Education

California districts anticipate major hits to their 2022-23 budgets as enrollments drop

Probably the most positive side effect of the pandemic has been much-increased employee absenteeism and school truancy along with (of course) the massive increase in rioting.

By Ali Tadayon EdSource

Despite this year’s return to in-person learning, districts throughout the state are seeing major declines in both enrollment and average daily attendance and fear the reductions could result in significant funding cuts next school year.

Without state intervention, many districts face substantial cuts in state funding and could be forced to make significant budget cuts in the 2022-23 school year due to a fall in enrollment and attendance to which funding is tied. Districts’ baseline funding depends on the number of students enrolled, minus the daily average number of absent students.

For the past two school years, districts were “held harmless” for the declines during the pandemic and were funded based on their enrollment and attendance figures for the pre-Covid 2019-20 school year. But that will no longer be the case unless the Legislature extends the “hold harmless” rule or takes other action.

Statewide, enrollment in K-12 public schools in California fell by almost 3%, or 160,000 students, in 2020-21, according to annual data released in April by the California Department of Education. On Oct. 6, districts filed their “census day enrollment” figures, which is the enrollment figure used in the state funding formula. Those figures likely won’t be made public until early next year.

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Categories: Education

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