July 30, 2019 - The Duval County School Board has begun the formal process of adopting the district’s budget for the 2019-20 school year.
Discussions about the budget have taken place since the spring, but the formal process of adopting the budget began July 23. That was when the School Board approved actions related to the process of advertisements, taxpayer awareness and public hearings required under Florida’s Truth in Millage statutes.
The Board is expected to vote on a tentative final budget at a meeting today, July 30 at 5:05 p.m. and on a final budget in September.
Strategies and values driving final budget considerations include:
Improved accountability through more accurate forecasting of actual costs (particularly teacher salary costs).
Improved academics and literacy focus through program increases in supplemental materials for reading and mathematics.
Maintaining commitment to Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office partnership in implementing School Safety Assistant program.
Improving teacher allocation ratios to make it easier for schools to get new teaching positions.
Maintaining commitment to school choice through strong magnet school transportation.
Continual re-growth of fund balances (savings).
Fact 1 - Overall operating revenues for Duval County Public Schools are budgeted to increase 3.8 percent, or $52.9 million.
Fact 2 - This funding increase is largely unrelated to the proposed voluntary half-cent sales tax referendum for repair, renovation and construction of schools.
Current funding for repair, renovation and construction of new schools comes mostly from a different funding source.That funding source is called local capital improvement.
It is a property tax assessment that will remain at 1.5 mils, the same level it has been since 2010. In 2009 it was 1.75 mils and in 2008 it was 2.0 mils. The state legislature sets this funding level.
The district is budgeting an additional $10 million (net) from operating funds for expected costs related to construction and maintenance.
Fact 3 - Overall operating revenue for the district comes from three sources: federal, state, and local.
Fact 4 - Funding from Federal sources is expected to increase almost 15 percent to $193.8 million. Federal sources primarily fund:
Title I funds to provide supplementary assistance to schools serving large populations of low income students.
Programs for exceptional education students.
The National School Lunch program.
Fact 5 - Funding from state appropriations is expected to increase about 4.5 percent to $675.2 million.
Fact 6 - Funding from local property taxes at the rate set by the state (known as required local effort) will generate slightly less revenue compared to last year – about $589.2 million, a decrease of less than 1 percent.
Fact 7 - State funding comes in two forms: discretionary and categorical.
The district has broad latitude in how it can spend state discretionary funding.
State discretionary funding, combined with the local revenue, is what pays for normal school operations such as most teacher salary and benefit costs, curriculum materials and supplies, school leadership and district leadership.
Categorical funding can only be used for purposes mandated by state law. It cannot be used for operational expenses or school facilities. For example, funding for mental health services is a categorical It can only be used for mental health.
Much categorical and discretionary funding is based on full-time-equivalent enrollment (FTE). Most students account for one FTE. Some students, such as exceptional education students, count for more than one FTE. For 2019-20, Duval County Public Schools is funded for 141,321 weighted. The number of funded weighted FTE for Duval increased by almost 1,300 compared to last year.That represents 129,792 unweighted FTE, also known as “headcount” students, an increase of about 500 compared to last year.
Categorical funding – funding that the legislature directs for specific purposes – increased about 7.3 percent. Major areas of categorical funding changes include: An increase in the budget for safe schools of 15.9 percent to $8.7 million; An increase in the mental health assistance allocation of 8.9 percent to $3.2 million; A new allocation plan and supplemental services for low performing schools (turnaround schools), funded at $2.4 million for the Duval County Public Schools; A decrease in the digital learning allocation of 84.2 percent reducing this categorical to $336,432.
Discretionary funding – funding at the full control of the district and Duval County School Board – increased about 3.2 percent. The increased discretionary revenue is expected to increase expenditures on instruction by 7 percent; instructional training by 11.2 percent; instructional technology by 33.4 percent (offsetting the decrease in the digital technology categorical).