Capo Schools Facing $15 Mil Shortfall for Next Year

The amount is actually an improvement over previous years of financial struggle.

The Capistrano Unified School District is facing a possible $15 million shortfall for next year.
The Capistrano Unified School District is facing a possible $15 million shortfall for next year.

Originally posted at 9:34 p.m. Oct. 23, 2013.

Capistrano Unified trustees got a preview Wednesday night of their financial future under the state’s new funding model – and it means a possible $15 million budget shortfall for next school year.

That’s about half the size district administrators were calculating a year ago for this year’s budget. Of course, that was before Gov. Brown and the Legislature changed the way schools receive money.

The state’s new method, called the “local control funding formula,” provides the same amount for every student across the state, said Clark Hampton, deputy superintendent of business services. But additional money is available for students who are either:

  • Are eligible for reduced lunches
  • English learners
  • Foster children

On top of that money, districts that have student populations with more than 55 percent of these same demographics get even more money in so-called concentration grants. At Capo, nearly 26 percent of students fall within those categories, not enough to get the concentration grants.

The numbers add up, Hampton said. The difference between districts with few eligible students and districts which serve the neediest of populations could be thousands of dollars per student, according to a slide in a presentation Hampton made.

But, like previous years, the district won’t know how much money it will have to budget for next year until much closer to the June 30, 2014 deadline, Hampton said.

“This is kind of flying the plane and rebuilding it at the same time,” he said.

The state’s Department of Finance offers a much rosier picture of the future, Hampton said, and if it were to be believed, CUSD would only have a $2 million shortfall next year, and a $5 million surplus in 2015-16.

However, a consulting firm that advises school districts has encouraged districts to assume much more conservative numbers, Hampton said. That means the $15 million hole next year and a $16.5 million shortfall in 2015-16.

In the end, the amount the district receives is “whatever the state decides it can afford to provide schools,” Hampton said.

Because the new funding formula allows district much greater flexibility in how it spends the money, the state is requiring each school district to come up with a three-year plan as part of the budgeting process. District administrators will come up with a plan that will include ways to involve the community and present it to the school board in November.

shelly November 18, 2013 at 06:40 PM
Capo Parent, I did not cover my eyes. I actually started writing letters to the district and newspaper in 2003 against the plans for the admin. building. And I was lied to by Doomey but I did not sue anyone or accuse teachers, CUSD employees and administrators of awful things. Because I knew that most people working for the district were and are good, hardworking people.
Dawn Urbanek November 18, 2013 at 06:57 PM
Shelly- I know most of the Administrators at the District and many teachers and Principals and the SUperintendent. Individually they are all very nice people and they are trying to do the best that they can with very stretched resources. That being said- the one hugh problem that CUSD has which has nothing to do with money is that they do not include the Public in the process of making decisions for the District. There are many very bringht, well informed parents and taxpayers that might help with solutions or find opportunities if they were to be included BEFORE decisions were made. Right now you have the same group of 20 or 30 people sitting in the Admin Building who only talk to educators- so they are talking to themselves. There is no new ideas in that building - they need to open the doors and shine some new light in there.
fact checker November 18, 2013 at 10:28 PM
Dawn, you have the opportunity to attend the forum on Nov. 20th and decline to do so. What specifically do you suggest in the way of increased opportunities to "shine some new light?"
shelly November 19, 2013 at 01:11 AM
Dawn, Many parents besides you are involved, informed, speak up and suggest things all the time and administrators sometimes take their suggestions.
Dawn Urbanek November 19, 2013 at 08:59 AM
Fact Checker- I would like to see workshops and community forums with Trustees so that parents and the public have an opportunity to have a "conversation" with their elective representatives. A place where all Trustees are present and all Trustees can hear the same conversation with their constituents.


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