Dear Oakland Community,
I am writing to provide an update on our budget planning for 2020-21. I am going to be blunt in saying that we are possibly facing the worst reductions to education funding since the Great Recession as well as a great deal of uncertainty. I want to acknowledge how uncomfortable and challenging it is to face both at the same time.
Under the Governor’s May budget proposal, OUSD is facing $35 million in reductions in LCFF, in addition to projections of 50% funding losses in other categorical programs. Addressing this would require cuts beyond the $21.5 million in reductions our Board authorized in March and is currently estimated at $16.5 million dollars. Our staff is projecting that number to grow based on other commitments including the pending negotiations with employee groups we anticipate will be completed soon.
The actual level of revenue loss is UNKNOWN, but we will learn more over time.
To some extent, this is part of the normal budget process - projections and adjustments; however, the coronavirus has significantly challenged the process and worsened the global economic outlook. In summary, (1) California’s economy is in bad shape, but we won’t know how bad until August, primarily due to the tax submission extension deadline from April to July, and (2) we do not know if the proposed Federal Heroes Act will pass to provide relief to states and subsequently school districts. This unknown impacts the state’s ability to commit any additional financial support to OUSD.
It is our responsibility to deal with the uncertainty.
In order to do so in a thoughtful way that keeps our students at the center, we will ground ourselves in our mission and vision as we make difficult decisions. The Board and Senior Leadership are preparing for a scenario in which large cuts are needed, a scenario in which no cuts are needed, and many scenarios in between. Additionally,
- June 10: The Board of Education met Wednesday night to receive and discuss an update (video and presentation) on the 20-21 budget and will adopt a budget on June 24th, as required by state law.
- June 18: The Budget and Finance Committee will dive deeper into specific topics.
- June 24: The Board of Education will adopt a budget on June 24th, as required by state law. However, the budget will need to be adjusted in August or September once we have more information on state and federal revenue.
- August/September: OUSD’s budget will need to be adjusted in August or September once we have more information on state and federal revenue.