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Sacramento City Schools Budget Shows Even Bigger Deficit, Independent Review Finds

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

The Sacramento City Unified School District has been ordered to deliver a new budget that accounts for a $24 million deficit by October 8.

Bob Moffitt / Capital Public Radio

Updated 4:49 p.m.

An independent review of the Sacramento City Unified School District budget predicts a budget deficit of $28.5 million, which is $4.5 million more than previously estimated.

District spokesman Alex Barrios says a fiscal adviser, who was supplied by the Sacramento County Office of Education, found the district’s accounting methods lacking. He says the adviser used a new formula to look at the district’s finances.

“And after using that formula, we came to the determination that the amount was larger than originally anticipated,” Barrios said.

He added that no particular office or expenditure was to blame for the increase.

The county office provided the adviser after refusing to accept the district's most recent budget proposal last month.

The county had previously warned the district and its school board in late 2017 that SCUSD could not pay for the recent labor contracts the district had negotiated.

Barrios says four of the five unions have said they will return to the bargaining table.

The Sacramento City Teachers Association has advocated the removal of 81 new administrator positions created since 2014, and a reduction of Superintendent Jorge Aguilar's salary, from $305,000 to $190,000, which teachers noted is California Gov. Jerry Brown’s salary.

David Fisher with the SCTA calls the disparity in the district’s numbers and the new numbers “frightening” and says the union has reached out to the district, but has received no response.

“There was a list that we presented that had $36 million in questionable increases from the 2014-15 budget year to present,” he said. “We haven’t gotten any responses to those $36 million as to what’s at the root of them, why did they need to increase so much.”

The school board is scheduled to hold a meeting Thursday night.

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