Who We Are » Financial Impact of COVID-19 on CUHSD Budget

Financial Impact of COVID-19 on CUHSD Budget

During the June 25, 2020, Regular Board Meeting, Trustees adopted a budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year that included approximately $4 million in budget reductions. The reductions come as the district prepares for an increased demand on resources to safely reopen schools next school year and a decrease in local revenue in the next few years due to the recession.

Despite the uncertainty of ongoing funding, the District must submit a multi-year budget that demonstrates the District will meet its financial obligations for the current and two subsequent fiscal years. After the District solicited input via a public hearing, surveys, Facebook Live Q&As and online meetings with staff, parents and students to identify budget priorities, the Trustees adopted a budget with the following changes:
  • Reducing the district office department and school site budgets
  • Reducing management and support staff positions
  • Eliminating contract with the San Jose Police Department for School Resource Officers
  • Converting the athletic director position from full-time management to the part-time teacher on special assignment

To view the adopted budget, click here.
Budget Development Roadmap
During the May 7 Board meeting, Trustees agreed on a budget development roadmap that outlines expected actions for upcoming board meetings and the next steps for staff and trustees. The roadmap serves as a tool to guide trustees and the community through the budget development process by providing specificity on the information they will receive and study and the direction they plan to provide to staff during the May and June meetings prior to budget adoption.
budget roadmap
Potential Budget Reductions
During the May 28 Board Workshop, the Board of Trustees reviewed several potential multi-year budget scenarios that incorporated new information from the Governor’s May budget revisions and predictions on actions from the state legislature. With the new projections presented, the Trustees gave direction to District staff to identify approximately $5 million worth of budget reductions to address a decrease in revenue from the state of California and an increased demand on resources to prepare for the next school year.

The Trustees also shared their top three priorities based on their established guiding principles and provided a revised list of recommended cost-saving reductions for future consideration.
revised list of reductions
revised list of district office budget reductions
Overview of Budget Community Input 

Over the past three weeks,  CUHSD gathered community input through the following two-way communication methods: 

  • Virtual meetings with the following groups: 
    • PTSA Presidents’ Council
    • Superintendent Advisory Committee
    • Superintendent Student Advisory Council
    • Site faculty and staff 
    • District Office staff 
    • Labor Partner executive leadership
    • Principals  
    • Financial Advisory Committee
  • Facebook Live Q&A for Parents
  • Instagram Live Q&A for Students

The themes from these community input sessions included: 

  • Support for reduced work calendars / reduced salary as alternative to reduction of staff or programs
  • Support for maintaining focus on socio-emotional wellbeing of students
  • Support for maintaining variety of course offerings such as career technical education courses
A ThoughtExchange was also shared with all parents, staff and students to solicit input from for additional cost-saving options.  The top themes from the ThoughtExchange included:
  • Staffing reductions or consolidated redundant positions in the District Office
  • Salary reductions
  • Less spending on non-essentials such as events, landscaping, or other activities/supplies that aren't part of the regular school day.
  • More online education or continue utilizing distance learning or working from home to cut costs.
  • Parent/community support through fundraising or donations or utilizing parent or community volunteers to assist in classrooms or do custodial work.
  • Keep teachers or services that support student learning.
  • Adjust course/graduation requirements to offer fewer classes.
  • Reduce extracurricular activities or athletics
  • Eliminate unneeded technology
  • Provide less professional development for staff

Additionally, a survey on budget priorities was shared with all parents, students and staff. Results from the survey indicated parents and students ranked socio-emotional wellbeing of students and a variety of course offerings as most important to the educational program. Staff ranked class sizes and socio-emotional wellbeing of students as most important to the educational program.

overview of budget survey

Board Meetings 
June 25, 2020, Regular Board Meeting
June 18, 2020, Regular Board Meeting
May 28, 2020, Board Workshop
May 21, 2020, Regular Board Meeting
May 7, 2020, Regular Board Meeting
April 16, 2020, Regular Board Meeting


April 2, 2020, Regular Board Meeting


Budget Questions and Answers

What is the current fiscal outlook for CUHSD?

The ongoing uncertainties and financial losses due to COVID-19 have impacted the global economy and the state of California.  While it is not clear how long this recession will last and how quickly the economy will recover, CUHSD is preparing for a significant reduction in revenue that could last several budget cycles. 

CUHSD staff have been advised by state and county officials to prepare for the possibility that the State of California will take an increased “fair share” of property taxes from community-funded districts like ours.  We are currently preparing for a loss of $11 million, or approximately 11% of revenue. 

How is CUHSD funded?

As a community-supported district, we are not funded on a per-student basis like most districts in the state are. We receive the vast majority of our revenue through property taxes. This means, as a growing enrollment district, we do not receive additional funding to pay for the additional staff and services more students require. 

In addition, because of the property tax base, the district returns a “fair share” portion of its revenue to the state in the amount of five percent or approximately $5 million. The 2020-2021 “fair share” is expected to triple at the same time as tax revenues are projected to decline and as the district faces more demands on resources including increasing student enrollment, the need for additional teaching staff to maintain class sizes, the need for more special education services, growing retirement, costs and increased services to support students through and following the pandemic.

What are the priorities of the Board of Trustees and Superintendent while considering the 2020-2021 budget and potential reductions? 

Thus far, the Board of Trustees has asked staff to provide a preview of possible budget reductions that stay as far away from the classroom as possible, which includes: 

  • Providing students with the essential services they need to graduate 
  • Protecting classroom instruction and vital programs and operations necessary to ensure continued student achievement, including class size and classroom aides
  • Ensuring the district’s long-term fiscal solvency for future students

The Board will continue to revise these priorities and guiding principles for budget reductions.

What impact will this have on personnel?

More than 80 percent of the CUHSD budget is comprised of salaries and benefits. In order to maintain fiscal solvency for future students, personnel will likely be impacted. 

As CUHSD works through these fiscal challenges, District staff will continue to look for creative solutions that minimize the impact on students and staff. When necessary, the District will focus on the reallocation of personnel into open and/or vacant positions that currently exist or will exist due to attrition or retirements.  

What opportunities will be available for community and staff input?

While the shelter-in-place orders make it more challenging to engage stakeholders, we are increasing the opportunities to provide input through a variety of virtual settings and platforms. These include school site budget development presentations and input meetings, a budget development survey and ThroughtExchange, Facebook and Instragram Live events. Please see the board update on community engagement here.

The District has published a possible set of sample budget reductions for next year.  Are there alternative items being considered? 

Yes.  District administrators are soliciting additional suggestions to consider. These suggestions will be added to the webpage.

More specifically, during the site budget meetings, staff were encouraged to explore furloughs or reducing the 2020-2021 work calendar.  Reduced work calendars must be negotiated with labor organizations; district staff will begin these negotiations with CSEA and SEIU and will present the outcome of these negotiations to the Board.  

What programs have already been cut for next year?

No programs have been reduced or “cut” for next year at this time.  

What positions have already been cut or reduced for next year?

As we prepare for 2020-2021 staffing, school sites are preparing plans for 2020-2021 staffing that would reduce the number of release periods to coordinate programs, but these plans are not final yet.  And, while this is not a budget decision, sites are also preparing for the scenario in which we do not offer marching band and sports PE. Please note: this is due to planning for multiple school-reopening scenarios, including one in which after school sports are limited due to county and state guidance.

Will there be reductions in Superintendent Bravo’s budget? 

Yes. The sample of possible budget reductions includes significant decreases to the superintendent’s discretionary and operational budgets for District Office, including a 46% reduction in the Superintendent’s budget. 

Can Superintendent “perks” like car allowance and professional organizations be considered for additional cuts?

The Superintendent and executive cabinet will be considered with any reduction of work calendar.  The Superintendent does not receive a “car allowance.” The Superintendent’s contract does provide for professional associations and disability insurance but he does not utilize those fringe benefits.

Is there a consideration for reducing programs that are included in the sample of reduction rather than eliminating the full program? For example, CASSY not being at every site every day, but rotating between several sites.

Yes. This suggestion surfaced during the first series of budget conversations and is continuing to be explored.  CASSY, in particular, is a primary example of a current investment where stakeholders have suggested reducing the delivery of services but not eliminating the program entirely. 

Are there any considerations toward condensing positions or responsibilities at the District Office?

Yes, the current sample of reductions includes the potential elimination of eleven (11) positions, which will condense responsibilities among the remaining staff.


What additional budget reduction suggestions have you received for consideration?

Condense or eliminate technology and communication platforms

Reduce salary for management who make $150,000 or more

Pursue furloughs or reduced calendars or workyears

Discontinue health and welfare benefits for the Board of Trustees

Reduce, not eliminate, CASSY contract 

Eliminate partnership with Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS)

Centralize or move site support /coordinator positions (EL TOSA) to District Office Explore use of digital textbooks versus hardcopy textbooks

Eliminate football or other sports