Glendale schools look to recovery

Glendale schools could receive $16 million more in revenue during the next fiscal year compared to the current one, according to school officials.

Glendale Unified expects to receive $180.7 million in 2014-15, up from $164.6 million in the current fiscal year.

The projected increase comes with California’s transition to a new funding method that gives money to school districts in varying amounts depending on their enrollment of English learners, students eligible for free or reduced meals and those in foster care.

In Glendale schools, officials anticipate that in 2014-15, 57% of the district’s students will be English learners, in foster care or from low-income families, making the district eligible to receive additional grants which are intended to help districts close the achievement gap among those subgroups.

But with the new funding formula, districts must also be held accountable for how they spend the extra revenue and create a committee to weigh in on the plan.

Glendale school officials are working to put together a team of community members, educators, administrators and students to be on the committee, which will meet regularly before Glendale Unified adopts its budget for the next fiscal year in June.

School board members also expressed a need to reach out to parents of students who fall within the three targeted subgroups.

Board member Christine Walters said the district’s outreach to parents is “to make sure that their desires for what should be included in their students’ education is included in the plan.”

The plan will also come under review annually.

The increase comes after several years of state budget cuts that began in 2007 and hit a low point in 2009-10 when the dollars the state gave to the district based on students’ average daily attendance was reduced to $5,883 per student, according to Mike Lee, Glendale Unified’s controller.

Only in 2013 did that amount increase to $6,520, still $207 less than what the district received in 2007.

But as the 2014-15 school year approaches, school officials estimate that the average daily attendance funds, coupled with the grants for targeted subgroups, will mean Glendale Unified could receive $8,700 per student in grades kindergarten through third grade and up to $9,800 per student in high school.

“We’re well on our way to recovery… in terms of recovering all those years that we experienced deficit cuts, no [cost-of-living increases] and cuts to categorical programs,” Lee said.


Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.


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