By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter
Ahead of the official start of the school year, the Palisades Charter High School Budget and Finance Committee met virtually on August 3 for a four-hour Zoom meeting.
The initial committee meeting was scheduled early this year, in part because Chief Business Officer Greg Wood was leaving his position at the high school after 16 years.
“I’ve worked with him for years and I’ll miss him,” parent committee member Sara Margiotta, who called the meeting to order, said to the Palisadian-Post. “He’s been a great asset to Pali High.”
Wood’s last official day was on August 7. The hiring committee interviewed new candidates for the position on August 10.
“It’s a really important position, so we hope we will get some good people on Monday,” Margiotta shared. In his new position, Wood will have a much closer commute, and he will still be accessible to Pali High for the foreseeable future.
“The other reason we met—part of it—is that we have updated financial numbers,” Margiotta said. “There were a couple of financial changes.”
In the middle of July, Governor Gavin Newsom reported the locally controlled funding formula from attendance.
“We originally budgeted assuming that Governor Newsom’s original numbers were going to take an over 8% reduction in funding from the 2019-20 school year to the 2020-21 school year, and that didn’t come to fruition,” Margiotta explained. “It came out that they are holding the dollar amounts we got last year.”
This means that for the 2019-20 school year, Pali High received $10,188 in ADA funding, and for the upcoming school year, Pali High will receive $10,160, so a slight reduction of $28.
The other thing reported at the meeting is that the school has found there are some cost savings with eLearning, with details fleshed out in a revised budget update with actuals that are posted on the school’s website.
Pali High also received learning loss mitigation monies, which is a one-time total of $1,436,811 that came primarily from the federal government for restricted specific uses.
“The funds were just announced at the end of July, and the Board of Trustees needs to coordinate with the Budget and Finance Committee to identify where those funds will be spent,” Wood explained. “There are four approved uses of those funds.”
The specific uses include student learning supports, general measures that extend instructional time for students, providing additional core academic support for students who need it, and providing integrated services that support teaching and learning—such as student and staff technology needs, mental health services, staff professional development, and student nutrition.
A spending plan for this money will need to be approved by the Board of Trustees.
Although the Pali High budget has improved and presents a more favorable picture, Wood explained, the current cash flow is not much better off.
$6.4 million of its state revenue will not be received in the current school year, Wood added. Those cash funds will be deferred and likely not be available to Pali High until sometime between July and November of 2021.
The committee will meet again on August 17 to hammer out more of the budget.
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