School Budget Project
This paper examines Cabrillo High School’s annual budget for the 2016-2017 school year. This paper analyzes the district’s budget and how the site utilizes its allocated funds for the school year. Included in this analysis are a description of the process used in developing the budget, the identification of the type of budget, a summary of the budget, description of the budgeting process, and a budget review.
Cabrillo High School
Cabrillo High School is part of Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD). LBUSD has eighty-five K-12 schools and serves the communities of Long Beach, Lakewood, Signal Hill, and Catalina Island. In 2016, the total enrollment was approximately 74,000 students.
Cabrillo High School, located on the west side of Long Beach, opened in 1996 and currently serves approximately 2,340 students in grades 9 through 12. Cabrillo High School is an urban, comprehensive high school that services regular education as well as special education students. The student population is predominantly Hispanic or Latino (68%), approximately 21% of the students are English Learners, approximately 82% of students come from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and approximately 86% of the student body qualifies for free or reduced lunch. The student body of Cabrillo High School represents the greater Long Beach community. The following two charts show the student enrollment by student group and grade level for the 2015-2016 school year. I obtained the data from the School Accountability Report Card (SARC) report which was last updated on 1/23/2017.
The mission of Long Beach Unified is to support the personal and intellectual success of every student, every day. Cabrillo High School’s mission is to provide excellent, personalized instruction and career experiences that enable all students the ability to thrive in post-secondary opportunities of their choosing. Cabrillo’s mission is “an exceptional model of education.” Our site and district’s mission statements have something in common: they both focus on the academic and social development of our students to make successful lifelong learners. The mission statements play a major role in the development of the site budget as a large portion of the funds are allocated to Professional Development in Linked Learning as well as efforts to build our Career Pathways so that students will be exposed to meaningful and relevant learning experiences.
Our text states that, “the educational plan is the heart of the budget, reflecting the philosophy and mission of the district” (Townley ; Schmieder-Ramirez, 2012, p. 61). Cabrillo’s budget and expenditures are directly aligned with its mission and vision especially in the areas of strengthening existing programs (Career Pathways), creating learning communities and building instructional capacity by means of Professional Development in Linked Learning, and by and through effective data analysis and accountability system that supports student achievement.
Identification of Type of Budget
Cabrillo receives two types of funds and consequently utilizes two types of budget approaches, line-item approach and a site-based approach. For the general school discretionary funds, we use the line-item budget approach. The line-item budget approach is the most commonly used approach. It is easy, simple, and easy to prepare. This fund is used for specific basic operating expenses, such as classroom materials and custodial supplies. For the school’s LCFF (Local Control Funding Formula), a site-based budgeting approach is utilized. This means that the site determines how the money should be spent, based on student need. The idea is that there should be data to show the identified needs and they should align to the school and/or district’s mission/vision. The School Site Council (SCC) makes the recommendation and votes on how LCFF funds should be spent. SCC are elected positions that represent all stakeholders of the school community working together to provide input for school improvement. The team consists of administrators, staff members, students, and parents. Their primary responsibility is to help identify schoolwide priority goals and to assist the leadership team in establishing a plan to achieve the goals. The SSC develops the plan using district, state, and federal guidelines to meet the specific needs of their school. The SSC also consults with administration on the school budget to grant funds for the implementation of their plan. The decision-making is given to those who know the community well and would have a better understanding of where the funding should go to best benefit the school. This budgeting approach is effective for our school site because it “provides input from staff and community in a decentralized mode, while also ensuring that all legal requirements are met” (Townley & Schmieder-Ramirez, 2012, p. 60). Another reason why this approach is appropriate for Cabrillo is because it allows site participants greater latitude and options on how to meet the unique and specific needs of our students given our school culture.
Summary of Cabrillo High School’s Budget
Long Beach Unified’s projected revenue for the upcoming school year is $734,792,401 and the estimated appropriation is $896,675,782. 78% LCFF sources, 7% federal sources, 14% other state sources, and 2% local/other sources make up the sources of the district’s funding. Expenditure uses 57% for salaries, 24% for benefits, 18% for supplies and services, and 1% other expenditures. LBUSD’s General Fund is summarized in the following pie charts which was created based on the information on the Adopted Budget for the 2016-2017 Fiscal Year which is posted on the LBUSD website.
The school district pays for the staff’s salaries and benefits so our school site doesn’t have to calculate that expense into our budget. Our school receives approximately $1,332,179 in discretionary funds, which gives us more flexibility in meeting the specific needs of our students. SSC makes recommendations and votes on how they believe the money from these funds would be better spent. Some of our funding sources are LCFF, Parental Involvement, Professional Development, Title 1, and EL Support. The purpose of the Title 1 funding is to ensure that all students have a fair and equal opportunity to obtain a high-quality education. The LCFF provides greater flexibility as to how state funds are used by local schools but they must be used in alignment with the district’s LCAP. The majority of the discretionary funds are allotted for personnel and intervention purposes.
Description of Budgeting Process
As previously mentioned, my school site uses the line-item and site based approach for their budgeting process. The line-item approach is used for the discretionary funds and the principal, in collaboration with the secretary, is usually the person who decides how those funds are spent. The process involves analyzing data and trends from previous years as well as balancing those revenues and expenditures. The district provides the site with 80% of the site’s budget during the summer; the remaining 20%, if needed, is disbursed in October.The site-based approach is used by the SSC on campus, which meets nine times during the school year. Although members of the SSC are elected, the meetings are open to all stakeholders and members of the community and everyone in attendance is given an opportunity to provide input on any item on the agenda. SSC makes decisions on how LCFF funding should be spent making sure that the expenditures are aligned with the school and district’s mission and vision. In particular, funds should support the school-wide action plans created based on the WASC recommendations. In most cases, the funds are allotted for interventions, professional development, English Learner support, and programs that increase parent involvement.
Budget Review and Analysis
A. Budget Calendar
California’s fiscal year starts in July and ends in June. The budget calendar starts in January when the governor presents the budget. The following shows the timeline of 2016-2017 state budget calendar.
Although different districts follow different timelines when creating their budgets, the
sequence they follow is the same. My school district’s budget calendar is aligned with the
state’s guidelines and deadlines.
July 1- District budget due to COE
September 8- District governing board reviews county’s recommendations and responds
September 15- District adopts appropriations limit resolutions
October 8- District governing board selects budget review committee
October 31- Budget review committee reports recommendations
December 7- District approves and submits final interim report and certification
March 15- District approves and submits second interim report certification
B. Budget Assumptions
The 2016-2017 LBUSD Adopted Budget was created using estimates of enrollment,
revenue, staffing, and projected beginning and ending balances. As is true with all school
districts, LBUSD makes a series of assumptions when undergoing the budgeting process.
Some of these assumptions include average-daily-attendance (ADA) projections, staffing
projections, revenue, expenditure, and cash reserve projections (Crothers, 2018, Lecture
3a). The two assumptions that play the most critical role when developing our site’s
budget are ADA and student enrollment. Although the budgeting assumptions are not set
in stone, if developed carefully and strategically they can give us a good estimate of how
much funding we could expect to receive and how much we could spend.
ADA projection for LBUSD for the following fiscal year is 76,110, a 2.2% decrease from
last year. Based on the projections and trends, we would expect that our school site
would see a decrease in enrollment but have a fairly good attendance rate of 95.5%.
Therefore, our funding will decrease, but the amount won’t be drastic. Looking at the
enrollment projection allows the budgeting committee to make staffing assumptions,
which in this case indicates that teachers would have to be displaced. The departments
and the actual number of teachers that would be displaced would be determined by
Cabrillo’s Master Schedule. A careful analysis would have to be conducted of how many
students are enrolled at each grade level to determine how many teachers are needed for
each content area at each grade level. Enrollment projections are made in
October/November for the following school year by the superintendent and the
information is disseminated to the school sites in December.
When looking at the School District Criteria and Standards Review (audit), LBUSD
appears to have an effective budgeting system in the ADA and enrollment criterions. The
findings for both of these areas show that the standards were met. Furthermore, the
funded ADA and enrollment have not been overestimated by more than the standard
percentage level for the first prior year or for two or more of the previous three years.
C. Review of Income
According to LBUSD’s 2016-2017Adopted Budget, most of the district’s revenue comes from LCFF funds. Individual sites receive additional funds depending on their eligibility. Cabrillo received $180,940 for our “general” discretionary fund. As far as LCFF funding is concerned, Cabrillo received $245,000 in funding for Schoolwide Student Support and $27,431 for Parent Involvement. We also received$24,330 in unrestricted lottery funds, $14,934 in lottery funds for art instructional materials, $10,548 in lottery funds for music instructional materials, and $41,906 for the science department. The site also received $53,679 in “gifts.”
Transfers In/Other Sources
English Learner Support
College and Career
More specifically, Cabrillo received $70,571 in unrestricted lottery funds, $1,201,639 in Title 1 funds, $607,349 in LCFF funds, and $27,431 in Non-Title 1 Parent Involvement funds.
D. Determination of Budgeted Income Amount
The district’s finance department determines the district’s budget and revenue taking into consideration the state’s budget proposal as well as the other aforementioned categorical funds. This process many assumptions and quantitative data analysis to provide the district and individual sites with an accurate budget for the fiscal year.
E. Review of Expenditures
LBUSD’s 2016-2017 unrestricted adopted budget is divided into six categories, detailed in the pie chart below. Salaries, both certified and classified, comprise 60.9% of the budget. Employee benefits use up another 23.6% of the budget. The district spends 6% of its budget on the books and supplies category which include both instructional materials as well as maintenance and custodial supplies. 9.5% of the budget is allocated for services and operational expenses such as utilities and repairs.
Books and Supplies
Services and Other Expenditures
The categorical funds that Cabrillo currently receives are Title I, English Learners Support, College and Career, Perkins, Lottery, Parent Involvement, and LCFF funds (combination of Title 2, 3, etc.). The following provides a summary of some funding sources our site receives as well as some examples of purchases and expenditures that have been made using these funds for the Continuous Improvement (CIE) Plan:
Parent Involvement: Funding is used to increase parent engagement and improve school to home communication.
Providing parents with classes to support academic and social success of their children.
Providing interpreters for meetings and translation of written materials.
Parent orientation meetings that show parents how to become involved as well as how to understand information relevant to their childrens’ current academic year.
Educator Effectiveness (Professional Development): The district provides programs and opportunities, with an emphasis on collaboration and collegiality, to engage members of the school community in continuous professional growth.
Paid time for content teams and career pathways to meet throughout the year to collaborate on implementing Common Core Standards and interdisciplinary lessons into their lessons.
Paid time for the Instructional Leadership Team (ILT) to meet throughout the year to develop action plans and create SMART goals
Title 1: Title I funding ensures that all children have a fair and equal opportunity to obtain a high-quality education. Title I funds are used to help improve academic achievement among disadvantaged students.
Hired bilingual community workers to support home-school communication and contact parents at request of school personnel to discuss academic, behavior, or attendance concerns of their children
Hired a dean to implement Restorative Justice program to decrease suspension rate and to lead the Safe and Civil Committee
Paid time for teachers and support staff to provide Saturday and after school tutorials focused on core subjects
Purchased 20 Chromebook carts
LCFF: The Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), proposed by California Gov. Jerry Brown and approved by the state Legislature in 2013, provides greater flexibility as to how certain state funds are used by local schools
Funded Linked Learning and College and Career field trips to provide students with Work-Based Learning experiences and to explore college careers and post-secondary options
Purchased Common Core supplemental materials and books
Upgraded or replaced technology for classroom teachers
Provided awards for monthly student recognition events
Paid for athletic equipment and tournament fees
Carryover amounts occur if at the end of the fiscal year there is a surplus in the budget. Our school site makes efforts to have a well-balanced budget so that the budget is spent efficiently and so that that there isn’t a large carryover amount. If carryover amounts occur, the secretary and principal make efforts to shift money between funds to cover unforeseen expenditures or deficits, all while ensuring that the spending guidelines are followed. At my school site, only lottery funds carry over, and there are specific guidelines on how these funds can be spent. Our site’s SSC votes on how these funds should be spent, following the Title 1 Federal Guidelines. This ensures that the money is allocated and used for the student improvement and achievement purposes. (Francis, 2018) For the 2016-2017, the carryover amounts for our site were $151 from unrestricted lottery funds, $255,503 from Title 1 funds, $10,841 from Non-Title 1 Parent Involvement funds, and $307,349 from “other” LCFF funds.
Budget: Local Public Relations Document
Our teacher’s union, Teachers Association of Long Beach (TALB), is strong, not only in fighting for teacher’s rights but also in ensuring that all district budget documents are transparent and made public. Most updated financial documents, such as the budget calendar, adopted budgets, and audit reports as well as archives can be found on the district’s website.
Our school district has created the required three year Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) aligned to the district budget. The 250-page document as well as the 3 year summary of goals are posted on the district website in English, Spanish, and Khmer. The LCAP and the district educational plan are interrelated in that they reflect the district’s mission and vision and involve input from multiple stakeholders. The district has shared the highlights of the plan in three main sections: Academic Excellence, Basic Services-A Foundation for Excellence, and Team Effort- Parents, Students, and School. Included in the publication of the LCAP highlights are some of the results of the district’s accomplishments thus far.
12 schools closed achievement gaps by 50 percent or more. More students are meeting university admission requirements. District-wide, African-American students closed the A-G achievement gap by 7 percent; Hispanics students by 8 percent; and Pacific Islanders by 12 percent.
AP enrollment and the number of AP tests taken has increased primarily due to the fact that the district covers $87 out of the $92 cost.
Basic Services-A Foundation for Excellence
100% of teachers are placed in the proper assignments and 100% of students have access to standards-based materials (textbooks)
Campuses have WiFi access and there are more than 65,000 Chromebooks available district-wide preparing students for 21st century learning.
LCAP includes $68.2 million to make campuses safe and inviting, $8.6 million for technology infrastructure to develop 21st century skills, and $6.1 million in professional development.
Team Effort- Parents, Students, and School
Parent involvement has increased, suspensions rates have decreased, and graduation rates have increased.
LCAP allocated $54 million specifically toward parent involvement and student engagement and school climate improvement efforts.
Finally, there is a section with family and community resources to support academic achievement. The fact that the district disseminates all of this information and makes documents available to the public shows transparency and contributes to their credibility with the community. The highlights of the district’s efforts shows that the concerted efforts of the educational community, with the support of financial resources, is making positive strides in helping students fulfill the district’s mission and vision.
Cabrillo High School: Home Page. (2018). Cabrillo High School: Home Page. Retrieved March 10, 2018, from http://lbcabrillo.schoolloop.com/Welcome to the Long Beach Unified School District. (n.d.). Retrieved March10, 2018, from http://www.lbschools.net/Crothers, T., Dr. (2018, March 7). Week 2: Lecture 2B Budgetary Processes. Lecture.
LBUSD. (2014). Adopted Budget: Fiscal Year 2016-2017. Retrieved March09, 2018, from http://www.lbschools.net/Main_Offices/Business_Services/pdf/2015%20Budet%20Book_1.pdfTownley, A. J., & Schmieder-Ramirez, J. H. (2012). School finance: a California perspective. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Pub. Co.
http://www.scccd.edu/_uploaded-files/documents/departments/2016-2017_Budget_Calendar.pdfFrancis, M. (2018, March 7). Budget Project Interview Personal interview.