Oakland schools, rather than the district’s HQ, might absorb almost all of the budget cuts coming from the state this year, district staff tell us. The rationale? That the central office took the brunt of the reductions last year, sustaining two-thirds of the cuts.
Do you buy it?
Before you answer, get the facts in this new financial report. It’s fascinating (for a financial report) because it slices the current and past-year’s expenses in so many ways.
About half of the cuts to the school district’s “unrestricted” (general-purpose) fund and 56 percent of the cuts to the total general fund came from central services, according to the report. (Note: This isn’t the full picture. Slide 2 suggests that adult education funds — which have been counted as “central” in past accounting, though they arguably are not — are not included in that breakdown. Early childhood education, food services, construction dollars and self insurance don’t appear to factor in either.)
READING TIP: Don’t stop at the appendix. Some of the best stuff is in there. Deputy Superintendent Vernon Hal told the Finance and Human Resources Committee this week that he kept adding slides as people asked questions, and they must be asking a lot of them.
Slide 57 and 58, for instance, break out the non-salary expenses relating to professional development. The items include $11,795 for furniture, a cost of training staff that I hadn’t considered.
Of course, it’s not all that helpful to lump all things “central” together. These expenses include a wide range of departments and programs, from school custodians and security officers to Regional Executive Officers (don’t call them NExO’s!) and special education.
To help break it down, I even made a spreadsheet — just for you. It’s nothing fancy, but you can find it here. Please let me know if you spot any errors.
One of the areas that seems to have made the lightest cut, percentage-wise, was district leadership (3.8 percent). Meanwhile, “extended education” — a category that includes summer school, after-school, health services (nurses) and the Oakland Athletic League — was slashed by nearly 45 percent.
Thoughts? There’s so much information here, and I’d love to hear your questions and comments.
P.S. If you’re really into this topic and the rain has foiled your long-weekend camping trip, you can watch the presentation Hal gave by going here and clicking the video icon next to the agenda.