A Perfect Storm at SCUSD? Rising New Housing Prices the Latest Dark Cloud
The Sacramento City Unified School District is in midst of a perfect storm.
A new study reports that Sacramento is the least affordable new home market in the United States. With the median household income of $76,706 (which matches almost exactly the median teacher salary in SCUSD), eighty percent of Sacramento residents are priced out the local market, which has median new construction home price at $650,000.
This sobering report is only the latest dark cloud hanging over the Sacramento City Unified School District; unfortunately many of the problems at SCUSD are a product of the SCUSD leadership’s own making.
Every day, over 8500 SCUSD students are in classrooms without a regular, fully credentialed educator, including 2500 students per day where not even a substitute teacher is available.
Over 600 students remain on a waiting list to be enrolled in Independent Study because the District cannot hire enough staff to operate the program. The District rejected requests to create a virtual learning academy this past spring.
The District has had millions in state and federal funding jeopardized because of its failure to provide services to students with disabilities.
SCUSD has one of the highest suspension rates of African-American students in the state.
Despite operating with a surplus in 9 out of the last 10 years, and a reserve fund that now exceeds $100 million (the highest in SCUSD history) Superintendent Aguilar and his administrative team have submitted wildly inaccurate budgets since 2018, resulting in millions unspent on students and unnecessary annual layoffs of certificated and classified staff, exacerbating the staffing crisis. The SCUSD Chief Business Officer recently acknowledged that the SCUSD has not had a “structural deficit,” despite repeated SCUSD statements to the contrary.
Instead of offering incentives to recruit and retain staff, Superintendent Aguilar is demanding that SCUSD staff accept a five-year wage freeze AND health insurance concessions that would reduce their take-home pay by $10,0000 per year. During the same period of time, Superintendent Aguilar’s pay will increase by 17.5%, bringing his total compensation to nearly a half a million dollars per year. Previously Mr. Aguilar vowed not to take a pay increase while the District budgets remained in disarray.
The California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) has issued 18 complaints against SCUSD since Aguilar became superintendent in July 2017, the most out of 1037 school districts in the state of California.
By a margin of 96% among certificated staff and 97.2% among classified staff, SCUSD employees overwhelmingly expressed NO CONFIDENCE in Aguilar’s leadership. Serious concerns have been raised about Mr. Aguilar’s ethical lapses and potential conflicts of interest.
In June, the SCUSD school board voted unanimously that Aguilar “exceeds expectations.”
Is this the perfect storm?