Sac City schools’ budget has been rejected twice. Board votes to seek county supe’s help

The Sacramento City Unified School District’s Board of Education voted Thursday evening to waive a budget review committee in the wake of its revised budget’s second rejection, instead opting to work more closely with the county Office of Education.

Since its budget was disapproved by the county office in August and its revised budget rejected last week, the district must now work toward trimming $66.5 million from its three-year budget projections and adopting a balanced budget before Dec. 31 with the assistance of either a budget review committee or the county office and the California Department of Education.

After voting to waive the committee, the board must now seek the approval of Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon and subsequently the California Department of Education, under the education code outlined in Gordon’s Oct. 11 disapproval letter.

Gordon said he plans to approve the waiver, and if the California Department of Education OKs it as well, he will take an active role in the district’s budgeting process, which includes the ability to allow or deny actions that he finds inconsistent with fiscal solvency.

Dr. John Quinto, the district’s chief business officer, recommended waiving the budget review committee, saying it would allow the district to continue working with its labor partners and its county-appointed fiscal adviser, Terri Ryland.

The California Department of Education does not have a list of potential committee members, Quinto said, adding that forming the committee would have eaten into time needed to meet the Nov. 30 deadline for proposing revisions.

“Talking to my colleagues, we couldn’t come up with a con,” Quinto said of waiving the committee.

If the committee waiver is approved by all necessary parties, the district’s next major deadline will be to submit a first interim report containing a board-approved budget and expenditure plan, due Dec. 14.

District Board of Education member Ellen Cochrane supported the waiver, but said that it was imperative that the district meet its upcoming deadlines.

“It is incumbent on staff, the board, and leadership, all of us working together to get this done,” Cochrane said.