PUSD’s Updated Count Reveals Larger Loss of Students Than Initially Reported, Exceeds 1,050 Over Past Two School Years

Published : Thursday, December 12, 2019 | 5:39 AM

[Updated] Pasadena Unified’s Interim Budget released this week revealed a bigger loss of students this school year than previously reported. But at the same time, the District’s spending rose, increasing by $3.5 million.

A spokesperson said the District’s total enrollment is projected to be 15,792 students. This means it has shrunk by 543 students compared to last school year, 66% more than initial reports indicated.

Pasadena Unified takes in $10,100 in state revenue per student. That larger loss translates into a $5.4 million revenue reduction.

In the past two school years, Pasadena Unified enrollment has declined by over 1,050 students. District spending, however, has increased since the budget report last June.

Presented by Superintendent Dr. Brian McDonald and Chief Financial Officer Leslie Barnes, that earlier Interim Budget had said the District was poised to save $1.07 million by keeping 10 fewer teachers, because of the anticipated decline in enrollment.

However, the First Interim budget released this week shows that the District restored eight teaching positions, meaning Pasadena Unified is continuing with essentially the same teacher numbers but fewer students.

At the same time, the June budget report cites teacher and staff salaries and benefits as an “area of concern, noting the District’s concern over future salary increases for employees, an increase in minimum wages, and the impact of its own salary schedule.

The Interim Budget also acknowledges growing employee benefit costs, 95% of which are paid by the District.

Last June’s budget said that the District would reduce contracted services by $500,000 in the 2019-2020 budget year. The First Interim budget this week, however, instead shows an increase of $452,000 in contracted services.

According to the June budget report, the staff also pledged to “capture efficiencies in custodial services,” resulting in a cost savings of $883,424. The December budget report, however, lists custodial services as being increased by $173,000.

The new numbers go before the Pasadena Board of Education tonight in a public session scheduled to be called to order at 7 p.m. in the Elbie J. Hickambottom Board Room at 351 South Hudson Avenue in Pasadena.

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