By: Kima Hayuk, Brisbane Elementary School District Board Trustee, firstname.lastname@example.org
As we approach the beginning of a new school year in the Brisbane School District, it is a great time to take a look at the financial operations of our district to better understand the sources of revenues as well as the various expenditures that comprise the district’s budget. The following is a summary of the 2018-2019 budget passed by the School Board at the June 27th Board meeting
Before we get started however, I would like to thank the community on behalf of the students of Brisbane School District for the generous support shown in the June 6th Primary Election by passing Measure L, the reauthorization of the parcel tax. The funds provided by the parcel tax help support academic excellence by funding school libraries, helping attract and retain qualified teachers and staff and improving students’ access to modern technology in the classroom.
The parcel tax is only one of the sources of revenue for the district. To understand the other sources of funding, it’s important to set the context of how school districts are funded in the state of California. Under California’s school finance system, most general-purpose education funding is apportioned to school districts through a calculation called the “revenue limit”. Each school district has a revenue limit funding amount per unit of average daily attendance (ADA). Brisbane’s Average Daily Attendance (ADA) is estimated at 457, which is seven ADA above 2017-18. A district’s total revenue limit is funded through a combination of local property taxes and state General Fund aid. In effect, the State makes up the difference between property tax revenues and the total revenue limit funding for each district. However, some districts take in more property taxes than their revenue limit; they are able not only to meet the revenue limit of but also have some property taxes left over and are entitled to keep those excess funds for their educational budget. These districts are called “community funded” districts.
Brisbane is a community funded district and the key component of our revenues are from property taxes which are approximately $5.6 million for unrestricted funds, a net increase of approximately $300,000 from 2017-18. It is important to note that the state sets the revenue limit at the same ratio for all districts across the state so even though we receive more due to being community funded, it is still relative to living and wage expenses which are higher here on the peninsula than most of the rest of California. The same high property values that support our greater tax revenue also contribute to the higher cost of living which make it difficult (i.e. expensive) for our district to attract and retain the most qualified teachers and staff. The District is also estimated to receive approximately $923,000 of parcel tax support, which is slightly greater than 2017-18 amounts. Lottery revenue is estimated to be $146 per ADA for unrestricted purposes and $48 per ADA for restricted purposes. Federal revenues do not comprise a large portion of the district’s budget totally about 2% of the total. All revenues total to $7.75 million. Funds are categorized as either restricted or unrestricted, where restricted funds are required to be spent on certain expenditures such as special education.
When looking at the expenditures, the majority of funds are spent on staff with 38% going to the salaries of certificated employees (teachers) and another 17% for salaries of classified employees. In addition, another 25% are dedicated towards benefits such as payroll taxes and health and welfare contributions. Books and supplies represent 3% of the budget with the remainder (about 14%) going to other operating expenses. The District’s 2018-19 General Fund projects to deficit spend by $219,276 ($199,276 unrestricted General Fund) resulting in an estimated ending fund balance of $1.5 million. Deficit spending is exclusively due to one-time costs and such spending is expected to decline in the coming fiscal years to stabilize the General Fund balance at approximately $1.2 million.
The 2018-19 budget and multi-year projections support that the District will be able to meet its financial obligations for the current and subsequent two years. Administration is confident that the District will be able to maintain prudent operating reserves, and to have the necessary cash in order to ensure that the District remains fiscally solvent.