OUSD anticipates deficit spending in 2020-21 school year


Graphics from OUSD interim budget report, presented at Dec. 13 school board meeting. See report on OUSD board agenda: Agenda Item C (1)

OUSD expenditure

Austin Widger, Ojai Valley News reporter

Ojai Unified School District is projected to have a positive ending fund balance of about $89,000 for 2019-2020, Director of Fiscal Services Patricia Nunez said Dec. 13, before the school board approved an interim financial report for the period ending Oct. 31.
Nunez said deficit spending is anticipated for 2020-2021 and 2021-2022. “In the ’20-’21 school year, there should be a reduction of 9.5 FTE (full-time equivalent, aka full-time employees), and an additional 8.85 in the following year in order to be able to balance the budget,” she said. (Article continued below graphics.)

OUSD bottomline2

OUSD change in fund balance



Superintendent Tiffany Morse said: “There are certainly other options for reducing that we’ll be bringing to you, and proposing to have a regular budget update every month between now and the end of the (fiscal) year. So we’ll be talking a lot together for what we could do for that deficit spending.”

Nunez added that there’s often good news at the beginning of the calendar year and in May.
Board Vice President Jane Weil said she anticipated a larger ending fund balance. “I look at the FTE; I understand they’re just placeholders, but in the past they were four or five. So to look at something that says 9.5, I’m very concerned.”
Morse said: “This is a reflection of declining enrollment and increasing costs that every district is facing. … We have some ideas and some thoughts, both on the revenue side and the expense side.”
On the plus side, Weil said there are five more students enrolled in the district than projected. On the minus side, Nunez said there are 76 fewer “unduplicated” students this year than last who qualify the district for extra revenue due to being English learners, foster youth, or receiving free or reduced-cost meals.
Morse said the low number of students on free and reduced lunch played a factor in the unduplicated student decline. “Our campaign for free and reduced lunch was mediocre at best” this year, she said, adding that the district will also work to ensure all English learners are identified.
A large portion of the budget increase was due to two teachers being added at Matilija who were not previously included in the budget.
Morse said: “There were two (added), and then the half-time at Chaparral. We don’t know how it all happened, but those weren’t included somehow in the budget process.”
There was also a $500,000 amount for textbooks and supplies that was not budgeted. Nunez said she had not been given the information for the new textbooks.
Morse said: “One of the things that’s come out of this process for me … is about really developing a cohesive budgeting team so that our budget is much closer to what we actually need to be spending in terms of HR and supplies, materials, those kind of things. So we will be beginning the process as soon as we get back from the holidays. For next year, really working more closely with our team so we can kind of catch these loopholes that started. This is the first time that we’re seeing them.”
To view the Dec. 13 school board budget discussion, recorded by the OUSD, go to the 1:58:30 time stamp of the meeting.


Not a subscriber?  choose your subscription plan.