Watch CBS News

California's Financial Freefall Amid Coronavirus Pandemic Devastates School Districts

SACRAMENTO(CBS13) – Budget challenges are circulating within the public school system.

The governor's office is estimating a budget shortfall of $54 billion. The deficit is likely to trickle down to school districts like Sacramento City Unified. Before the pandemic, the district said it was already facing a $27 million deficit.

Superintendent Jorge Aguilar, of SCUSD, issued the following statement regarding Governor Newsom's announcement of proposed budget cuts to education:

"Today's announcement by Governor Newsom is grim, to say the least," said Sac City Unified Superintendent Jorge Aguilar. "Our district was already facing a significant budget crisis, even before the news we are hearing today. Our schools remain underfunded, but our commitment to our students remain unchanged. As we move through this health crisis, our schools have stepped up to fill in the gaps for children in a way that can only be described as extraordinary - quickly designing and adjusting to distance education, providing nutrition support, securing devices and internet, and more. Despite these efforts, they're not enough, and we will need to do more to meet our students' needs. Our children need us more now more than ever, but we anticipate some very difficult decisions over the next few months with effects that will expand beyond this crisis. We can't do this alone. We ask our community and our labor partners to stand with us to address these budget challenges."

Before the impending recession, Sac City Unified already faced a $27 million budget deficit. Sac City Unified will provide a budget update at its Board of Education Meeting tonight, May 7, with scenarios to assess the impact of revenue shortfalls based on guidance from the Fiscal Crisis and Management Team (FCMAT).

The Natomas Unified School District's Superintendent Chris Evans said the district is already making cuts.

"In Natomas, we started already, we budget reduced 6 management positions," Evans said.

Evans said that comes to about 15% of the management staff in the district's office.

"[This] means there will be a little slower response time for families and teachers on requests and things like that," he said.

Although Evans said he doesn't have exact projections on the cuts, he said the district is doing its best to keep reductions away from the classroom as long as possible.

"I would love to promise no layoffs. I can't do that. I wouldn't do that because I think that would be dishonest," he said.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.