On November 8, 2021, Alameda County Superintendent L.K. Monroe officially approved OUSD’s 2021-22 Adopted Budget. However, as part of the same letter, the County Superintendent also assigned the district a “Lack of Going Concern” determination, indicating that OUSD might be unable to meet its financial obligations in the years ahead. According to Education Code section 42127.6, subdivision (a):
“If at any time during the fiscal year the county superintendent of schools determines that a school district may be unable to meet its financial obligations for the current or two subsequent fiscal years or if a school district has a qualified or negative certification… the county superintendent of schools shall provide a written notice of going concern determination to the governing board of the school district and the Superintendent and the basis for the determination. The notification shall include the assumptions used in making the determination and shall be available to the public.”
OUSD plans to appeal the concerns raised by Superintendent Monroe to State Superintendent, Tony Thurmond asking him to weigh in. The appeal letter argues that the District is, in fact, on track to addressing its long-term fiscal challenges. Further stating that Superintendent Monroe’s concerns do not justify such a determination at this time. Review the full appeal letter here.
On September 22, 2021, the Board indicated it did not want to consolidate schools as part of Cohort 3. In response, District staff provided three $2 million reductions options and presented them to the Board for consideration with the recommendation that the Board adopt all three options as an ongoing cost saving measure.
- Option 1 (Deferred Maintenance): Reduce the budgeted amount for Deferred Maintenance from the current $5 million to $3 million.
- Option 2 (Vacancies). Eliminate $2 million in ongoing vacancies in the Unrestricted General Fund.
- Option 3 (Supplemental Allocation to Schools). Reduce the annual site-based supplemental allocation by approximately $65 per student.
On October 27, the Board adopted all three options. Tonight, the Board will discuss the impact of these cost-saving measures.
We look forward to hearing the board discuss the tradeoffs involved with these budget cuts in lieu of school consolidations. With a $16 million deficit, declining enrollment, an anticipated fiscal cliff when one-time COVID relief funding expires, and county officials demanding better fiscal management, we understand the decisions that lay before the board are not easy. Approving $6 million in ongoing reductions is a responsible step forward. However, the District is still facing annual budget cuts, making it difficult to attract and retain quality school staff and increase enrollment. We encourage the board to continue considering solutions that will address the District’s long-term fiscal health.
Earlier this year in April, the Board of Education adopted a resolution to support the Mental Health, wellbeing, and credit recovery efforts of Oakland Unified students. This was in response to student identified needs that already existed and were exacerbated by the pandemic. The board adopted a resolution that directed staff to identify and implement supports for students focused on relationships, mental health and well-being, and credit recovery.
Tonight, the Board will receive an update on current practices and strategies that have been put into place to address the resolution to support students and staff.
Check out the full presentation here.
GO has been a long time supporter of this resolution and pleased to see the District implementing strategies geared toward the support of student’s emotional wellbeing, mental health and credit recovery. We understand the implications the pandemic has had on our entire school community, and highlighted those concerns in our #SchoolAfterCOVID From Pandemic to Possibility report released in August. We hope OSUD will continue working with families, students and school leaders to determine the most effective ways to support our students.