Gov. Brown’s budget proposal (including his new Local Control Funding Formula) will be on San Carlos. It appears that we may see a very modest increase in our per-pupil funding and overall our financial profile will not change much. More to come on this as well.
As we approach the end of the school year (about four weeks from now), I’ll give a more comprehensive wrap-up.