Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports
March 21, 2019
March 19, 2019
Thanks to the Observer for your “Clarification” column (3/14) which teaches readers how to read and interpret State Senator John Moorlach’s “Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports” of California public school districts. I would like to add some context to the issues raised by Moorlach and your columnist, who referenced the report (2/21) to, as he stated, “enlighten [us] all”.
The presumed enlightenment would hit in an OMG moment when we read that CCUSD is ranked by the Senator’s reckoning as “831 out of 940 K – 12” districts across the state.
Focusing on a snapshot in time based on a single figure which does not account for the entire revenue stream such as various restricted funds and community support funding presents a slanted and unnecessarily anxiety producing assessment.
The first and most important fact about public school funding in California is that it is about $2,000 below average per/pupil funding nationwide. This figure is greater in impact in California as the cost of living in our state is higher than it is in most of the rest of the country, so the inadequate state funding to our schools goes less far. (By contrast, note that our state spends more per prisoner than any other state in the union.) More important, our state’s funding formula takes an extra $2,000 right off the top of Culver City’s per/pupil allotment, in order to redirect that money to lower performing districts, in effect, a tax on excellence.
Senator Moorlach’s report fails to take into account the yearly fiscal dance that school districts have to endure, in order to present a balanced budget. Most importantly, Moorlach and the Observer columnist fail to credit CCUSD for its academic excellence and stellar achievements, even given the paltry funding allotted by the state.
Your lengthy clarification reflects the arcane nature of Moorlach’s representations and his and your columnists subsequent claims of school district waste. What it does not tell us is what motivates them.
Bruce Lebedoff Anders
Providing important financial information to the public is our objective. Hiding financial facts does not serve the students or residents of our city. One hundred eighteen school districts in California districts in California have positive UPN’s with Spence Valley Elementary with a positive $3.8 million. Schools districts like Inglewood have filed for bankruptcy. Culver City Unified School District has well over 100 employees and teachers with total compensation in excess of $100 thousand dollars per year. The newspapers responsibility is to provide information so the readers can make informed and intelligent decisions.