Unified Pasadena Statement on the Fiscal Outlook
During what has been one of the most difficult years for our country, the teachers, staff and administrators of the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) have demonstrated their unwavering commitment to our students and their families.
Through President of the Education Council Scott Phelps and Superintendent Brian mcdonald
As the COVID-19 pandemic abates, we are planning and budgeting for the 2021-2022 school year in the hope that PUSD will fully reopen our schools for in-person learning. As we move forward with our budgeting for the future, our goals are twofold: to strategically develop our budget to meet the needs of our students, and to make the budgeting process transparent and accessible to our constituents.
To make PUSD more competitive with other districts when it comes to salaries and benefits, we are committed to improving employee compensation so that we can retain and recruit the outstanding and innovative teachers and staff who make such a difference in life. life of our students. We know that achieving this will require strategic prioritization and tough choices in the near future.
Like many districts around us, the PUSD cannot increase salaries in the 2020-2021 school year. However, with the state offering to provide the cost of living adjustment (COLA) for schools in 2021-2022, PUSD has offered our working partners a one-time bonus for current year employees, which may then be placed on the salary scale. as a continuous increase once the COLA state is funded in the 2021-2022 school year that begins July 1, 2021.
Each year, PUSD creates a budget based on how much we expect the district to receive in state and federal funding. We track income and expenses to make sure the district maintains a balanced budget. Almost 85% of PUSD’s budget is invested in teachers, administrators and classified staff who work hard to provide excellent educational opportunities for our students. Our largest cost increases each year come from built-in salary increases (which occur with additional years of service and the completion of increased education and professional development), mandatory district contributions to pensions from state and rising health care costs for employees. PUSD maintains a general reserve of funds, much like a savings account, in case we need to dip into it to cover unforeseen costs in manuals, materials and facilities. The state requires school districts to maintain a minimum amount in the reserve fund.
To keep up with inflation and these rising costs, PUSD needs a revenue increase of at least 5% each year if our listing remains stable. In most years, therefore, the state of California provides an ongoing increase in income called the cost of living adjustment (COLA). This leads to better compensation for our hardworking employees (even if headcount decreases, we would need additional funds or budget cuts to cover the loss of income associated with the loss of students). However, last June, due to the effect of the pandemic on the economy and tax revenues, the state of California did not provide COLAs to school districts for the 2020-2021 school year. The COLA has been set to zero for 2020-2021.
PUSD has received state and federal relief funds for COVID-19 to help alleviate the substantial costs of the transition to distance learning and make classrooms safe for students and staff to return to campus. These one-time funds are limited, which means they must be spent on extending learning time, mental health services and supports, and upgrades to facilities such as hospital-grade air purifiers and air conditioner filter upgrades, as well as all air inspection and repair. packaging units. Funds must be spent no later than September 30, 2024. As one-time funds, these dollars cannot be used for salary increases since salary increases are ongoing and must have an ongoing source of funds.
We move forward with a strategic budget approach that commits and allocates our resources to achieve our district’s goals, reviews the results of programs and initiatives we have invested in, and makes adjustments to optimize the educational experiences for our students.
During the pandemic, teachers, administrators and classified employees of the PUSD have never stopped working to make our schools better and safer for our students. They had to master new technologies and adapt to constantly changing conditions. We are deeply grateful for their hard work for the students and families in our district.