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SCUSD Admits to Parking an Astounding $101.3 Million in “Books and Supplies” Budget

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The Chief Business Officer of the Sacramento City Unified School District, Rose Ramos, will present to the district’s board of education today a budget for the 2020-2021 school year that contains a nearly 10-fold increase in its budget for books and supplies, an increase from $11.1 million to a projected $101.3 million.  The Sacramento City Unified School Board is expected to approve the school district’s revised $642 million budget, including this inflated books and supplies expense, later today at its regularly scheduled meeting.

District administrators concede the millions in this category will not actually be spent as indicated.  According to the budget document, “The Books and Supplies category is used to balance restricted budgets when funding is known but exact expenditures plans are not.  Once decisions are made as to the type of expenditures, the budget will be moved to the appropriate line item.”

Not disclosed is who will make “decisions  . . . as to the type of expenditures” after the board approves the budget.

“Despite long-standing concerns that our community has had about the fiscal mismanagement in SCUSD, top administrators and the school board continue to play games with the SCUSD budget,” said David Fisher, the president of the Sacramento City Teachers Association. “Parents, student and staff have a right to know exactly where the school board plans to spend taxpayer dollars.  Approving over $100 million in spending for one category with the knowledge that millions will be spent somewhere else, or not at all, is unconscionable and fiscally irresponsible.  It’s as if SCUSD is intentionally trying to make its finances look bad. And, this is not the first time they have deceived the public.”  In the previous eight budgets, the district’s financial projections have been proven to be wildly inaccurate, falsely painting a picture of SCUSD on the brink of fiscal insolvency.

The revised SCUSD budget for 2020-2021 meets the standard for the district to improve its budget certification from “negative” to “qualified” with the State of California.  However, district administrators have not indicated if they are revising upward the SCUSD budget certification designation to properly reflect the fiscal condition of the district.

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