The 2022-2023 operating budget for the William S. Hart Union High School District, as well as the district’s Local Control and Accountability Plan, or LCAP, were approved by the governing board Wednesday.
The budget, which projects $302.8 million in expenditures but $277 million in revenue, shows that the district will be in deficit spending for the next three years, but that projected revenues will see increases during that time.
One of the problems facing the district, as noted in the budget and a fact that districts around the state are facing right now, continues to be declining enrollment.
For example, in the 2014-15 school year, the district had 22,632 total students enrolled; however, by 2019-2020, the district saw a total enrollment of 22,228. If current trends continue, the district projects a total enrollment of 20,729 students by 2024-25.
The reason this is problematic, according to education officials, is that California remains one of seven states that fund schools using average daily attendance, as opposed to overall enrollment. And while at the same time that the overall number of students is declining, things such as COVID-19 quarantine/illness and independent study are also cutting into the number of kids showing up to class on a daily basis, thereby affecting the average daily attendance funding for districts.
In the upcoming year’s budget, the district is projected to see an increase in its Local Control Funding Formula revenues of $9.5 million, but a $9.1 million decrease in federal funding, a $13.4 million decrease in state funding including one-time funds, and a $3.9 million decrease in local revenues.
Additionally, certificated staff salaries will increase overall by $812,000, but classified and administrative salaries will decrease by $1.2 million and $829,500, respectively.
However, the district has projected a positive cash flow for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years.
In addition to approving the yearly budget, which identifies changes in revenue or operating expenditures, the governing board also approved the district’s LCAP, which expresses the district’s annual goals and specific actions to address state and local priorities to support outcomes for all students and student groups.
During the governing board meeting last week, Jan Daisher, director of special programs and staff development for the district, gave a presentation stating that the district’s highest concerns, as listed in the LCAP, include: reading and math scores, junior high promotion rates, declining attendance rates and AP course enrollment.
The LCAP’s expressed goals for the coming year include ensuring students have access to highly qualified teachers and site staff, improving student achievement by providing “rigorous, standards-aligned curriculum and instruction,” increasing the number of students who are college- and career-ready, and cultivating a “safe and positive school culture that supports all students’ personal and academic growth.”
Additionally, the district, in terms of supplemental services, aims to increase and improve programs for English learners, foster youth, homeless and low-income students.