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Santa Clara Unified: Budget Check-In Shows Deficit Spending, Salary Increases

Back from the break and back to business. The Santa Clara Unified School District Board of Trustees met on Thursday, March 9 to catch up with the state of their schools.


The Budget

Last Board meeting, the Board approved the sale of Measure BB bonds and that sale went much better than anticipated, according to Chief Business Official Mark Schiel. They will have more information for the Board at the next meeting, but they are happy with the results. Schiel said they anticipated around a 4.8% all-in interest rate cost, but they had more bidders than expected and ended up with a 3.5% rate which will mean savings for taxpayers.


Superintendent Dr. Gary Waddell also announced that Santa Clara Unified is one of eight school districts in the State of California to have two AAA credit ratings.

Looking at the 2022-2023 Second Interim Budget Report, secured property taxes and unsecured property taxes have seen increases – unsecured increased by $1.4 million and secured increased by $737,000. Also, revenues from Redevelopment Agencies (RDA) increased by $328,000. Including other elements, there is an increase of $2.5 million from the first interim to the second.

General Fund revenues are up $3.7 million compared to the first interim. Property taxes make up $2.8 million of the change. Local revenue also increased by $888,093, of which $560,000 is attributed to an increase in interest earnings.

Looking at the District’s expenses, there was a $24.9 million increase in salaries and benefits, which was not a surprise since they decided on a 10% salary increase and there was also an increase in employer contribution for medical insurance. There was also an $800,000 increase in services and operations because the District is required to add funds to the Routine Restricted Maintenance fund.

From the first to the second interim, there was a $516,000 increase in funding for Family Child Education. The increase in contributions is from the General Fund to other operating program funds, resulting in a decrease in General Fund reserves.

Overall, there is a $24.6 million change in expenses from the first to the second interim. The first interim expected $389.7 million in expenses, but the second interim actually showed $414.3 million.

The District is currently dipping into its surplus and deficit spending, however, that was intentional for the salary increases. Multiyear projections are hopeful that deficit spending should slow.


Difference Makers

The Board room was buzzing with excitement for this quarter’s Difference Makers. They honored certificated staff member Karyn Howl from Montague Elementary School, classified staff member Veena Prakash from Peterson Middle School, community member Aja Sulack from Ponderosa Elementary School, and team members Christina Souza and Jose Gonzalez from Pomeroy Elementary School.

Wilcox High School student Kavan Doctor was nominated by Peterson Middle School and was honored by the Board as well.

The Board also passed a resolution to recognize the Santa Visits Alviso Foundation. Founder Judy Santiago and Foundation Board Chairman Richard Santos were present to thank the Board and community. The foundation was founded by Santiago and her late husband Joe Santiago.



The Board approved the reappointment of the Chief Academic and Innovation Officer Brad Stam and his employment agreement. After approving the revised job description, they also appointed Schiel as the Deputy Superintendent of Operations / Chief Business Official and approved his employee agreement.

Board Vice President Bonnie Lieberman was approved to join the district’s Nutrition Services Advisory Committee. The Board then approved the revised job description for the Executive Director of Schools. Next, they modified “the Certificated Management and Classified Management Salary Schedules and Create the Executive Management Salary Schedule.”

Lastly, they held a short discussion regarding the new job description for the Coordinator of Expanded Learning Opportunities Program (ELOP).


Other Business

For the 2023 California School Boards Association (CSBA) Delegate Assembly, Board Member Jodi Muirhead recommend candidates. She named Danielle MS Cohen from Campbell Union School District, Christopher T. Norwood from Milpitas Unified School District, Carol Presunka from Cambrian School District, Vaishali Sirkay from Los Altos School District, Bridget Watson from Sunnyvale School District, and George Sanchez from Franklin-McKinley School District. The Board voted and agreed to the choices.

The Board denied the fee waiver for filed usage requested by KidsFanBase Soccer Club.

The next Santa Clara Unified Board of Trustees meeting is on Thursday, March 23.


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