Glendale Unified reports funding increase

Glendale school officials estimate they will receive $16.1 million more from the state for the 2014-15 school year, and plan to add 12 full-time educators across its middle schools and high schools.

Another nine full-time employees added to grades one through three could help lower Glendale class sizes in those grades from 26.9 to 25.9 students per teacher, a district report stated.

The millions more in state funding for 2014 marks the second consecutive year that Glendale Unified received an increase in state funding. This year, the district received $7 million more dollars than it received last year.

It expects an uptick in funding with an additional $15.2 million in 2015-16 and another $6.7 million in 2016-17.

Prior to the current school year, the district suffered seven years of budget cuts. This, in turn, culminated with district officials offering in 2013 an early retirement incentive to more than 100 employees in an effort to save about $6 million and avoid layoffs.

The district avoided layoffs when more than 60 employees took the offer.

Since 2008-09, Glendale Unified controller Mike Lee said the district tapped into $124 million in one-time funds "to help us weather through the last seven years."

But Lee cautioned Tuesday that the district still has a $7 million structural deficit and warned that officials will need to prioritize the additional state funds it will receive through 2017.

"The key thing here that as we get new dollars, there needs to be discussions in terms of how we're going to utilize those dollars to address our structural deficit and balance that with any kind of raises or programs we're going to do," he said.

Some of those discussions have already begun through the school district's Local Control and Accountability Plan committee — a group of about 100 parents, educators and community members who offered input this year over where the district should spend its dollars.

As part of that plan, $2.8 million could be spent at various schools on learning intervention programs for English language learners and low-income students.

About 57% of the school district's 26,000 students are English learners, in foster care or eligible to receive free and reduced meals at school.

Under the state's new funding method for schools, districts are required to target such groups with specially assigned dollars to improve student achievement.

In the 2014-15 school year, the district could spend $9.8 million on programs tailored to those students, but officials said they will wait to cement their plans after Gov. Jerry Brown's budget becomes finalized.


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.


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