From Rachel Norton's blog:
The district will receive $360.58 million in unrestricted general fund revenues and spend $378.424 million, drawing down the beginning balance of $34.102 million to about $700,000 after the required $15.566 million reserve.

There are a lot of big questions the Board has about the current direction of the district, including:

  • The special education budget is bigger than ever, representing about 25 percent of the general fund when special ed transportation costs are included ó Commissioners are increasingly worried that the annual growth in special education spending is unsustainable and asked for more clarity on how the district expects its current investments to pay off in reduced future costs and better academic outcomes. The CAC for Special Education has posted some great analysis and data on its web site; committee members spoke at the Board meeting and expressed concern that the districtís plan to invest in professional development and coaching for teachers ó while needed ó might divert too much money away from the classroom. My personal feeling is that while accelerating expenditures are alarming, itís not time to change course: we have been identified as significantly disproportionate in how we identify students of color for special education, and are now required to spend 15 percent of our Federal special education allocation on interventions in general education. General education teachers desperately need more tools to help students who are struggling achieve, so that special education is not the districtís only safety net for students who arenít achieving at grade level. Coaching and professional development are the best ways to provide general education teachers with the tools they need. Weíve reduced our spending on out-of-district private school placements for students with disabilities, by almost $5 million since I got on the Board. But our choice-based student assignment system increases our special education transportation costs, and one of my goals over the next year or two is to look at ways to maintain equitable treatment of students with disabilities in our system while decreasing our exposure on transportation. Overall, though, I think the request for more clarity in the districtís expectations and strategies for the next few years would be a good thing and I support the need for vigilance in gauging the return on our increasing investments in educating our students with disabilities.
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