La Cañada Unified School District passes second interim budget

Some may call it groundbreaking, others controversial, but Gov. Jerry Brown's Local Control Funding formula isn't making things easy on school district finance gurus.

The new formula, which provides bonus funding to districts with high numbers of English-language learners and those qualifying for reduced or free lunch, may make some wish they had a crystal ball.

Prior to unanimously passing the second interim financial report Tuesday, the La Cañada Unified School District’s financial consultant, Stephen Hodgson, took members of the district’s governing board through the complexities of today’s school finance.

Some of the highlights:

• La Cañada’s average daily attendance state funding is down $6.1 million from 2007-08.

• The district’s estimated enrollment of 4007 for 2013-14 is expected to decrease to 3,779 by 2015-16, which means less ADA funds.

• The district is projected to have $33.2 million in revenues and $33.6 million in expenses, creating a shortfall of $970,938 for 2013-14. In 2015-16, that difference will grow to more than $2 million.

Currently, the LCUSD has 196 English language learners and 66 students on free or reduced price lunch.

Within seven years, the new formula would mean La Cañada would receive substantially less ADA than school districts in poorer areas with higher numbers of English-language learners.

The LCUSD must file its final district budget for 2013-14 on June 30.

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